Fall 2011 Must Haves

I love that I was asked by a friend and former colleague how she should spend a sizable Amex gift card this fall.  I take her request seriously, but will try not to think specifically of her style, her body type, or her needs as a working mom — but rather simply share with you what I have seen and cannot resist adding to my wardrobe this season.

1. Polka Dots!  Stella McCartney (Sir Paul’s offspring) and Mark Jacobs double handedly brought polka dots, in all their, “been there, done that” glory back in full force this season.  What’s new about a polka dot?  Well, nothing really, but when you see them applied on sheer fabric, or covered on tights, or even sprinkled like nonpareils on a scarf, its hard not to smile.  Find something polka dot — think large, at least dime or quarter sized ones, and enjoy.

2. Snakeskin.  Colored snakeskin, to be exact.  This ubiquitous print is EVERY where this season.  Head-to-toe would be for the more bold among us, but an envelope style clutch purse would add pizzaz to any basic outfit and have you feeling cutting edge.  Oh, and for goodness sake, no need to go for real.  Prints and fakes are plentiful.

3. RED!  Last week’s Emmy Awards were chock full of crimson gowns, and although typically there are no lines to be drawn from Red Carpet to Real Life, in this case the color can be enjoyed in daily life this fall with ease.  Try on several reds and try to go as saturated and rich a tone as you can while still working with your skin coloring.  This fall isnt about corals, but deep ruby.  The fun part is that we’re seeing red show up on pants, shoes, blazers and my favorite, dresses.  Go for it.

4. Lace.  Now.  This is one of those trends that one must tread lightly with.  You can easily douse yourself in lace and wind up looking either a: like a Victorias Secret ad or b: like a ninety-year old woman going to a funeral.  The way I’ve seen it done well is unexpected — a large, graphic lace with jeans or lace trim on a gray knit top or dress.  Think edgy applications for this most classic of fabrics.

5. Capes.  In terms of outerwear, the magazines are showing lots of “same ol, same ol” as far as I’m concerned….parkas with fur trim, collegiate toggle coats, classic camel coats.  And while I agree that a functional coat in a classic silhouette is an investment not worth messing with, there are some cutie patootie capes out there than can be had for a song and will get you through November in the North East, and will for sure be pulled out on those unexpected warm days.  Think waist or hip length, plaids or solids, with fun hardware and deatils like metal toggle buttons or military style frog closures.  #madeyagoogle

6. Structured Bags.  I like this trend because its not really a trend.  Its more of a, “yay I can pull out my vintage bags” type of moment than a run out and buy something you may not wear three years from now (find a cheap cape, people).  And by structured, we mean a bag with a frame,  somewhat large, in a basic color like black or brown, and with a handle.  A doctors bag, or a ladylike purse would both work.  You should have one in your wardrobe anyway, so this will be the season to find one if you dont.

7. Tribal Meets Navajo.  What?  I know.  This is one of those strange fashion trends that simply means we’re done with Spring and Summer florals.  But when looking for patterns (other than the aforementioned polka dots), check out prints that have a graphic navajo vibe or feel like they could be at home on safari.  These patterns are best worn mixed together for a collage like feeling.

8. Tuxedo Dressing.  For holiday parties this year consider having a tuxedo moment.  Think YSL in the 70s, Studio 54, sleek and sexy. It could mean a white blouse and black satin pencil skirt, or a full on actual tux.  Just make sure it is tailored to a T or it will take on a Victor/Victoria vibe.

9. Colored Pants.  Already given a nod in the RED trend, but in general colored pants, in a slim silhouette and paired with neutrals are a fun way to update your wardrobe this season.  Really. I promise.  Check out J. Crew for how to do it and not look like a Dylan’s Candy Bar employee.

10.  Houndstooth & Glen Plaid Menswear.  These iconic prints have been showing up on shoes, bags, suits, dresses and blouses.  Leave the head-to-toe look for Gaga and the Ferragamo models, but do look for a classic, wide leg trouser in one of these prints — it will serve you well for years to come.

Happy Shopping!

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