Style: 10 fashion trends for fall

Fall fashion trends
Collage by Rachel Jessen

As Meryl Streep explains in her amazing, “cerulean sweater” speech in The Devil Wears Prada, even if one “doesn’t care” about fashion or solely shops second-hand, what happens on the runways of New York City, London, Paris and Milan directly affects what is being sold to you. Trends presented during last February’s Fall/Winter 2014/2015 fashion weeks around the world have trickled down from exhorbitantly expensive clothing lines and have become references points for much of what is showing up in our local clothing stores now.

The following 10 trends are pulled from last February’s couture and ready-to-wear fashion shows. The representative designers selected are included not to endorse their (re)enforcement of unattainable beauty standards, sizeism, racism, classism, etc., but rather so that the interested reader may look to those collections as fuel for their radical DIY, upcycling, clothing swapping and thrifting adventures. Fashion—much like hip hop—samples, remixes and embellishes aesthetic elements from the past in order to say something relevant about our present. The arrival of autumn is the perfect time to take the same approach to your own wardrobe.

The Mod 1960s

Ah, yes, those sleek lines, A-line dresses, brightly colored geometric patterns, knee-high boots and minis. Tons of minis. Again.

Sources of Inspiration: Swinging London, French New Wave cinema, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby.

Runway Revelations: Tory Burch, Calla, Tom Ford, Carolina Herrera, Gucci.

Shop Local: For vintage looks, Artifacts, Revival and White Rabbit cannot be beat. For new clothes, I spotted a couple of very nice pieces at Catherine’s, French Connection and Textiles.

Knits and Knits and Knits All Over

Sweaters: not just for your torso anymore. This fall, expect knit coats, pants, dresses, leggings and matching accessories. And this season: the chunkier the knit, the better.

Sources of Inspiration: Snuggies. And wishing you could leave your house wearing your grandmother’s afghan as a bathrobe.

Runway Revelations: Band of Outsiders, Calvin Klein Collection, Comme des Garçons, Michael Kors, Stella McCartney, The Row.

Shop Local: If you’re crafty, Home Ec. Workshop. Otherwise, Crowded Closet, Ragstock, Revival, Textiles or Velvet Coat.

Sophisticated Square

Tailored separates never really go out of style. This season, find them in the form of streamlined pants in both straight-leg and voluminous cuts; fitted blazers; and collared shirts. Juxtapose them with some of this season’s more casual trends or wear them together to present the ultimate in polished urbanity.

Sources of Inspiration: Diane Keaton in Annie Hall and real life (duh), the 1980s-1990s “power suit,” Tilda Swinton in I am Love and George Clooney in Ocean’s Twelve.

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Runway Revelations: Apiece Apart, Camilla and Marc, Christian Dior (RTW), Jil Sander, Theory, Jason Wu.

Shop Local: Austin Burke Clothiers, Ewers Men’s Store, Revival and Velvet Coat.

Voluminous Silhouettes

From embroidered capes to coats seemingly inspired by your grandfather’s bathrobe to comically long scarves, outerwear is cozy and all-encompassing this season. And the dresses, shirts and skirts underneath those garments are also comfortably oversized in a wonderfully chic way.

Sources of Inspiration: Gwyneth Paltrow’s coat in The Royal Tenenbaums; caftans, tent dresses and the 1960s-era coats of Italian designer Alberto Fabiani.

Runway Revelations: Acne Studios, Carven (RTW), Céline, Cédric Charlier, Chloé, Dolce & Gabbana, Issey Miyake, Opening Ceremony.

Shop Local: Artifacts, Crowded Closet, Dirty Birdies Vintage, Revival, Second Act and Sicily.

Elegant Sportswear

No, neither the Juicy Couture tracksuits of the early 2000s, nor the Uggs and sweatpants beloved by a large portion of the undergraduate population, appeared on the runways in February. The formal concepts of sportswear—sneakers, athletic shorts, sweats and track pants—were revitalized through the use of unexpected fabrics (like leather, lace and silk); evening-gown-style embellishments; and adventurous cuts, patterns and colors. Think structured-but-tastefully-slouchy athletic pants paired with a tailored suit jacket. For folks who need an excuse to ditch body-destroying high heels, plenty of formal looks were paired with fly kicks.

Sources of Inspiration: Kanye’s leather jogging pants.

Runway Revelations: Ashish, Christian Dior, DKNY, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Marni, Moschino, Anna Sui, And Re Walker.

Shop Local: Active Endeavors, Catherine’s, Ellison sunglasses, The Full Kit, Nori, Ragstock, Revival, Running Wild, Sicily and Tailgate.

Elaborate Evening

Texture from ostrich feathers, pleating, fringe and ruffles; Art Deco architectural elements; sparkly shit; velvet, florals, metallic fabrics and embellishments; cut-outs, thigh-high slits and sheer everything. Wear these elements a handful at a time, or all at once.

Sources of Inspiration: Chris Tucker in The Fifth Element; Katherine Hepburn’s gold lamé gown in Bringing Up Baby; and pretty much every dress featured in Savage Beauty, the 2011 Metropolitan Museum of Art Alexander McQueen retrospective.

Runway Revelations: Atelier Versace, Balmain, Roberto Cavalli, Alberta Ferretti.

Shop Local: Crowded Closet, Dulcinea, Revival and Second Act.

Old Europe

Along with the presence of knits, traditional northern-European prints—Scandinavian, Fair Isle and Icelandic, in particular—are making an appearance this year. We’ll also see the shapes found in Victorian England; the modest, utilitarian cuts of 1940s wartime women’s wear; Puritan-inspired hats; and garments that could be from a European folk tale, manifested in romanticized takes on traditional garments, wolves, fur, flora, fauna and the magical happenings that occur in the forest.

Sources of Inspiration: Sofie Grabol’s sweaters in the Danish version of The Killing, any illustrated edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and the paintings of John William Waterhouse.

Runway Revelations: Alice + Olivia, Thom Browne, Clover Canyon, Alexandre Herchcovitch, Lanvin.

Shop Local: Bustleworship, Catherine’s, French Connection, Nori, Ragstock and Revival.

Bright Colors + Prints + Power-Clashing

Ditch autumnal neutrals for bold hues; kaleidoscopic motifs; head-spinning, black-and-white geometric prints; and epic power-clashing.

Sources of Inspiration: Psychedelia, the paintings of Gustav Klimt’s “Golden Phase” and M.C. Escher.

Runway Revelations: Ace & Jig, Calla, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Thakoon, Giambattista Valli, Ungaro, Yohji Yamamoto.

Shop Local: Mayfair, OM, Revival, Textiles and Velvet Coat.


Cream-colored shearling—particularly as lining for boots, gloves and coats—is something of a fall fashion tradition. This year, however, this cozy wool is also appearing as coats, sleeves and purses enlivened with the aforementioned voluminous silhouettes, unexpected colors and bold patterns.

Sources of Inspiration: Western wear. And Muppets.

Runway Revelations: Altuzarra, Burberry Prorsum, Givenchy, Reed Krakoff, Isabel Marant, Rodarte, Trussardi.

Shop Local: Catherine’s and Revival.