Fall fashion is afoot. Back-to-school shoppers are packing local stores, and school supply lists are circulating like hot cakes. But the most interesting trend that has everyone buzzing so far this year, is … the notable lack of trends.
Hear me out.
In recent history, “trends” were defined by the decade. Everyone wore similar clothes in the 1920s, ’40s, ’60s, etc. It’s how you can tell what era that strange faded photo of your parents is from. The last few years, however, it seems as though the fashion industry hit a fast-forward button, bringing trends around yearly, and then seasonally, so that nearly every three months you may feel the urge to redo your entire closet.
This year, however, hyper-trending fast-fashion seems to be having a negative effect, sucking the creativity out of designers and burning out consumers, not to mention burning holes in everyone’s wallets. This fall, shoppers and designers alike are putting the brakes on the over-proliferation of trends, calling instead for the fashion industry to just ... slow ... down.
This season, you will still see new concepts and innovative outfits trending across the country, but the good news is that past trends and styles are sticking around. You don’t have to ditch your wardrobe to stay in style. Instead, work on incorporating a few key pieces that you love into what you’re already rocking. If you loved the ’70s styles of summer, for example, I have good news for you: Bohemian fashions are still going strong.
Here are some other micro-trends and new fashions you’ll see in stores. Have fun with the ideas that resonate with your style.
Shimmer and shine: Fall fabrics and textures are rich and luxurious, embracing velvets, silks, furs and deep jewel-tone colors. Top your favorite black jeans with a burgundy blouse and silver jewelry, or go all out with a floor-sweeping navy blue velvet dress for head-turning drama. Look for rich brocades, floral patterns and shimmery fabrics, a la Studio 54 glam and decadence.
Play in plaids: Last year’s ’90s-grunge styles are also holding strong. From capes and dresses to a classic lumberjack shirt tied around your rocker T-shirt and jeans, plaid continues to dominate the fashion landscape for both men and women. For a modern take on this classic trend, eschew the typical “schoolgirl” skirt and wear your plaid in unexpected ways, like a fitted jacket, tartan backpack or the custom-made rockabilly dress pictured that I commissioned from local designer Retro Hunny (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’ve even seen plaid wedding dresses shock runway audiences with their simultaneous audacity and ability to invoke a highlander-esque magic.
Culottes: Whether you’re a lover or a hater, there’s no denying that culottes are huge in fashion right now. For fall, they look best worn with a sturdy wedge sandal or tall ankle boot for limited skin exposure. If you’re opting for printed culottes, be sure to find a pair that’s wide and flowy so that it almost appears to be a full skirt. Pair it with a tailored, printed blouse or jacket. If you’re wanting to dabble conservatively into this trend, I recommend a denim pair for comfort and versatility.
Nerdy chic: Take a cue from Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in “The Royal Tenenbaums” and pile on pastels in 1960s candy colors. Shirt dresses, varsity jackets, quilted fabrics, structured satchels, brown brogues and sport-infused pieces are the way to go to achieve this style. It’s part 1970s sportif, part nerdy schoolgirl, and part dowdy grandma. Sound unappealing? It’s remarkably chic, when put together well, but this look definitely takes confidence and attitude in high doses to achieve.
Leg up: Keep warm in the latest incarnation of patterned stockings, which range from sexy to playful in all ranges of colors and styles. It’s easy to go beyond fishnets and make a bold statement instead in stripes, bows, plaids and all manner of swirls and florals. Be careful when mixing patterns, though. Don’t wear paisley tights with a striped skirt, for example. Tights make your legs the statement piece, so keep them the focus of attention by turning the volume down on the rest of your ensemble.
Shoes: The newest boot style is the mid-shaft ankle boot, which is higher than the typical bootie and worn fitted or laced. Dress it up, with a pointy-toe, shiny patent leather and sturdy block heel. They are best worn with culottes, cropped pants or a longer skirt. Platform boots and shoes are still going strong, as are classic pointy-toe pumps. Doc Marten’s-style boots are still popular, as are platform and military styles. It’s very ’90s grunge to pair chunky black ankle boots with a long floral dress and denim jacket.
Handbags: Backpacks are always great for back to school, but this season they’re also a huge trend for the grown-up crowd. Look for statement backpacks with words or patterns that you love, like this red one above from local leather craftsman ifeelgoodtoday.net, and customize it with another major trend in handbags: purse charms. Everyone from Louis Vuitton to COACH is creating adorable charms. They’re a great way to show your style (and own a small piece of your favorite designer brand without the hefty price tag).
Children’s wear: For the first time in decades, it seems as though jeans are beginning to fall out of favor with the younger crowd. They are being replaced by athletic styles like sweatpants and track pants, yoga pants and leggings, and basically anything kids can run from the classroom to PE. in without having to change clothes. Bohemian looks are in for young girls, and statement coats in fun colors will be hot once the weather turns cold.
Kids love soft textures, so watch for faux fur and shearling on everything from jackets to shoes. High tops are a must for every kid; for boys, bright colors are king, while your little girl will probably pine for blingy, bejeweled accents like Skecher’s Twinkle Toes, or the silver glitter high tops from Justice pictured on the opposite page.
Statement sweatshirts and T-shirts are very popular, like the “Never Grow Up, Never Surrender” shirt from local children’s designer Huckleberry Threads. Call it a hipster invasion of the schoolyard, but many boys and girls are also embracing classic accessories, like bow ties, suspenders and fedoras. Accessories are a fun and inexpensive way for kids to personalize their look.
For men: I asked Ashley Barkley, a local fashion stylist and H&M “Next Face” spokesmodel, about her predictions for menswear this fall. She told me that for men, the “Americana Heritage” look is huge. Must-have items for this style are warm earthy pieces, like beat leather belts and boots, denim jackets, slim cargo pants and joggers, and flannel shirts, which add a campfire-like, woodsy feel. Camel is the new fall neutral, Barkley said. “Discerning” gentleman, she added, also should look for items like gum-soled shoes, knits inspired by graphic art and grooming practices that enhance the overall look (fragrances, shave habits, groomed beards, etc.).
Email Tanya your ideas and questions for Treasure at Tanya@stylespygirl.com. Visit her blog at stylespygirl.com for more Treasure Valley shopping news.