When I receive fashion alerts from major department stores, I am always taken aback with the featured designs. “Moto” – Translation, tough biker girl look. “Beatnik” – think back to the beatnik look of the ‘60’s or “hippie”. Contemporary – be prepared for very short and very young. Where are the clothes for the woman over 40? What is a business professional to do?
Fortunately, once you get beyond these labels, there is a good selection of attractive, professional looks.
Skirt lengths vary from shorts length to below the knees. Choose a length that best flatters you. Hems can be changed. The most flattering length will gives you the appearance of a long leg line. For business, choose no more than 2” above the knee. If the skirt is straight, test it to see how much it pulls up when you sit down. Some very slim skirts can become seductively short!
Skinny and slim cut trousers are still the preferred look this fall. If you have a triangle shape (wider through the hips than shoulders) this may not be the best look for you. You can wear them with a tunic-style top that covers your hips. An oval can also wear this look. The key is to camouflage where you are wider and accentuate where you are slimmer. Whenever you wear something wider than the body like a tunic, it should be balanced with close-fitting to avoid looking sloppy. For those of you who prefer trousers with fuller legs, hang in there. The spring collections that are being shown now are trending back in that direction.
Over the knee boots and fur trim are two more very big looks. They can be beautiful but finesse is required to achieving the right balance. I like both looks but they may not be the best investment if you are trying to achieve a core wardrobe on a budget.
If something doesn’t work for you this season, there are always new collections coming in a matter of months. If it doesn’t work, take a pass. Be true to yourself and choose only those colors and styles that say YOU!
Although there are no big surprises among the fall trends, I thought I would give some pointers on how to wear some of these looks with aplomb.
Do you love plaids? If so, this is your season! One thing to keep in mind is that plaids and tweeds are “country”. By that, I mean they have a less formal feel. I always think of the Royals in Britain wearing their plaids, tweeds and heathers out bird hunting at their Scottish castles. The larger the plaid, the less formal it becomes. Another consideration is, your personal scale. If you have a small frame and/or delicate features, a large plaid will be visually overpowering.
This brown plaid jacket is a beautiful example of a plaid with universal appeal. The color and the plaid give it a casual feel but the plaid is subtle enough to be appropriate for a wide range of women. Notice how appropriate this simple, pulled back hairstyle is for the pattern. With straight lines in a plaid, a flowing, curled look would not work. Neither will plaids work for the individual with soft, rounded features.
Another look you will be seeing is the cocoon coat. It can be a great look for an oval body shape. It can also be worn by a rectangle, inverted triangle, or figure eight. Proportion will be all-important to carry off this look. The example here appears too large and seems to engulf the model. I think the look would be much better in a solid color. Certainly this plaid is much too large a scale for the wearer. This model, however, can wear plaids in a smaller size, which would complement the many straight facets of her face.
You will continue to see many prints in stores. This example is well done all around. This print is a statement in its own right so jewelry would only distract. The model’s simple hair is excellent, again allowing the dress to be the total look. I also like the understated sandals. This touch of a darker color at her feet relates to her hair color and draws you eye back up to her face. My only suggestion might be to add a darker lipstick. This is pretty bold and dramatic so it will not be a dress for the shrinking violet!
All examples can be found at Saks.