Spring Shopping Guide: Ikat
Every few summers, the bohemian look comes back, although if you ask me, every summer should be a summer of love. Thankfully, this year there are a lot of great hippie-chic options out there, and one of my favorites is ikat print. Ikat is a type of weaving technique; the threads are kind of tie-dyed before being woven, and this produces a groovy pattern. Many cultures, from Guatemala to Uzbekistan, use the fabric in their traditional garb, and thus it fits in nicely with the whole ethnic bohemian look. And since we don't all have the time or resources to jet to far-off lands in search of authentic ikat pieces, here are some of my favorites from far more accessible places.

Derek Lam takes some heat from critics for completely changing his point of view and silhouette every season, but he makes clothes that cool young women want to wear, and that's enough to make him one of my favorites. His ikat blouse has a boxy yet flattering shape, and the pullover style is modern.

Everyone loves Oscar de la Renta for a number of reasons; I love him because he can take any inspiration in the world and turn it into something totally appropriate for his customer. When you think of his ladies-who-lunch clientele, you don't think hippie prints, but yet this shift dress looks very Upper East Side. Genius!

Jenni Kayne dresses young Hollywood starlets, and the fact that this dress has a trendy yellow-and-gray color scheme demonstrates this. Still, I think it's a polished look that doesn't veer into the hippie-dippy.


You know ikat is a big trend when even Carmen Marc Valvo gets in on the trend. This dress will appeal to a wide range of people, with its colorful design and its nearly-universally-flattering cut. This dress would be great for a daytime wedding.

This is my idea of summer: a long, flowy maxi-dress with an exotic print. Slipping into it would make you feel like you should be in a chic poolside bar in Miami, with a mojito in your hand. And shouldn't that be how you always feel?

This Hera dress is great because while it still has an ikat pattern, it's a more subtle one--in other words, it's a more mellow way to wear it.

Sometimes the best way to try a trend is with an accessory. This ikat scarf is colorful enough to brighten up any outfit, but it's still subtle enough for the pattern-averse.

On the other hand, this Urban Outfitters cami is all hippie. But it's still cool, so to balance it out, I'd wear it with something more punk-rock, like skinny jeans and aviators.

Even with the crapola exchange rate, this Topshop skirt is still only $50. Which is worth it to me, because this was the only ikat skirt I could find, and that makes this a unique choice. I also love the zigzag pattern--it's simple and clean, and I think it would look really cool paired with a patterned top.

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