POSTED ON AUGUST 26, 2009:
Falling, Fall On
Explore new trends for the most invigorating season of the year
A stiff, cool breeze has hit your local retailers. Yes, fall fashion is finally upon us.
Fall 2009 feels like an invigorating season. What appears refreshing about this year in particular is its simplicity. This season's clothing is by no means going to transform everyone into wallflowers; the trends have the potential to be very bold.
But during fall, at least in my opinion, fashion takes themes that are too whimsical and tries desperately to make them appropriate for the average lady. It's always styles taken from the runway, which are meant to be extravagant and are then watered down for day-to-day wear. Rather than looking fashion forward, the pieces appear costume-like.
This fall is about equestrian wear, elements of the Victorian 19th Century and oversized men's garb. Maybe that one-week in Bryant Park, but average Annie isn't going to be wearing wide, baggy-ass pants to the office every week. This fall's trends, in my opinion, could be accessible for everyone, all the time.
That said, overlapping some of this fall's fashions could give you an instant Halloween costume similar to a really bad movie's interpretation of a badass chick's wardrobe. No, follow me here. This fall you can count on seeing things that are shiny, made of leather, and shoes that reach thigh complete with a stud here or there.
Although it's another over-the-top fall collection, when separated these looks and pieces add up to a wearable wardrobe. And that's especially true when one or two of these trends is mixed with some of fall's softer elements.
The leather motorcycle jacket is the first of many edgy pieces you can count on this season. The most popular shape is cropped at the waist and fit snuggly to the body. They are highly structured, and if you want to hit two trends with one purchase, find one with a sharp shoulder silhouette.
Black will always be the most popular shade for the leather motorcycle jacket, but you'll also find browns, reds and other shades in the mix. If you want to make the most of this style, find a jacket that leans heavily on the hardware; zipper detailing is sleek with the shape.
Leather with detailing is also a key component of accessories this fall. Studs are the additional element of bags and shoes. Jennifer Combs and Nicole VanEngen of J. Coles Shoes, located in King's Landing at 9930 Riverside Parkway, said that in addition to shoes and bags featuring studs this fall, accessories will incorporate details of buckles, straps and lace. To keep that element of costume curtailed, be careful when overlapping the trends. Wearing the leather jacket, the studded shoes and carrying the bejeweled leather bag is a bit overkill.
Instead, take these hard pieces and pair them with softer items. Draped fabric is popular amongst this fall's knitwear, dresses and skirts. Grecian dresses are the perfect paradigm of this look. Again, throwing that leather jacket atop this season's other low-key items can be stylish without looking costume-like.
You'll also find tops with necklines feature twisting, draping, pleating, knotting and cowl necks that are flowy and flirty. To ensure that these tops do keep some shape, the flowing fabrics and necklines should feature some weight in the fabric. Fabrics that are a little heavier will keep you warmer and are more flattering for the body. You'll get a lot of wear out of these looks; they can be dressed up or down (with jeans, at work or for evening) and can be worn under another fall staple: the cardigan. But more about that lovely fall piece in a bit.
Right now it's important to note fall's more extravagant pieces. The two elements of this season's fashion that certainly sit on the fence as being too much for the average daily look are over the knee boots and what one online retailer referred to as "bib necklaces."
No doubt that these boots are not for everyone. If you have difficulty finding boots to creep up over your athletically built calves, you're pretty much out of the running for this trend.
However, you're not entirely out of luck. Combs and VanEngen said all boots are going to be popular for fall, with styles that range from western, biker, booties and yes, over the knee boots. J.Cole is bringing in boots from big name shoe brands like Steven Madden, Calvin Klien, Ugg, Donald J. Pliner and Jessica Simpson.
But if you have gams that go on for days, you could pull off this trend, as long as you stick to a few cardinal rules.
First, if any boot you see brings to mind Julia Roberts' hooker garb in Pretty Woman, you've gone too far on the thigh high trend. By all means, some high end designers have gone there, with stiletto boots that seem to skim right below the panty line in leather so tight and shiny it looks like you're wearing high glossy paint on your legs.
But, for average wear, find a version with a slight wedge or a stacked, chunky heel in back (Combs and VanEngen note that the chunky heel will also be very popular on pumps this fall as well) and a soft rounded toe in front. Leather will likely be the strongest contender on construction in addition to suedes, which Combs and VanEngen said are making a "strong comeback." Obviously, brown variations and black will be the most accessible shade, but metallics and gray shades will also be popular for footwear and bags. The versions are both sleek and urban, as well as variations that lean more towards motorcyle-esqe boots.
To find your own fall boots, you can visit J.Cole Shoes Monday through Wednesday 10:30-6pm, Thursday through Saturday 10:30-7pm and Sunday 11:30-4:30pm. You can also do some online browsing of their selection, which includes both shoes and bags, at www.jcoleshoes.com.
Cozy On Up
Again, be sure to tone down the rest of the outfit. The often tight and confining boots should be worn with pieces that are a bit more freeing and covered; going short and tight with these boots continues along that prostitute with a heart of gold path. Over a pair of skinny jeans or with a (moderately) short skirt, these boots will excel with a little bit of knitted volume on top.
Think of a cozy cardigan (as though there were such a think as an uncozy cardigan!) with a little bit of volume. Again, going with one that has a little bit of a drape to it will up the trend ante without crossing the line.
To keep from looking dowdy, find looks that cut close to the body near the bust and open and flow away from the rest of the torso. Really though, in fall, there's no wrong move with a cardigan. The entire sweater spectrum--from something that grandpa would have worn to something that belongs on the bluest blood in the country club--is welcome with open arms this fall.
If you want fall va-va-voom on the other end of your body, it's the bib necklace. I was fortunate enough to come across that terminology, as it really is the most accurate description of these highly ornamented baubles. For the most part, they are constructed close to the neck, grandeur in size in front and narrowing in at the back of the neck. They really and truly are bib-like.
Big necklaces are nothing new; in recent seasons, though, it's been mostly a lot of length or multiple strands. Fall '09 necklaces are more like chokers that could possibly choke you. The neckpieces I have seen both in the fall runway and that are available for purchase really are quite varied in construction and many are quite heavy and thick. They are crafted in everything from multiple interwoven chains to extremely large stones and beading. Most pieces are not only wide in diameter, but also thick in extending off the chest.
Similar to the boots, these aren't necessarily pieces that you could wear everyday, but they aren't useless to wear as daywear. Like a lot of the fall trends, these seemingly nightlife looks are creeping into the daylight hours. The biggest consideration when planning an outfit around this piece is to ditch any other piece of jewelry. Additionally, you'll want to pair these necklaces with an open neckline and an ensemble that is more subdued and toned down.
While there might be a piece or two that seem on the showy side, this fall's looks are grounded and easy to wear. They indulge both the softer and the hard edge side that can be worn separately or combined for a striking juxtaposition. There really are some sharp, crisp looks for this cool season.
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