Something Special to Fall For…

Falling for Bits

I have been horribly remiss in addressing the Autumn/Winter 2011 fashion season and completely missed October.  Chalk it up to a very busy few weeks for me, as it certainly isn’t a lack of great stuff to write about.  So, what is hot? And what is not? 

 After weeks of looking at what made it off of the runway and into the stores, I think the key message for Autumn/Winter 2011 is “make it special”.  Gone are the somber colors and sedate (almost droopy) looks of last autumn, replaced with a desire to make each piece count.  Colors are a bit more vibrant this year as designers have eschewed the muddied and muted for a bit more pop in deep purple, cobalt blue and scarlet.  Prints are bold, fabrics are luxurious, and cuts are bolder – soft drapey schlumpiness has given way to a bit more shape and drama.  The best looks and items I have seen all have a sense of specialness – whether it is in cut, fabric, color or embellishment, the key pieces this fall stand out.

Glam – both 40’s and 70’s inspired – has decidedly made a comeback, although in many of our hearts it never really left.  Everywhere you look sparkle is huge; designers have embraced sequins and beading, from delicate embellishment to fully bedazzled dresses.  Upping the glam quotient are leather and even better – fur – both faux and real – as enhancements or main garment textiles.  LOVE IT!

Several key trends have definitely had staying power from recent seasons.  Lace is holding its own, and keeps a modern relevance in mixed media looks and in unusual applications such as this fab Anna Scholz biker jacket.  Mad Men looks are still ruling and the sexy secretary and vintage vibes are huge this season – with floral printed dresses, sheath dresses and lady  like blouses with “Pussy Bows”.  Continued offerings in animal prints tie seamlessly into both retro and glam looks – on accessories as well as clothes. 

If I had to pick a single must-have piece it would be the statement coat or outerwear piece.  And there are so many amazing options it makes me want to live somewhere cold so I can justify owning more of them!  From the drama of a fur-collared biker jacket, to a faux fur vest, to a sweeping cape – I just can’t pick one.  After being on the “out” list last fall, capes and ponchos are back and better than ever – hurrah!   I love the drama of a cape and the ease of ponchos so I wear them every season, but they are definitely having a moment this season.  They are so easy to wear.  Even better, there are some cape great options in jackets that can be worn as “inside” or transitional pieces as well as outerwear. 

Admittedly, there are a few looks that are not my thing, although I see other folks really making them work.  Big on that list for me would be those blanket sweater/coat thingys in tribal patterns and fringe.  While I could see a tall, athletic outdoorsy girl building a cool, rusticy vibe with jeans and a pair of UGGs, the effect on me is more along the lines of donkey with a serape….hmm…yeah, not so much.

Booties are still big, with lush materials and embellishment creating stand out pieces with that sense of specialness basics never have.  Fur trimmed suede?  Yes, please.  Or, my hands down favorite Miu Miu’s illusion shoes with both sparkle AND texture.  Granted they are a bit out-there, but they do convey specialness and a fun sort of timelessness by giving nod and a wink to the mod and 70’s glam eras but still being uniquely now…and later….  As for handbags, well I have succumbed to Burberry’s divine white and black clutch with lush out-sized leather tassels and a nifty strap to make it into a cross-body bag – both special and practical.  Also on the practical front are satchels, moderately sized so they useful without being overwhelming and in so many great materials and treatments it’s hard to settle on only one – Nancy Gonzales Crocodile, Proenza Schouler Suede, Reed Krakoff Tweed, Valentino Lace and Crystals, Alexander Wang staps….oooohhhhh. 

Seeing the stores offering more than the usual array of basic pieces in several colors is truly inspiring.  Even the go-to brands for traditional basics like Lands End and Talbots have stepped it up and offered some fun and out of the ordinary pieces or have done a classic piece or silhouette in a bold hue, animal print or luxe fabric like satiny finished silk.  (Talbots has a biker styled jacket with asymetric zipper in a cream and black houndstooth that is simply fab!)  

Seeing remarkable clothes in striking silhouettes and beautiful colors makes me so happy.  Why feel okay in an outfit when you can feel amazing?  While basics always have their place, using them to build around a signature piece is a smart way to make your fashion budget go the distance while still creating looks that are still …well…special.   Certainly that is what this fashion season is all about.

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