conley6.gif (2529 bytes)


Fall's Fab 5
Try these five red-hot trends before summer waves goodbye


September 2012

Is there a shape more flattering than peplum? After years of designer interest, mass market retailers are finally picking up on the posh trend, in tops, skirts and dresses. The look is best when worn in appropriate proportion: peplum top, skinny bottom; peplum bottom, fitted top.

Ready for a style shift? When the days get shorter and the temps begin to dip, the candy colors, breezy fabrics and beach chic ensembles of summer find a special place in our seasonal wardrobe storage. The feeling is often bittersweet. Luckily, designers are giving us a special reason to look forward to falling leaves and dressing in layers: A return to opulence. While the economy is still on the rebound, there’s no reason we can’t dress like a million bucks — from sumptuous fabrics and regal embellishments to rich colors, bold accessories and decadent outerwear. Here’s a look at five trends to make your own this season.

There’s no doubt the must-try color combination for fall is jet black and navy blue. And this look from Carolina Herrera’s Fall 2012 runway show exemplifies the best use of the "boo boo" color combo: simple and purposeful.

Colors of Distinction

This fall, go bold with blood red, deep burgundy and winter white. Look for these sophisticated tones in everything from sheer and silk blouses and pencil and peplum skirts to skinny corduroys, velvet pants and jeans. And the colors are often complemented by embellishments of sequins, fur, leather and more. Not ready to jump on the red bandwagon? Try a burgundy pump or handbag, or go for the always classic red lip. Winter whites are freshest in pantsuits and sheath dresses. Look for the color to stay strong well into the icy flakes flying.

Shrunken, masculine and neutral — this season’s moto jacket is tough as nails, and easily adds a rugged vibe to even the most elegant attire. Keep the color simple in basic black, brown or camel — and let the chic extras do the talking.

Material Evidence

Fabric textures are everything this season, from soft fur and velvet to supple leather and sleek faux croc and python. Fur is showing up everywhere, but not necessarily in full coats. Instead, think of it as a regal embellishment — collars, cuffs and piping on clothing, or accents on pumps, boots, handbags, hats and more. Also look for high-shine leather in glossy lacquers. Velvet and leather are sharp in pants and skirts, while leather peplum tops and shrunken jackets are making a statement all their own. Snakeskin and croc are the look of the season for handbags and pumps, perfect for accessorizing any autumn look.

This season, channel your inner femme fatale — from Matrix-esque leather jackets and pants to fierce footwear, oversized jewelry and sleek hair. Perhaps the most daring options are found in pumps, with adornments like contrast toes, heel lacing, croc textures and bold animal prints.

Dressed to Impress

Dresses continue their dominance into fall — but forget about the lazy shirt, tank and fishtail dress looks of summer. For fall, menswear influences of tweed, herringbone, plaid and houndstooth are perfectly merging feminine with masculine in the curve-hugging shift dresses — the must-have shape of the season (thanks Kate Middleton!). Also look for sparkly embellishments and regal piping for added luxe. Looking for a little less structure? Try an ode to the ’20s with a silky slip dress, just in time for the December release of the rebooted "The Great Gatsby." The look is decadent, with piled on jewelry and shoes that sparkle and shine.

Finishing Touches

Per usual, accessories can make or break a look this season. The best advice? Opulence and style go hand-in-hand. Instead of taking something away, add something! Eclectic jewelry, print mixing, rich extras of fur and leather, animal prints, military influences, equestrian chic ... the list goes on. The moral? More is more this season. Just make sure to keep it classy (the line between terribly gaudy and delightfully ornate is often very thin.)

Playing with Proportion

This season, classic shapes are in — with a twist. Pencil skirts are sporting cascading drapes at the hem; blouses and dresses are taking an asymmetrical turn in the necklines; simple sheaths are rocking strong shoulders and body-shaping panels; structured jackets pop with peplum; fluted, fit-and-flare and envelope skirts hug the feminine form; and oversized cocoon coats keep away the fall chill.



This story ran in the September 2012 issue of: