Take it from us: It's not easy being fashion-forward. Every season there are a hundred new pronouncements about what's in and what's hopelessly out -- and what you must buy immediately to avoid the wrath of the fashion gods. Sometimes it's all a girl can do to keep up with the magazine reading alone. So what can you do when you want to look chic but don't have the time or the budget to buy a whole new wardrobe twice a year? Focus on the accessories.
Snap up a few strategic items, and no one will notice that your clothes might be a teensy-weensy bit outdated. And lucky you -- we've waded through all the fashion reviews and decrees and found those must-have pieces for you. First up: fur. And not to worry, if the real stuff is something you wouldn't dream of buying -- pricey tag or not -- fake fur is on the "it list," too.
If fashionistas took one loud-and-clear message from the 2010 fall fashion shows, it was that fur is back -- in a big way. There were plenty of (both real and fake) fur coats and jackets on the runways, of course, but don't fret if you don't have the funds for a full-length mink. Accessories were where this trend really hit home. You name it, it was trimmed in fur -- handbags, boots, scarves, collars, hats, even watches, necklaces and stiletto sandals.
Oh, and look out, reptiles -- fur wasn't the only animal product being paraded around on the catwalks. "You couldn't go anywhere this season without seeing an exotic [skin], be it lizard, python, crocodile or mock," says Candy Pratts Price, executive fashion director of Style.com [source: Style.com].
Next, a cultured classic.
"Oh, great," you're probably thinking, "am I really supposed to dress like a 1960s housewife this fall?" Well, the TV show "Mad Men" is still having quite an impact (as is evident on the next page). But don't worry: This season's pearls are not your grandma's add-a-bead chokers.
There's definitely nothing stodgy about a multilayer pearl necklace twisted with chains and rhinestones or wrapped in silk ala Lanvin. Edgy but still classic, you can wear them to work and then out on the town -- truly the best of both worlds.
And the twist on this cultured classic doesn't stop there -- think color. Long strands of freshwater pearls in varying shades of blue, pink, gray, gold and cream can be worn layered around your neck or wrapped around a wrist.
The prim-and-proper '60s look was another big one at the fall shows (think Betty Draper, all you "Mad Men" fans). Accessorizing the full skirts, cinched waists and fitted shirts were elbow-length gloves, polished clutches and bow-tipped kitten heels.
But if you're wondering what our very favorite ornament of them all is -- that's easy: an embellished white Givenchy clutch -- with matching attached glove. Gee-whiz, we're just giddy thinking about it.
Brown Leather Belt
If you're planning to work the bohemian-chic look this fall (which is still very in, by the way), have we got an accessory for you: A wide brown leather belt will be your best friend. And we're not talking the cinched, high-waisted version that we've been seeing for the past couple of years.
These of-the-moment boho belts are meant to be slung over your hips. They're the perfect companion for ruffled peasant shirts, flowing prairie skirts and perfectly faded jeans. And don't ruin it by trying to be matchy-matchy with your shoes or boots -- it's OK to mix up colors and textures.
There's a lot of animal action out there this fall (fur, feathers, leather, skins), but leopard is definitely at the front of the pack in terms of prints.
Remember, though -- a little leopard goes a long way. We don't want to see anyone in leopard trenches with matching knee-high boots.
A simple leopard clutch or sleek little handbag is the way to go if you want to sport the jungle look. It'll go with everything -- and next fall, when zebra (or panther or tiger or cheetah) is suddenly in, you can move on without any guilt.
"Utilitarian chic" is a phrase that's been popping up in all the fashion mags this fall. So forget bejeweled totes and leopard clutches (for a second) and think sturdy, cross-body messenger bags.
If you're tired of teetering around in sky-high stilettos and cramming all of your belongings into a tiny purse, the "urban warrior" look (to borrow another phrase) is for you. Oh, the excitement -- for once, you can be fashionable and functional at the same time!
Finally, a fall trend that won't break the bank! Yes, we suppose you could spring for Prada's chunky cable-knit socks, but you'd be equally styling in a pair of knee-highs from American Apparel or J. Crew (and you could probably afford five more pairs while you're at it).
Knee-highs aren't just fiscally fashionable, they're incredibly versatile, too. They look great with heels, boots, flats, dresses, shorts, skirts -- pretty much whatever.
We're not so sure about the toeless versions, though …
Is there a better companion for knee-high sweater-knit socks than a pair of loafers? We think not -- and luckily, loafers are hot, hot, hot this fall.
The best news is you don't have to go the dorky prepster route, either (although the classic penny loafer is always an option -- and it's comfortable enough to be a practical mate for that cross-body bag). It turns out this season's loafer comes in all shapes and colors. Soft, structured, spiked, studded, stacked heel, mule and platform: You name it, it's out there.
Classic camel is another look that's been showing up all over the place -- Jean-Paul Gaultier, Michael Kors, Carolina Herrera, Gucci and Marc Jacobs all featured it heavily in their collections. Coats are the obvious option if you're into camel (and wouldn't it be nice to wear something other than black this winter?), but you'll really pack a punch -- and combine two trends in one -- in a pair of camel kitten heels or caramel-colored crocodile loafers.
Boots are big every fall, but they're the absolute must-have this year -- and tall lace-ups are where it's at. Lace-up boots can be dainty (with pointy toes and a low heel), sturdy (fur-lined thigh-high mukluks), and just about everything in between. Yes, you might have some difficulty getting them off at the end of the day, but sometimes you just have to think about form before function.
Head to the next page for more fashion tidbits.
Holly and Tracy of Stuff You Missed in History Class explain why the stories of the Hope diamond have been greatly exaggerated.
More Great Links
- CBSNews.com. "Fall Fashion Preview: What Will Be Hot." Aug. 23, 2010. (Accessed Aug. 24, 2010) http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/23/earlyshow/living/beauty/main6797585.shtml
- FashionIndie.com. "Nerd Glasses are Still Trending." April 3, 2010. (Accessed Aug. 24, 2010) http://fashionindie.com/nerd-glasses-are-still-trending/
- FashionTrendsetter.com. "Pantone Fashion Color Report for Fall 2010." (Accessed Aug. 24, 2010) http://www.fashiontrendsetter.com/content/color_trends/2010/Pantone-Fashion-Color-Report-Fall-2010.html
- Harper's Bazaar. "Top Fall Trends From New York Fashion Week." (Accessed Aug. 24, 2010) http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/fashion-articles/fall-fashion-trends-2010
- InStyleBoutique.com. "Fall Trends to Try Now." (Accessed Aug. 24, 2010) http://www.theinstyleboutique.com/trend/fashion
- Marie Claire. "Fall Accessories You'll Love." (Accessed Aug. 24, 2010) http://www.marieclaire.com/fashion/fashionista-blog/fall-2010-accessories
- New York magazine. "It's Like Butter … Scotch." Aug. 15, 2010. (Accessed Aug. 24, 2010) http://nymag.com/fashion/10/fall/67512/
- Style.com. "Fall 2010 Accessory Report." (Accessed Aug. 24, 2010) http://www.style.com/trendsshopping/accessoryreport/041210_Fall_Accessory_Report/
- Style.com. "Fall 2010 Trend Reports." (Accessed Aug. 24, 2010) http://www.style.com/trendsshopping/trendreport/072610_Trend_Reports/
- Vogue. "Most Wanted: Fall Accessories." July 1, 2010. (Accessed Aug. 24, 2010) http://www.vogue.com/mostwanted/070110_Fall_Essentials/?mbid=scrubbed_because_of_f33d_term_in_query_string
- WhoWhatWear.com. "Accessory Report: Penny Loafers." (Accessed Aug. 24, 2010) http://www.whowhatwear.com/website/full-article/accessory-report-penny-loafers/