For far too long, we were sweet. The past few seasons have been an endless parade of frothy, pale goodness that was obviously causing everyone cavities. We went from summers of dressing like hippies to autumns of dressing like Kurt Cobain and if the runways taught us anything that very cold week in early February, it’s that we’re finally all grown-up.
After years of dressing down, the runways were an endless parade of sleek, tailored pieces that make it fun to dress up again. Gone are the days of frilly dresses, which are being replaced by delicious menswear-inspired separates that channel the femme fatal glamour like they always have. Best of all, trends were simple and manageable and will translate superbly for mass retailers such as Zara, H&M and Banana Republic. Typically, we’re stuck with watered down versions of what comes off the runway, but thanks to clean lines and weighty fabrics, we’re guessing chain stores will be able to get it right.
Who wears the pants?
Thankfully, things are rising in the world of pants. Both rises and hemlines are kicked up a notch, resulting in a chic revolution for women of all ages. There’s something remarkably sexy about a higher-waist pant. It brings the eyes upwards to the smallest part of a woman, and locks you there. Whether its denim or tweed, the pant becomes a dressier version your standard pants, without going into overdressed territory. Something we noticed across the board was pleated front pants. Yes, you read that correctly. But don’t fret: the newer styles leave plenty of figure flattering options for those of us not willing to tread into our-father’s-Dockers territory.
Black pants were all the rage, in a slimmer (but not skinny) silhouette, ankle-length and high-waist. Most shows had a Goth-chic vibe going on leaving pants to be embellished in a crisp way. Updated versions of the tuxedo pant were sleek and the perfect bottom for busy tunics. Like leggings, but more chic, slim black pants allow you to play with proportion without feeling swallowed. The ankle-length allows a fun shoe to be displayed, and also is easy to tuck into a great stacked heel boot. Invest in one solid pair of black slim pants that flatter you from all angles, and don’t be afraid to wear them out: pants this understated and sexy should never go out of style.
For prints and tweeds, designers reached for a high-waist, roomy pair. Legs were noticeably wider and channeled an Annie Hall vibe so perfect for autumn days. Rich colors like chocolate, navy and rust are gorgeous in nearly any fabric, so don’t be afraid to try this trend courtesy of your local mall. Rich colors can get away with looking good in less rich fabrics, and can be perfectly polished with the right accessories. Anchor wide-pants with a chunky platform and leather bag. Mixing texture is something you’ll be seeing tons of, so don’t be afraid to experiment with delicate tops while wearing heavier pants. You’ll strike the perfect cord of mixing feminine and masculine glamour, which seemed to be the theme of the shows.
Papierpicks for pants: Doo.Ri, Jeremy Laing, Daryl K
Change of a dress
There’s nothing better than a dress. You can find one, wear it a million different ways, and best of all, it’s an outfit without even trying. I find dresses to be the most bang for the buck, and in the past few seasons, I’ve accumulated many. This fall will be no different. While pants ruled the runways, dresses were there to make many of us feel at ease. After all, not everyone loves shopping for pants. Shopping for dresses can be a task, but thanks to simple shapes, it will be a lot easier. Shift dresses in dark colors can be worn with or without tights, with or without sweaters. Layers took a backseat to a simple sheath. Like with all things fashion, look for fit when shopping for a dress. Whether you’re at Target or Saks, the dress should hug you in all of the right places for a simple cut or be flattering, while still voluminous if you’re looking at something more modern. Look for sack dresses that have princess seams or slight curves in the side seams, which allows the body to showcase some shape.
Trapeze dresses were abound and aplenty in jewel tones, black, and lush silks and satins making them the perfect option for nearly any occasion. Thankfully, the trapeze/sack/smock dress society has undergone a slight (but very much appreciated) makeover for fall. The silhouette is a bit more subdued and slender, making it wearable for most figures. When wearing, remember the golden rule of keeping something full and something slim, and try unexpected color combinations like yellow and grey, navy and brown, or bordeaux and nude. Bubble hems were also a less saturated version of yesteryears, with only a soft flounce to distract not overwhelm. Soft, draping fabrics with little texture allow dresses to fall in the most flattering ways whether they’re cocktail or casual. Look for stretch jersey, which travels well and makes everyone feel like a supermodel (you honestly cannot beat the fit). Sleeves fell everywhere, so just go with what’s most comfortable. Startling sexy is the long-sleeves/short hem duo which seemed to be a favorite of designers across the board.
Papierpick’s for dresses: Behnaz Sarafpour, Jason Wu, Zam Barrett
Top it off
On top is the place to be. Designers showcased plenty of options at the fall/winter shows, so chances are if there’s something up your alley, it was also on the runway. Trends ranged from pretty prints to posh and plain and everything in between. Nothing was left out, so take your pick this fall because surely it’s there.
Jewel tones kept the all-black scheme from getting boring. Heavy blues, vibrant shades of red and burgundy, and the once-in-awhile canary yellow kept things interesting and alive, while keeping the dark, somber vibe going. If fall calls for anything, its darkness and designers made sure we were aware of that. While the occasional grey crept in, most were shades of black, but hardly basic. Designers showcased detail that won’t be so easily accessible on the mass market. Nothing cries cheap like horribly stitched gems on the neckline of a cheap wool sweater. Luckily, black tops were also structured and clean, allowing chain spots to snap up weighty fabrics that can stand up to the glory we saw on the runways. For tops, most sleeves were either cap or non-existent which lends itself to stress about how you’ll cover up in the cooler months. Not to worry….these were the fall collections: a good coat or two were seen.
Papierpicks for tops: Marc Jacobs, Biba, Tuleh
Give it a good coat
Okay, okay, so maybe we saw more than one or two good coats. We saw many. The great thing about coats is that they always trickle down into pure brilliance, even if you are buying the $2000+ less version. From fur to brights to the all-mighty trench, it was a season of options. Outerwear was full of drama. Collars were big and boastful, and hemlines were cut sleek and sometimes with flounce.
Who doesn’t love a great coat dress to finish off a perfect simple sheath? Look for oversized buttons and dramatic collars for day or evening. Most coat dresses were shown in a plethora of black fabrics, the majority containing a slight sheen to achieve the grown-up glam factor so loved for fall. If you opt for one of these, don’t blacklist it into your night wardrobe. Glossy black coats look brilliant over a suit for work, or with rinsed straight leg jeans for weekend shopping.
Cropped trapeze jackets were also huge in an array of colors, some with full sleeves, and some with quarter-length. Both are go-to for the season. Those of the quarter-sleeve variety are perfect for transitioning weather. Don’t be afraid to pair a full-length sleeve in contrasting color for the perfect pop. Trapeze coats work best in solids, but patterned versions were shown as well. Brilliant with high-waist trousers and over shift dress, the trapeze coats has proved that it is here for awhile, so start the hunt early. Chain retailers like Urban Outfitters have caught onto this trend, so expect full little jackets that are worth trying.
Heavy coats just got heavier. Coats shown for fall were rampant with hardware and extras of every variety. Buckles, zippers and pockets served as the embellishments to make dark coats interesting and full of functional promise. Keeping us warm and wanting more, hardcore outerwear never looked so good. Chocolate and black seemed to be the favorite for these sorts, but don’t discount other neutrals like navy and mustard. When choosing a coat be sure to leave room to wear a sweater or cardigan under and still be comfortable. Layers are your friend.
Papierpicks for coats: Rick Owens, Burberry Prorsum, Aquascutum
Make it work
There was a lot to take in at the fall shows. Some looks were old re-invented and some were new redefined. Regardless of what you loved or hated, there’s a solid chance there’s something for you. From patterns to sleek solids, from embellished jackets to fur collars, the fashion industry came out, guns blazing, with endless gifts for all. Budget plays second fiddle to true style, and the mass market is reaching out to the fashion-hungry crowds in hope of giving us a taste of the highlife at a fair price. Size is becoming less of a hurdle thanks to chain retailers wanting to reach out to EVERY customer that they can…hey, all money is green, no matter what you weigh. As these obstacles decrease, the love of fashion for the masses can only increase, leaving us come to terms with the theme of the fall shows: dressing up is back for good.
As fashion evolves, so does its offerings. Once, we lived in a world where this was in and that was out, but these days it seems it’s all in as long as you can make it work. Ultimately, it’s all about how you carry the said trends, resting assured that they aren’t wearing you. We’re channeling our inner Carrie Bradshaw and realizing that it isn’t about pleasing a crowd, but rather pleasing ourselves with wearing something delightfully fresh…whatever that look may be.