Fall 2011: 5 Fashion Trends We Love

It's July, and you know what that means--the fashion houses are trying to convince us that fall is just around the corner! The Fall 2011 couture and RTW collections have been released, and it's making this heat and humidity even harder to bear. My kingdom for jeans and tall leather boots! While I pine for cooler temps that allow me to layer pretty scarves over long-sleeve shirts, I look over the fall collections for inspiration.

Trend: Polka Dots

If Diane von Furstenberg approves, then so do I. Polka dots were all over her 2011 fall collection, in a variety of sizes. I'm tiny so I tend toward small prints, and I like polka dots because they are really very wearable. I am in love with the midriff-revealing, Gloria Vanderbilt polka dots with the cowl-neck (pictured, above right).

Polka dots are at once whimsical and a classic. Daytime and casual looks can support a larger polka dot motif, while smaller polka dots can be quite elegant for evening; pair a black dress with white polka dots with pearls and heels, and voila! One jewelry trend to look for this season are long, opera-length strand necklaces. I'm already on the lookout for a long, single-strand of faux pearls to wear with my BCBG polka dot cocktail dress.

Trend: New Fall Colors

According to Glamour, the new fall colors come complete with an assigned item: rust-colored coats, neon pants, and jade-green (some say teal) dresses. The degree to which these trends are wearable depends on the shade and your coloring. Another fall color trend (you're apparently free to apply this to any item of clothing you like) is mustard-yellow. Just typing that made me look sallow, but if you can pull it off more power to you!

Trend: Leather & Lace


Do Don Henley and Stevie Nicks get royalties for this trend? Let's hope so, because leather and lace are everywhere on the 2012 fall couture and ready-to-wear runways.

Jason Wu featured lace appliqués on skirts and jackets, and then went daring with sheer, lace-embellished blouses. While a sheer blouse isn't necessarily office-appropriate, a pencil skirt with a lace detail, or a blouse with a lace collar can help you translate the trend in a more conservative way. Pick up lace camis and t-shirts for layering, and the look will take you from summer to fall, and right through the winter. I'm wild for the lace applied over the tone-on-tone ivory graphic print on the sheath dress, pictured right. Wu added polka dot nylons that are cute enough to make me want to wear nylons.

Leather (and fur)

Leather and fur are not entirely surprising in fall/winter collections, and the usual suspects are making their appearance: at least one leather skirt, pant, jacket and/or boot is featured in almost every collection. Alexander McQueen for fall 2011 is a standout: The design house used white, black, and gray leather and fur to create dominatrix looks for clients ranging from, apparently, Glinda the Good Witch to the Wicked Witch of the East. My favorite: the front-zip leather walking shorts paired with a fur-trimmed sleeveless parka and opera-length leather gloves. I'm going to a wedding in Alaska this November and I think this outfit would be perfect for a ski weekend in Talkeetna.

Trend: Chokers and Cuff Bracelets

Bold chokers and big cuff bracelets are the way to accessorize for fall. Layering chunky bracelets with smaller, more delicate bangles is also encouraged. Shiny precious metals are always in fashion, but we are also seeing bold motifs like animal and tribal prints. The McQueen fall 2011 collection features many of these big, bold chokers, studded and bejeweled to resemble dominatrix/fetish apparel.

Michael Kors's ready-to-wear also showed up with chokers. My favorite orange-hued Project Runway judge paired the bold necklaces with a low-cut collared white shirt and sparkly, tuxedo-style pants topped with an oversized, menswear-inspired jacket. Oh my--yes, please.

Trend: High-Slit Skirts (short girls, rejoice!)

Time to start doing lunges and squats, because our legs are about to get a big reveal. Long skirts have long slits to match. This trend isn't just for long, leggy gals--it works on us shorties, too, and the "new slit" is positioned straight up the front, giving a long skirt nice movement when you are in motion. My favorite is from another Project Runway alum, Christian Siriano (right). His dark, romantic color palette and mix of sheen--matte tops and shiny skirts--is classic Siriano.

That's not to say the side-slit is out. Michael Kors 2011 fall collection has two uber-sexy skirts--an above-the-knee pencil and a calf-length modified A-line--that feature the traditional cut. I like this long-skirt/high-slit combo trend, because it works on women of all heights.

What have you seen on the runway that you love? Leave me a note (and a link!) in the comments.

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