I loved looking at all the fun, Furby coats and satin track pants (for the office, naturally) on the Fall/Winter 2014 runways … but they do leave something to be desired in terms of everyday wearability. But that doesn't mean that Fashion-with-a-capital-F trends can't give you inspiration on what to wear right now—without ending up with trends you'll be tired of in two minutes.
Here are the items I'm on the hunt for and am looking to add to my wardrobe this fall, the shapes and details and items that feel fresh and right, and would work for any person, in any wardrobe.
A blouse that's buttoned-up and unbuttoned
There's a lot of rock-and-roll in this fall's clothes and inspirations (like moto and leather), which is why I am loving (and splurging on) a sweet bit of subtle counterpoint: a long, man-style shirt that's been lovelied up with feminine wiles, whether in shape, color, or fabric.
The shirt above, from the British brand Poetry, captures it best: a basic menswear shape, but in flowy silk crepe de chine fabric. And the killer detail? The ability to button one of the tails asymmetrically across the body, creating an irresistible soft line. A fantastic, artful piece.
But no worries, you can find pieces with similar he said/she said magic at more down-to-earth prices:
Try Banana Republic's gorgeous silk shell pink menswear-inspired tunic ($85).
Or, on sale at Kohl's right now, an Elie Tahari-designed georgette tunic with a cool digital print ($44).
A cocoon coat
I'm not in the market for a new coat this year—oh, how it hurts me to type that—but I can't stop seeking out the shape I'm totally obsessed with now: the cocoon coat. It has a slightly fuller shape than a straight coat, usually with rounded shoulders. But the shape is almost less important than the details, or the utter lack of them. Cocoon coats are typically stripped down, with a funnel collar or no collar, hidden buttons or zipper, and seamed pockets, never patch.
It's this ultra-streamlined look that feels so right right now, especially in the super-fresh pale palette, like the rosebud beauty from T Tahari, below, which I found in Amazon.com's fantastic coat store.
The pale-pink metallic brocade panel at the bottom of this cocoon coat by Ted Baker is fantastic; definitely fancy ($475).
Pieced leather or a piece of leather
Take this fall by storm and make a statement with pieced-leather leggings. Or if that's not for you, try a leather-front tee or sweater. Or a coat with leather sleeves, or patches, or placket. Or tuxedo pants where the stripe is leather trim. Leather is literally everywhere this fall, but never fear: Quite a lot of it is faux leather, or vinyl not-even-tryin' to be leather, and this is all very good for the price points. My pick is pieced-leather leggings—and trust me, with the right heft to the fabric and a longer top, leggings really, truly can work for every body.
I especially love the leggings above, by BCBGMaxAzria ($158). The pattern looks cool and makes your legs look like a million bucks, and you can wear them with your favorite boyfriend cardigan or hi/lo-hem sweater.
Old Navy's ponte pair has panels on the lower outer legs for just $30.
ASOS has a high-waist pair with large panels ($48), so they almost look like leather pants: Love.
At J.C.Penney, classic (and classy) tuxedo-striped leggings ($30).
Quilted faux-leather panels from Mossimo at Target add that Chanel chic ($20).
I'm going with these from Hue ($48), with leg-lenthening wide vertical pieces that wrap around the hip, all for most excellent streamlining effect.
A strong brow
Giving a little extra attention and emphasis to that lovely arch above your eyes goes hand-in-hand with the little bit of edge and more architectural shapes that we're seeing in clothes right now. If you have naturally dark hair, your solution is simple: Stop plucking and let your brows fill out a bit. If you're fair like me, or if you have sparse brows, you'll need to do a little fill-in work. My most trusted tools for brow are the following three formulas. They are easy to use and hard to mess up, which is pretty much what the fashion doctor ordered.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz ($21) is an ultra-fine, waterproof, smudgeproof, self-sharpening pencil that you simply flick lightly across your brows (in fact, when I give my friends in-person tutorials with this item, I say "flickflickflickflickflick" as I quickly apply the pencil in short strokes) until you reach the desired darkness. As with all brow products, you aren't creating a new brow; you are simply emphasizing the brow you have. Truly, even if you have sparse, fine brows (as I do), this pencil does the trick quite nicely. If you're not sure about your shade, go a shade lighter; it's less likely to look costume-y.
I am also a huge fan of Laura Geller's Brow Marker—as well as a huge fan of Laura Geller, herself, the most huggable, kind beauty maven I know. Her marker works much the same way the Brow Wiz does, but the color is slightly more transparent, so you apply a bit more to get the strong-brow effect. And it lasts for-ev-er. I have had mine at least … six years? Seven? Still love it.
The third brow option is powder, which seems ultra-advanced, but I promise you, it is very easy to apply. I like powder also because you can use less-expensive products and get the same results (I find the quality of the waxes used in the pencils makes a huge difference, on the other hand). Try NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder, which you can get at Target for $6. It comes with the two brushes you need: A compact-bristled wedge brush, which will pick up the right amount of powder and deposit it just so on your brow; use a stippling action. Then use the same brush to pick up a little wax, and stipple again. Last, use the spiral brush to brush your brows UP and then to the outside of your eye. Voila! A perfectly manicured, strong brow. Now go out there and be fierce and fashionable.
Lots and lots of pink, all shades of pink
The way our vision changes and suddenly a certain color just seems right is a fantastic fashion mystery. There was much ado about Radiant Orchid being named Pantone's Color of the Year for 2014, and it's true that the fall 2014 runways were packed with jewel tones, i.e. sapphire, ruby, a teal-tinged emerald green … but the color I'm seeing everywhere in every tone and am loving is pink. With fall's predictable blacks, grays, and navy blues, pink is a never-miss mix, as well as a joyful burst of sophisticated color.
Try on a bright bubblegum pink, as in this J.Crew factory sweater ($45).
Or go softly sophisticated, like this shell pink cardigan from Zara ($40)
Or try the deep lipstick pink of a flirty, feminine dress from Boden ($90) .
Pink is just feeling exactly right this winter, so go ahead and choose your hue and brighten up.
A moto.... sweater
It started with moto pants (denim or leather), and then went to moto jackets (leather) and then turned into everything leather. The moto trend is still revving our engines. The latest moto look? Moto sweaters. Which are genius, really, since they mix both the hard edge of metal hardware and the racing vibe with the soft feeling of a good, chunky knit. That tension—hard and soft—is why the best moto sweaters of the season are in light colors.
The perfect version to my eye is Banana Republic's Suede Moto Sweater Jacket ($140): the ivory, the quilted camel suede, the snap collar details…. I drool.
Lucky Brand does it up in a cool black-and-white texture ($90).
And at Loft there's a waffled marled-gray knit moto jacket listed at $90, but with their special 40 percent off everything deal right now, you're looking at just $54. (And hey, if you live in one of those climates where there's no such thing as fall, definitely scoop up this linen version at Loft on sale for just $20).
Asymmetrical seams on anything
The moto trend has also shifted something else in fashion: seams. The diagonal zip of most moto jackets has led to a great experimentation with basic sweater shapes, all for the better. Seams that are set at angles are feminine and flattering—which is a good thing, since the prevalent sweater shape right now is boxy. With offset seams, the look works at last!
J.Crew inset a zipper on their wayward seam; super fresh on a pastel-lilac lambswool ($90).
Or an asymmetrical seam defines colorblocking, as in the DKNYC tunic above ($70) …
… or this Three Dots dress ($124).
A bad-ass shootie
There is one shoe you can wear with absolutely all of the above, and it is the bad-ass shootie, preferably in black. I already have plenty of booties, but this year I want something taller, bolder, and badder, with cut-outs or some metal details: perfect to wear with pieced-leather leggings … or with pink.
Vince Camuto's sliced bootie has the cut-outs I crave, and a sharp stiletto heel ($149).
Rockstar Fergie pulls out all the stops in her shootie, bedecked with studs, zippers, cutouts and a double dose of attitude ($129).
Love the perforated-leather detail and strong, block heel and zipper on this Nine West peep-toe shootie—and the sale price ($80, down from $130).
If the high heel is just not your thing, look for black, ankle-height booties that are flaunting some hardware—like these Dolce Vita cone-heel showstoppers ($200)—and you'll be rocking a boot with swagger to spare.
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