These Were the Top 11 Style Trends of 2015
Taking a quick look through your (super organized for winter, natch) closet, one thing is for certain: 2015 totally nailed it in the sartorial department. From throwback-inspired styles to unexpected twists on everyday pieces (hello, 21st-century denim), there was no shortage of fashion-forward trends to follow. And luckily for your wallets, in the new year, your 2015 wardrobe promises some serious staying power. Revisit the year’s fashion with us and feel satisfied knowing you’ve invested in some majorly stylish threads.
1. ’70s Style-Inspired Style: Designers brought the disco era back in a BIG way this year with far-out flares, plunging necklines and all-suede everything. The seemingly niche-y trend took off thanks to its clean lines, modern silhouettes, versatile neutral-toned color palette and undeniably romantic vibe, making it a fave of both front-row scenesters and fashion-loving ladies everywhere.
2. Anything but Skinny Jeans: Skinny jeans will always have a place in our wardrobes, but over the last year, we’ve had to make way for a whole new flock of denim. With crazy covetable cuts like cropped flares, boyfriend jeans, culottes, wide-leg denim, overalls and more, the whole off-duty dressing game permanently changed.
Mother Denim Maverick Jean ($105), M.i.h. Linda Jean ($265), ASOS Cropped Flare Jeans With Patch Pockets in Vintage Wash ($63) + J.Crew McGuire High-Waisted Flares ($216)
3. Skinny Scarves: Both statement baubles and dainty chains took a back seat to a totally unexpected retro piece: the skinny scarf. The delicate add-on packs major Stevie Nicks vibes, introducing a rocker edge to classic tees and injecting a free-wheelin’ feminine note to boho dresses and structured shirts.
4. Menswear-Inspired Flats: Flats became a major fixture among the fashion set this year — even despite Cannes’ no-flats-allowed policy. Everyone from editors to big-name celebs was sporting the low-riding kicks at big-deal events like Fashion Week, award shows and beyond. In all of these occasions, shoes with old-timey, masculine flair were the style of choice. Loafers, oxfords and bluchers pulled their weight to add tomboy charm to femme looks.
5. Mini Bags: This year was all about taking a much-needed break from larger-than-life, shoulder-aching handbags and embracing more shrunken-down styles. They might not be able to fit much more than a phone, lipstick and a pint-sized wallet, but they turned the mandatory pocketbook into a very necessary accessory.
6. Pointy-Toe Lace-Up Flats: While the expression “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” rings true for many classics, sometimes putting a modern spin on a wardrobe essential is a recipe for success. The ballet flat is one such example. The ordinary steppers became *the* must-have of the season with the addition of a pointy-toe and dramatic straps.
Ivanka Trump Trish Pointy Toe d’Orsay Ghillie Flat ($140), M. Gemmi The Brezza ($248), Gap Lace-Up Ballet Flats ($50) + Topshop Finest Pom-Pom Velvet Ghillies ($48)
7. Velvet: While suede was definitely a stand-out fabric of 2015, super soft velvet slithered in and held its own. The iconic ‘90s fabric spread like wildfire through collections, turning up in everything from party dresses to classic camis and athleisure-inspired pants. Striking the perfect balance of cozy and luxe vibes, it’s a welcome addition to our cold-weather wardrobe.
8. Capes: Any less-than-outstanding outerwear just wasn’t going to fly this year, and the cape did not disappoint. Instantly elevating everything from LBDs to classic denim, this chic topper kept us cozy to boot.
9. Off-the-Shoulder Tops and Dresses: You couldn’t walk down the street this summer without spotting at least one off-the-shoulder frock or top showing off perfectly sun-kissed shoulders. For winter, the ultra feminine silhouette got upgraded with luxe fabrics and long sleeves for a sophisticated and seasonally appropriate feel.
10. (Faux) Fur Accents: For fall and winter 2015, not just any accessories would do. From vibrant, oversized coats to eye-catching earmuffs and super soft bags, faux fur accents ensured that cold weather wouldn’t get in the way of achieving haute style status.
Urbancode Faux Fur Clutch Bag With Optional Shoulder Strap ($162), Ann Taylor Faux Fur Earmuffs ($45), Charlotte Simone Shaggy Stole ($281) + H&M Faux Fur Jacket ($129)
11. Lazy-Girl Style: This year was basically a lazy girl’s dream, with the introduction of athleisure and oversized everything making big waves. Trainers reigned supreme, joggers made their way into the workplace and big cozy knits became *the* must-have piece. The easy-going look is totally game-changing, making it easy as ever to look stylish, even on days you just can’t motivate.
What was your favorite 2015 trend? Tell us on Twitter!
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com