Thigh-high boots made a minor appearance last year, but they're back with a vengeance for 2009. "It is a versatile look that allows the wearer to scrunch the boot down and put on a pair of leggings or matchstick-slim jeans or cords," says Jean Beiter, founder and president of Scottsdale, Arizona-based personal image and styling consulting firm, Jean B. "If you find yourself frustrated by larger calves or ankles, this is the right boot for you. Most styles can be found in very forgiving dimensions around the knee area, making it nearly effortless to pull off." Knee-high boots aren't just for a night out, either. This season, you'll find them in toned-down brown and tan shades of leather that are perfect for the office, too.
Ankle-cut booties are still going strong, but according to Suzanne Colmer of Your Shop Girl, they've been "toughened up" for fall. "Pair them with opaque tights and a wool skirt for work," advises Colmer, who fell so deeply in love with the carefully cut buckled pair from Juicy Couture that she spent an entire night searching for clothes online to pair with the shoes. "This fall is all about finding your inner rebel," she says. "There is no escaping the revitalization of the 80s, either." Veteran freelance fashion writer Bjorn Nasett agrees. "Shoes for the fall have a retro 80s vibe. Square-toed squash booties and triangular heels on pumps and boots give a bit of the tough-girl feeling."
Another hyper-focus for the fall is exotic animal prints in everything from leopard and zebra to tiger and reptile. (Not to worry -- plenty of faux options out there, too!) "The easiest way to incorporate this look is to add animal print accessories to your wardrobe," says Beiter. "Nothing spices up an outfit of one or two neutral tones like a great leopard print accent." She advises style-lovers to keep other accessories simple in cut and coloring when sporting animal prints: "The animal print is the accessory, so less is more." Jené Luciani, New York-based style expert, emphasizes that "It girls" shouldn't overlook the exotic skin trend. "It will instantly make any outfit look more luxe," she says.
Fashion expert Nicolette Prpa's fall trend forecast includes art-to-wear shoes with artistic heels like those seen in the season's Louis Vuitton collection. Filled with platform-heeled shoes, the line also features a variety of metallic hues -- another big must-wear for fall. The super-sexy designs turn heads with swirling strokes and large, girly bows. And the cutout trend has traveled south from the blouses and tops to take over shoe styles. "Just remember that cutting yourself off at the ankle shortens your legs," says Colmer. "Opt to wear the cutout shoe styles with pants or tights to reduce the breaks."
Depending on what part of the country you call home, fall can be a rainy season that makes it difficult to stay on top of the latest looks. Designers like Armani and Dolce & Gabbana help you look super-chic even in the most torrential downpours with rubber and polyurethane galoshes that are a major trend this season. They come in a variety of bright colors -- yellows, purples, reds and teals -- and in all shapes and lengths.
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