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After a rough year economically, contemporary shoppers are clearly ending 2009 by scooping up the big trends for holiday — from little black sexy dresses and striped cashmere sweaters, to skirts with sparkle and swimsuits for a week at the beach.

This story first appeared in the December 17, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

40 locations nationwide.
Best-selling items: Aqua’s sequin tank dress and Theory’s cashmere sweaters.
Retail prices: $168 for the dress and $215 for the sweaters.
The appeal: “Aqua’s sequin tank dress gives new meaning to the words ‘sparkle and shine.’ Sequins are a big trend this season, and this dress can transition from a work day look with a leather jacket, opaque tights and booties to evening chic,” said Richard Mast, senior vice president and general manager of Bloomingdale’s 59th Street. “Exclusively crafted for Bloomingdale’s, Theory’s chic bodice-skimming turtleneck is perfect paired with dark denims, knee-high boots and gleaming gold accents.”

Saks Fifth Avenue
53 locations nationwide.
Best-selling items: Tibi’s exclusive one-shoulder rosette dress in black and Twisted Heart’s exclusive striped sweaters.
Retail prices: $398 for the dress; $158 to $178 for the sweaters.
The appeal: “[The Tibi dress] is the perfect Little Black Dress for the holiday season. The one-shoulder silhouette is one of our best-selling trends and will continue to be important going into spring 2010,” said Colleen Sherin, fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue. “The Twisted Heart sweaters are exclusively ours, and are excellent value at under $200 retail. A great gift item. We feel strongly about stripes — this trend will also carry forward well into the spring 2010 season.”

24 locations nationwide.
Best-selling items: Gryphon’s sequin skirt and Elizabeth and James’ bandage dress in black.
Retail prices: $340 for the skirt and $353 for the dress.
The appeal: “The sequins are great for holiday parties; the skirt can be dressed up or worn with a casual top and flat boots — so it is versatile to one’s unique style,” said Sari Sloane, vice president and fashion director at Intermix. “The dress has a great fit and can go from day to evening by piling on bold statement jewelry and great heels.”
The Web
Best-selling item: Elizabeth and James’ Luna dress.
Retail price: $375
The appeal: “The dress by Elizabeth and James appeals to a broad audience. Its low back provides a sexy element, and the long sleeve is perfect for girls who want to cover their arms,” said Kate Ciepluch, fashion director at “It’s high fashion but easy to wear and a great investment because of its classic elements.”

Holt Renfrew
Nine locations throughout Canada.
Best-selling items: T Alexander Wang’s T-shirts and Elizabeth and James’ James blazer.
Retail prices: $95 to $110 for the T-shirts and $495 for the blazer.
The appeal: “T Alexander Wang T-shirts have become must-have items in every contemporary wardrobe,” said Tatiana Shanina, a contemporary buyer at Holt Renfrew. “This jacket has a perfect fit. It is classic and with the three-quarter ruched sleeve, it has a bit of an edge.”

Los Angeles and
Best-selling item: Fiorentini & Baker’s motorcycle boots.
Retail price: $595 range
The appeal: “They’re just great-looking boots, comfortable yet sexy and wearable for day or night,” said Madison owner Mark Goldstein. “Definitely a worthwhile investment.”

Olive & Bette’s
Four Manhattan locations.
Best-selling items: Letarte’s starfish bikini and Spring Street’s cocktail ring.
Retail prices: Bikini top $92; bottom $92, and $54 for the ring.
The appeal: “Letarte has a loyal following. The suits are supercute, and they fit. December is Olive & Bette’s best-selling month for swimwear,” said store owner Stacey Pecor. “As for the ring, it’s the perfect storm of a great holiday find: a sparkly cocktail ring that looks like a million bucks.”

She Boutique
Highland Park, Ill., and
Best-selling item: Wink’s Daria Jumpsuit.
Retail price: $396
The appeal: “This piece is easy, festive and not your standard cocktail dress,” said Nicolette Prpa, owner of She Boutique and “The volume in this jumper constantly changes its shape and silhouette, and the back ruffle is simply gorgeous.”

Diane Merrick
Los Angeles
Best-selling item: Diane Merrick’s faux leather bomber jacket, perforated, with zippers and knit sleeves.
Retail price: $120
The appeal: “It’s a lot of style for the buck and just an incredible value. It’s also a very current look that can be worn with almost anything,” Merrick said.

Best-selling item: Fleece-lined footed tights by Plush.
Retail price: $33
The appeal: “The tights are fleece-lined and footed; they’re great for our cold Chicago winter,” said Jenny Gelber, co-owner of Fix. “They come in two sizes: small/medium and medium/tall, which makes it easy for gift giving. Plus, the great price point makes them a no-brainer stocking stuffer.”

Los Angeles
Best-selling item: Isabel Marant’s boots in all styles.
Retail prices: $700 to $1,400
The appeal: “We just can’t keep them in stock — the flat suede and studded ankle in particular. Marant has a crazy cult following right now; there was a lot of hype about the boots. They’re supersexy, but the low heel makes them very wearable all day for work and to the club,” said Sarah Scott, manager at Aura.

Jill Roberts
Los Angeles
Best-selling items: Seaton’s cashmere wraps and Seaton’s nude cotton lace beach cover-up.
Retail price: $198 for the cover-up; $358 for the cashmere wrap.
The appeal: “We do a really good resort business, and for people traveling to warm climates in the winter months, those are easy, must-haves that they come in for,” Roberts said. “The cashmere wrap is a travel blanket and a sweater in one.”


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