Fall Fashion Round-Up: The Best of What’s Next

By: Heather Dunhill

Our hot list of "hero buys" for the social season.


When the fashion pendulum swings to fall, it signals it’s time for a wardrobe refresh. With the entertainment and gala season upon us, and in the spirit of staying stylish, here’s the best of what’s next—“hero buys,” as they’re called by fashion insiders. We scouted out the top new trends that will help you strike sartorial gold all season long.

Tadashi Shoji cape

The Cape

This suddenly ubiquitous trend is a heavy hitter for scoring high impact in high-society territory. Universally flattering, the dramatic new closet staple builds on an air of old Hollywood elegance. Whether yours is softly structured and minimalistic or as voluminous as Tadashi Shoji’s knee-length version on the fall runways, you’re sure to be a scene-stealer by day or night. And the cape is ideal for our mild winters; choose one that’s just the right weight for layering. A great addition to your fall and winter collection.

Gucci ear cuff

Hardware

The ear cuff is a fierce trend that’s been gaining momentum for several seasons, with cool girls as the early adapters. Lately it’s been showing up on the red carpet, adorning stars like Emma Watson, Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence, who was recently seen in a multi-diamond cuff that looked like a sculptural constellation, created by Ana Khouri, a name you’ll hear more during award season. Style tip: Choose a color that contrasts with your locks for maximum impact.

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Mod, Mod World

The mod goddess is back and she’s brought the infectious ’60s party spirit and in-your-face-fashion with her—swinging minis, prim collars and high boots. Best way to wear: Don’t go totally Penelope Tree, but choose one mod accouterment and juxtapose with a current piece. You want to look youthful and modern—as in Valentino’s fresh take on bold ‘60s graphics, opposite page—not like you’re wearing a costume. Or peruse Gucci’s fall lookbook, which features updated ‘60s daywear with a pastel palette and A-line dresses teamed with knee-high boots of colored python.

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Gender Benders

Fashionable femmes have been embracing mannish style since Marlene Dietrich led the way with a full tuxedo and top hat in the classic 1930 flick, Morocco. The fall runways were full of relaxed yet sophisticated androgynous looks, including super-sharp tailored suits, such as Les Copains’ Italian label’s crisp-cut suit of floral fabric—another trend in year-round bloom. Adam Lippes, one of the freshest names in fashion, showed suiting in classic sportswear mode with rich materials and a relaxed, tailored mood. Look for an ingenious cut, luxe craftsmanship and an impeccable fit, even if the suit has a languid shape. It’s worth investing in the right piece; it will be one of the freshest and most flattering looks in your wardrobe. One of the easiest cocktail looks you’ll pull off all season.

Prabal Gurung red dress

Red Alert

Few things empower a woman like the color red. Every woman needs this traffic-stopping tone in her wardrobe. Even if you play it safe with a crimson clutch or scarlet stiletto, you’ll add instant impact to your outfit. But designers’ favorite way to tell this color story is by cloaking women in it from head to toe, as with this evening gown by Prabal Gurung—supercharged with female style. Actress Anne Hathaway pulled off the haute hue at the Met Gala this year with a Calvin Klein number with midriff-baring bustier and floor-length, slit-up-the-middle skirt, landing her on a number of best-dressed lists. If you do go that bold, remember that when it comes to accessories, simplicity will speak volumes.

Herve Leger crop top

The New Crop

The fall runways always seem to feature something gasp-worthy for fall, and this year, it’s the crop top. Those tuned to street style have been on to this trend for a while. Hervé Léger showed a long-sleeved embellished crop with matching tulip skirt. It can be a little daunting for those with less than awesome abs. Not to worry, designers are keeping the cropped tops in our comfort zones by teaming them with high-waisted pants and skirting. Or consider tone-on-tone layering, such as putting a gray crop over a gray tank, then finishing the look with a chic blazer.

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Game On

The athletic aesthetic just keeps getting stronger. Every fall runway had its own take on sports luxe, from bright patterns to Wimbledonesque footwear to rich knits. It’s sport with style fused with practicality, and almost every piece can easily make a seamless transition into your existing wardrobe. Take a hint from Emilio Pucci and team a black blazer with mesh top and shorts or a skirt, finished with a pair of power heels. It’s as cool as anything in your wardrobe right now, and you never know—it could be a love match.

ugly shoe trend

Ugly Shoes

Who knew designers would dare to create a practical and comfortable shoe? Affectionately called “ugly shoes,” they’re suddenly a fashion favorite, seen on celebs from Maria Sharapova and Rihanna to Iman. Confused about how to pull off this look? Take a pretty piece or handsome look, such as one of the new tailored suits, and just add ugly—shoes, that is. If you’re not sold yet, give it time; they’re not as pedestrian as you may think.

Giambattista Valli stripes

Anchors Away

Even if you’re not nautical by nature, the new marine-inspired looks are fun, cool and flirty. They’ll give you an instant update that’s perfectly suited to our coastal lifestyle, from café luncheons to cocktails. And it’s more than just the quintessential Breton stripe. Giambattista Valli gives it a French spin with wide awning and architectural striping, while Altuzarra makes it modern with relaxed trousers and a flattering sweater layered over a crisp white shirt. Pair the new nauticals with an old-school-style collar necklace or a modern pearl statement piece.

Click here to read Heather’s Fashion I.Q. blog. >>

This article appears in the September 2014 issue of Sarasota Magazine. Click here to subscribe. >>

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