Fall 2012 Fashion Trends: What I’m Loving

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It may be 100 degrees outside, but in my heart I’m already craving fall fashion. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale just ended, and now we’re all getting September issues of fashion magazines in our mailboxes. There are many trends that are hot for the upcoming cooler months – some that are truly wearable for all women, some that are best left to the True Fashionistas and the models on the runways. Here are the trends I can’t wait to embrace once the temperature drops!

Fall 2012 Fashion Trend Winter White

Winter White
Last fall designers took the summer colorblocking trend up a notch with monoblocking. Runways had models sporting one-color outfits from head to toe, or varying intensities of the same hue. This trend has returned for fall, but in one specific color – white. If you are old school like me, you may cringe at the idea of wearing white after Labor Day. However, the runways aren’t showing crisp white in summer fabrics, but varying tones of white in obviously winter fabrics. Suiting, fur, wool, and chunky cable knits were seen in everything from the palest shade of silver to French vanilla.

I have always loved the look of a monochromatic neutral ensemble – it just screams confidence and class. However, no matter the color of my hair or foundation I look positively wretched in khaki, tan, or taupe. This is one reason why I am so excited for this fall trend – I can carry off a winter white cashmere crewneck and wool menswear trousers with a few strands of pearls, or a pearl white fisherman sweater with matching skinny trousers. Luckily, designers such as Proenza Schouler and Alexander Wang paired their white ensembles with black shoes – no need to buy special footwear to properly wear this monochromatic trend!

fall 2012 fashion trend college collegiate plaid knit

Collegiate Chic
Chunky cableknit sweaters, tartans, and tweed are always popular for back-to-school fashion, but this look is also hot this year for the couture lovers. From Michael Kors to Marc Jacobs, plaids, Fair Isle sweaters, tweed blazers and elbow patches are chic, polished, and quite wearable.

While I haven’t worn a plaid kilt since my school days, I’m tempted to scoop one up for fall and wear with a chunky knit sweater, heavyweight tights, and lace-up booties. To keep this trend from looking too twee or like a costume, toughen it up with midi-height lace-up boots, leather jackets, and very sleek modern hair.

fall 2012 fashion trend leather

From sleeveless shells to pleated skirts, leather is a huge trend this fall. The leather leggings of last year are still en vogue, as are the leather pencil skirts and biker jackets. However, leather is now being incorporated to unexpected wardrobe pieces – coat sleeves, sheath dresses, tee shirts and more. While colors like cognac and ivory are quite chic, the hottest trend is basic black. Pair your black leather pencil skirt with a black merino turtleneck, black tights and booties for a look that is both classic and modern. I splurged on a black leather pleated skirt for the upcoming season and plan on adding at least one more black leather piece to my wardrobe.

Leather also went the complete opposite direction this season, with brightly colored leather with a glossy finish. Wet-look and patent leather was seen in yellow, burgundy, and indigo as skirts, trenches, and boots.

Keep in mind that leather stretches – it’s wise to go down a size or buy a piece a tad snug so that it will end up fitting like a glove after a wearing. If you wear a base layer under your leather, it won’t need to be cleaned that often. Spot clean leather when necessary and have it professionally cleaned at the end of the season to protect it from body oils and sweat damage.

fall 2012 fashion trend oxblood burgundy red

Dark Red
Be it burgundy, merlot, or oxblood – dark red is the new neutral. Designers like DKNY, Alexander Wang, and Nina Ricci showed this color in jersey, fur, leather, and chiffon.  Consider a wool winter coat in this luxurious color, or maybe a chiffon or silk blouse to pair with trousers for the office and dark narrow jeans for evening.

fall 2012 fashion trend luxe fabric fur brocade

The Luxe Life
This coming fall and winter, luxe fabrics and embellishments are big, and not just for evening.

Fur has come back en vogue the past few years – last fall and winter it was all about the shaggy fur vest or a faux fur chubby. This fall and winter it has a far more elegant role in fashion – fur collars on coats and suit jackets, stoles over skirt suits and gowns, and full coats with everything from jeans to sequins. Dsquared had a black red carpet-worthy gown with a fur peplum that was utterly divine; I could see myself incorporating a tweed jacket with a fur collar into my wardrobe this season.

Feathers have also made a big comeback, decorating the hems of gowns and layering into a luxe mini. Pair with a blazer or simple cashmere turtleneck from looking too extreme.

Brocade and embellished fabrics have also made a big comeback. Runways featured brocade suits, dresses, and pants paired with fur and chiffon; designers like Balmain and Lanvin featured heavily beaded and jewel-encrusted dresses and separates. Like the feather trend, this ornate trend is best for street wear when balanced with a simple separate – brocade cigarette pants with a crisp white shirt or cashmere crewneck can easily transition from day to night with a quick change of bag, shoes, and lipstick.

What fall and winter fashion trends do you plan on incorporating into your wardrobe?

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A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Perfect timing!! All the back-to-school commericals are getting me in the mood for fall clothes. I’m a seamstress and was just getting ready to start looking at the fall trends when your email came through. Sometimes I doubt whether it’s worth it to sew on trend when you can find the ‘it’ top at every price point (and WAY cheaper than sewing), but that’s not why I do it. These trends definitely make me want to break out the plaid, leather and dark red. Love it! Thank you!!

  2. Allie,

    I live in an area that is fairly heavily vegan and vegetarian. Wearing fur especially, feathers, and leather would send them into paroxysms. Whereas I don’t condemn folks who wear such garments, I wouldn’t wear them because it is so painful for my vegan and vegetarian friends.

    I love the dark reds and I wear that color already. It’s one of those Fall colors from nature I enjoy so much.


  3. Ooh… I’m always down for wearing leather, so I’m glad that the pieces I already have will still be in – especially since I didn’t get to wear my black leather skirt last year before it got too hot. I love the dark red – it’s a color that looks good on me, so I’m glad that it’s in.

    I’ll probably add some collegiate chic and do the monochromatic thing with either the tan/khaki/beige thing or tones of blue or red. I would love to pull off white, but I just can’t keep it clean enough to do white pants or a white skirt. It seems like every time I wear my white shorts or capris, I get something on them. It’s one thing to do that when I’m home or running errands and another to do it at work. Sigh – to be one of those women who is immaculate all the time.

  4. I don’t follow the trends (even though I remain aware of them) however – I am really excited about wearing dark red and getting a few embellished pieces. Dark reds are spectacular with my skin tone so I’m excited that because of them being a trend, there will be more to choose from and I can add to my collection of pieces in this shade.

  5. I love the idea of winter white but it’s such a big statement that I feel like you have to be Erin O’Connor to wear it – 6’something, statuesque, and built like a coat hanger! (Plus I’m not convinced I could ever keep an all-white outfit truly sparkling white – which immediately takes the shine off the look!)
    For me I look forward to wearing deep jewel tones and rich fabrics (loving the deep red trend) – think Gucci F/W 2011. Anything to brighten up dull winter days!

    1. I will always be a jewel tone fan, but I think anyone can wear all white if they do it right. I know back when I did business travel I had an ivory suit and sometimes wore it with an ivory blouse underneath. It was surprisingly flattering, and loved the monochromatic look when the jacket came off (wore with a black belt and shoes). I have also done a cream turtleneck with cream jeans which is nice, thinking this winter a slouchy ivory sweater, ivory heavyweight leggings or jeggings and a pair of tall black boots would be quite chic and keep me from looking like the Michelin Man 🙂

  6. I’m so glad leather is still going strong. I was worried I’d missed my chance to pick up leather pants. Love the collegiate chic and other luxe fabrics too.

  7. Great Review! Thanks

    For me: Winter White, Collegiate chic and dark red. Also like the kelly green trend- just picked up New Blair Purse in Ivy by D & B. Looks Fabulous and modernizes camel and navy staples.

  8. Thank you! I normally like to check out all the fashion shows & such to see the upcoming trends, but I just don’t have time this year! I love seeing the new trends & then checking out how I can put together pieces I already have! Love these new trends for Fall, too!

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