Fall for Fashion 2011
Trendy dressing with style

How to wear five fall trends — including lace, bright pants & mid-calf dresses — and look good

How to wear five fall trends — including lace, bright pants & mid-calf dresses — and look good

Three falls ago, following the emerging skinny jeans craze, I purchased a pair of mustard colored matchstick jeans. I tried to make them work. I really did.

Experimenting with various heel heights and shirt lengths, these efforts always ended in me yanking the jeans off, wadding them up and throwing them in a corner of my closet in frustration. Eventually, I folded them neatly in a Goodwill-bound bag, accepting that the mustard skinny jeans were supremely unflattering and should be ousted from my closet. Who would look good in skin-tight mustard pants, after all?

Our approach to fashion for the fall cannot be to blindly follow the trends. That doesn’t bode well for your wardrobe or your wallet.

Our aim must be to find inspiration in those trends, all the while maintaining a look that embodies a timeless confidence and ease, whatever that may be for you. How do we let the whims of the fashion industry enrich, but not dictate, our individual sense of style? How do we avoid buying mustard skinny jeans after seeing them on wiry models?

The answer is simple – Identify what you know you look and feel great in (perhaps with some help from an honest friend). Think colors, shapes, fits, lengths.

 When you shop, maintain a narrow focus on that look and purchase only pieces that achieve it. For me, and perhaps for many other women, this look involves classic silhouettes, simple outfits and feminine and graceful pieces. 

When you shop, maintain a narrow focus on that look and purchase only pieces that achieve it. For me, and perhaps for many other women, this look involves classic silhouettes, simple outfits and feminine and graceful pieces. Channel J.Crew’s messy prep look, anything nautical, creamy neutrals and Jackie O.’s femininity. I try to invest in pieces that will carry me through many seasons and that are versatile enough to be worn for a range of occasions.

Below, I address five looks we are seeing for fall with advice I would offer myself or someone with a similar style.

Trend: Color pop bright pants

Carefully place that pair of bright red jeans back on the rack. Instead, consider a pair of slacks in a classic shape but a not-so-classic color, such as these J.Crew’s wool Café Capris in maraschino cherry or yacht blue? Pair them with a button down and flats for work or a silk shell and pumps for dinner out.

Trend: Lace

Wear lace tastefully, with sophisticated and streamlined accessories.  Try this Alice + Olivia Eden Dress. I own a similar frock and get a surprising amount of use out of it. I have worn it to weddings, out to eat and layered with a creamy cardigan to church and graduations. With forgiving and enduring lines, the functionality of a classic lace dress should not be overlooked.

Trend: Mid-calf dresses and skirts

I am so over short hemlines and thus delighted at the new “midi” craze we’re seeing. Generally, versions with a higher waistline, such as this one from ASOS, tend to elongate the body, creating a slimming effect. When it is practical, opt for heels over flats with midi pieces.

Trend: Pleats

Vera Wang, among others, showcased this throwback to preppy style in silk chiffon on the runways. Ever since, I’ve been lamenting the fate of a black pleated skirt I wore in high school, a victim of a recent closet purge. I am swooning over Anthropologie’s Ella Skirt. Color-blocked in black and gray, this piece is chic and flattering.

Trend: Silk Blouses

Everyone is heralding the silk blouse as the piece to own this season. Stick to conservative silhouettes and you can’t go wrong. I am coveting Madewell’s Silk Cargo Shirt. Tuck this non-fussy top into your favorite dark jeans or pair it with a pencil skirt.

So go forth! Prep for fall, but do so with precision and loyalty to your own look. Consider the words of Yves Saint Laurent, “Fashion fades, style is eternal.”