Friday, September 22nd, 2017

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Fall fashion trends to note before you head out shopping


Fall fashion trends to note before you head out shopping

Leather leggings were all over the runways as this fall’s fashion “must have.” (Photograph courtesy of Diane von Furstenberg)
By KATHY O’NEILL

    In this economy, a lot of folks are probably thinking, “fall fashion — I love it, but what do I want? What do I already have that I can recycle? What should I choose to get the new look?”  Hopefully a quick review of the major trends will give you some ideas about how best to spend your dime and splurge on what you want and need for the season.
    Every magazine, online offering or off-price location will showcase leggings this year. I can almost hear the “Oh Nos!” as I type this, but really there is a place for this look for most of us, no matter our age. The really hot item is leather leggings. They come at all price points from Vince and Diane von Furstenberg all the way to Stella McCartney. The practicality of leggings, no matter the fabrication, is that they are quite versatile when combined creatively. Remember, even if you are in shock about this, that skinny pants are your alternative and they are all over retail stores this season too.
    Now, how to wear these almost tights? First of all, a caution, especially if you shop online. Not all leggings are the same length. Some have zippers at the bottom to make getting into them easier, and others have a knitted cuff at the bottom for the same purpose. Why worry? Well, when you put them on if you are less than maybe a 5’7” frame, you cannot shorten them!! My advice is to buy these in Cleveland so you don’t make that mistake. Leather is very chic, looks very glam at night, but for the less adventuresome, almost every line makes a black legging or skinny pant you can try.
    The rule for this look is slim on the bottom, and then either very slick or oversize on the top. You’ll see longer length belted cardigans, a knit dress on top, a generous boyfriend jacket or if you need to hide your bum, then a longer length just over the hip will work too.
    Dolman sleeves are on the runway again. These sweaters look terrific with leggings and a flat. The other legging look that is going to be popular is a vest, often fur, layered over a longer tee or sweater.
    Shoes with a legging are important for balance. Here, there are two choices. The big shoe for the season is the bootie — a basic shoe/boot. If you can tolerate aching Achilles tendons, the platform with the very high stiletto is a wow. You can wear this shoe with almost anything this season, but most of us cannot survive eight hours in a five- or six-inch heel. Then your option is a flat. Don’t mix up a lot of color here. With black leggings or skinny pants wear black shoes.
    If you are inclined toward skinny pants, your other choice is a pencil skirt. Michelle Obama has been wearing these all spring with her J. Crew or Jason Wu tops. This is an elegant look. It’s slimming on the bottom and especially stylish with a turtleneck, a crisp white blouse, or a cropped unadorned jacket in a bright color. Pumps and a frame bag will take you anywhere. I’m sure you have these somewhere in your closet. Note: pencil skirts are hemmed at the knee and are paired either with oversized jewelry or the standard pearls. The lucky slim woman can add a belt. The other newer alternative is an embroidered, beaded or patterned coat-length topper. It has the weight of a blazer, but when worn over the skirt gives you a modified suit look. The coat is either the same length as the skirt or just slightly shorter. Very flattering.
    The other fashion-forward concept this season is anything offered in the color grey. You’ll see elongated knit twin sets or cardigans which can be worn zipped up, buttoned, (always leave the bottom button open), or left undone. Grey is seen in slacks, skirts and easy dresses for day or night. Some of the prettiest are tweeds which give your look a bit of texture. Keep your eye out for purple too if black is too harsh for your coloring. This fall you will find a plethora of purple.
    DVF has some lovely velvet print dresses which wrap with a satin tie or classic belt. They can be worn for daytime business attire or with a bit of sparkle, are nice for that evening event when you can’t go home and change. Dresses with a print are popular; but remember a little print can go a long way. Never mix animal prints. Patterns really have to be tried on. It is almost impossible to select from a picture how a print will look on you. By the way, I have seen inexpensive bridge line velvet tunic tops in stores now which worn with opaque hose or skinny pants give a fashion-forward look without a lot of cost.
    Opaque tights have been out there for awhile, but aside from skinny leg looks, black tights are your leg covering of choice. I know pantyhose have been out, but almost every designer featured dark legs for fall. If you need to buy a pair, make the investment and get the Wolford or Donna Karan brands. They wear well and are worth the money. You also will see the return of sheer black hose for evening, especially for dressy evening wear. With the darker leg for day, one of the other big looks is over-the-knee boots. Understandably, this is an investment to make it look just right. This could be your one splurge item. They come in both flat or chunky heels. The really pricey, Christian Louboutin, Manolos and others have the stiletto look. That will go out of style faster, so I recommend the more practical boot heel or a flat sole. Purchase good ones — otherwise, you’ll have the “go-go” look without the panache. Get suede. They are more elegant and will update everything for day or night. You’ll have to spray them with a protective coating. After all, we do live in Cleveland, but this look is new and fun.
    For the less social crowd, even comfy clothes have some new twists. Denim leggings are available. If you like yoga clothing or the “World of Juicy,” here again leggings are the newest trend. Velour jackets are longer and have a biker styling. This is also true if you want a new leather jacket. The biker look is everywhere along with a nice waist-length jacket that has ruffles along the zipper. This gives the jacket a softer edge. This more feminine change is excellent with regular slacks, that pencil skirt, or your favorite jeans. It even gives a little extra fashion punch after 5 with a lace skirt.
    Last, but not least — accessories. If none of the above has appealed to you, blow your wad here. The eighties looks are quietly creeping back. Bigger evening earrings. Remember the chandeliers? I hope you didn’t pitch those. Lots of oversized necklaces, silver monsters by Michael Kors, big beads in every stone imaginable, even multiple strands of big and small stones tied at the neck with a ribbon are all in!! If your neck is not your preferred location for decoration, cuffs are huge as the new bracelets. Popular for fall is one really big one on one wrist or a collection of bracelets together on one arm. For that dressier evening look, dinner rings are back big time, along with “over the top” evening bags in exotic skins or lots of decoration. Daytime styles still showcase a large handbag. Hobos are still good, but your best choice is a colorful medium to large traditional bag without too much “glop.” You’ll see similar bags at T.J. Maxx, etc., but they have too many chains, brassier closures and just don’t look chic.
    Patent leather is the favorite new fabric. Yes, I know it is fall. But you will see colored patent everywhere in both shoes and handbags. Don’t put your black patent away yet. Instead add a bright red or your favorite color. Louis Vuitton’s new patents are orange!! These are recommended for both day and evening wear. The best impact for a colored bag is just that. Try a neutral-colored outfit and coordinated shoes and add the pop of color with your handbag or jewelry. Too much color is a throw back to a couple years ago when “boho” looks were big.
    Fall is here. Start to take stock and then shop early. In this economy, the merchandise will have less depth, will turn over faster, and will be available for a shorter period of time. Decide what you want and then go for it. Retailers are already getting Christmas deliveries. Chuckle.

    Editor’s Note: Just as fashion trends tend to be cyclical, fashion writer/stylist Kathy O’Neill, who worked for Currents for many years, recently has agreed to write for us again! We are delighted and know our readers will appreciate the passion and veteran eye she brings to the fashion forefront in her new Front Line Fashion column!


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