Get Ready For Fall

Erica Strama knows all about fashion. As the fashion expert and senior marketing manager for The Shops at North Bridge in Chicago, she regularly appears on morning news segments showcasing the latest trends and styles for the season. She recently returned from Paris, where she was on assignment viewing the runways and recent styles. She recommends the following eight items for your fall fashion wardrobe.

1Must-have fall fashionThe cape/capelet

"Capes are back in a big way this fall, and if you have a flair for flare, this is the trend for you," says Strama. She warns that the cape is a strong enough statement on its own, and accessories shouldn't compete with it for attention.

2Bow-tie blouse or dress

Just this season we saw Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the Kardashian clan, rocking this look in a recent episode. Strama says, "Glamorous and ladylike, the bow detail is an essential style element this season."

3Bright color & color-blocking

"Color-blocking was huge this spring and summer, and the fashion houses loved it so much that it's back in a big way for fall," says Strama. Think fuchsia, tangerine and turquoise. You might wonder if you've time-warped into the late '80s or early '90s, but these colors are red hot for fall 2011, along with new seasonal inspirations. "The key is to transition into more autumnal hues. In this look, we're showing rich and vibrant jewel tones that complement anyone's skin tone and give off a happy vibe. Who doesn't love that?" remarks Strama.

4Mocha metal jewelry

Big, chunky and sometimes clunky jewelry has been popular for numerous seasons. This fall, mocha metal is showing up in department stores and on the runways. This rich color goes well with the trendy color blocking schema or even blacks.

5Patterned & textured legwear

Tights are still very much en vogue, and patterns and textures make them current. Even the ever-popular leggings can be found in fun patterns. Choose a neutral or solid top to make the legwear really pop.

6Structured handbag

A stylish handbag can always complement and complete a look. This season, the structured handbag takes center stage. Think boxy and big enough to hold your makeup, phone, umbrella and more. Choose a bright color to stay on trend with colorblocking.

7Faux snakeskin accessories

One of nature's most terrifying reptiles is now setting the bar for great fall fashion, albeit in the faux version. From bangles to bags to belts, faux snakeskin has been spotted on numerous runways.

8Polka dots

Minnie Mouse has always been ahead of her time, and she is certainly on trend this fall. Polka dots are hot. Think colors, black and white, and brown, in big dots and little. Navy with small white polka dots is especially hot this autumn.

A few more tips from Strama:

  • "Pair the cape with skinny denim jeans. That keeps everything in proportion and balances the fullness of the cape. Pick some fuchsia accessories to add just the right pop of color to take this to the next level."
  • "Don't forget about the hat this fall. It's form and function at its finest, and it can really camouflage a bad hair day."
  • "Layering a faux fur vest on top creates just the right amount of edge. And this season, it's all about the textured tight -- the perfect way to complete your look."

More fall fashion ideas

Tips for wearing kimono sleeves
Poncho looks
Fall trend alert: Colorblock heels

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