An opportunity to buy new clothes is one of the best compensations for the end of summer. After three months of shorts and flip-flops it’s fun to get back to dressing with intent which is what fashion is all about. Now is the time to start thinking about more than function.
Since I am admittedly not a Fashionista, I asked several professionals for recommendations on what to buy this fall and, maybe more importantly, how to blend these new looks with the clothes already hanging in our closets. Luckily they were happy to share their insights and advice.
While they didn’t agree on everything, the most often mentioned trends for fall were Leather, particularly black, also seen in quilted and patent versions; Military-Inspired Looks, with cinched waists and sharp tailoring; Winter Whites, in a variety of shades and textures; and Oversized Outerwear, often seen in bright colors and bold patterns.
Expect Peplum, which made a comeback last spring, to be seen this again this season. Experts also mentioned a continued resurgence of dresses. Fabrics run the gamut from soft, nubby and tweedy to faux fur and leather (real and faux) to embroidery, brocade and metallic embellishments.
Other trends mentioned were:
•Motorcycle jackets in a range of materials from traditional leather to wool
•Colored denim in an assortment of shades
•Hunting inspired pieces, particularly seen in plaids with fur trim
•Jeweled embellishments on everything from tops to dresses, look for pieces accented with jewels around the collar and those jewel encrusted from head-to-toe
•Ladylike, conservative shapes and pieces (stay away from plunging necklines)
•Green, in a selection of tones, tints and shades; and Burgundy, which is neutral enough to be paired with almost anything
•Houndstooth pattern’s popping up on dresses, scarves, coats, leggings and accessories
In With the NewFor Men Only
What’s the one thing men can do to update their look for fall? Denim says Sean Phillips. Jeans of all fits, colors and washes are on-trend this season. Specific trends calling for different types of denim include:
•Preppy – The Ivy League look is back, complete with crisp white button-down shirts, blazes and cardigans and dark denim
•90’s Grunge – Grab your long-sleeve button-down flannel and plaid shirts and you’re ready for this retro trend. The look is complete with washed denim.
•Think James Dean – Black leather jackets, T-shirts and dark denim pull this retro look together.
•Studs, embellishments – Look for studs on belts, hats and shoes…the on-trend embellishment for guys this season.
To get the biggest bang for your buck, fashion experts suggest investing in a few key pieces that both suit your style and can be incorporated into your existing wardrobe.
But before you head to the mall pick up a few magazines and familiarize yourself with the latest fashion trends. Next evaluate the clothes you already have piece by piece suggests Rosa Mae Neel founder of Prune. “With an objective eye, identify what in your closet channels the season’s trends and identify the classics that will act as a foundation to showcase your new trendy pieces,” says Neel.
When you do begin to add new pieces it’s essential to look for common (traditional style) and contrasting (creative style) characteristics such as color, style, pattern, and fabric according to Lizandra Vega career and image expert. “For instance, you may own a glen plaid pattern suit jacket in varying shades of grey and purple. The three key characteristics are wool, plaid, colors (grey and purple). You may coordinate by buying charcoal grey or purple wool slacks or contrast with blue denim jeans. Doing this will multiply your wardrobe by tenfold.”
Another way to inject life into your existing outfits is with something bold. “Statement outerwear, such as a faux leather coat, will make your existing wardrobe seem brand new as it’s lightweight so it can be part of an ensemble or can be the finishing touch to a look, adding style and edge to something tried and true,” says Keith Fulsher, Chief Merchandising Officer at Dressbarn.
Shop More for LessWhen you’re on a budget (and who isn’t?) discounts are only a click away. While discount designer site 6pm.com remains a perpetual favorite, there is no shortage of places to pick up trendy items at reasonable prices. Just make sure to sign up for emails at your favorite sites to receive coupons and notices of upcoming sales. Here are a few places to start:
Sean Phillips, founder of St. Louis In Style, says another great way to save is to sign up for coupon sites. His personal favorite is Retail Me Not which has online coupons for “almost everything under the sun.” A quick look indicates he’s not exaggerating.
Neel recommends Shop It To Me a free personal shopping service which sends you personalized email alerts with the latest markdowns, secret promotion codes and VIP sales events based on your preferred clothing brands. I was amazed by the diversity of brands which ranged from Banana Republic to Jimmy Choo to Spanx.
Down to Business
Whether you’re going to networking events or job interviews one of the keys to success is standing out from the rest of the crowd. One way to accomplish that is with your appearance. So I asked our experts for a few ideas on how to be remembered in a good way.
“With fall on the mind, a statement cardigan can help someone stand out in all the right ways. Whether paired with a pencil skirt, a sheath or sleek dress pants, a clean pop of color can make you memorable,“ suggests Fulsher.
Another great way to add some pizzazz is through accessories. “Brooches are making a comeback this season. An interesting brooch can easily make you stand out and it is a great conversation starter, especially if the brooch is an heirloom piece or you bought it on an exciting travel adventure,” says Vega.
Although, fall is a time when we think of buying trendy items, don’t forget about wardrobe essentials. For example a black suit which can be dressed up or down and paired with other items in your wardrobe. “Invest in a timeless cut and a season-less material to make the most of this purchase,” notes Phillips.
Remember the golden rule splurge on classics and save on trends.