The department stores are beginning to stock their floors with the latest fall fashions and trends. Do you ever go shopping for a few new items to modernize your look and come home empty handed, feeling overwhelmed? Every professional woman needs to understand how to look at the newest trends, and decide what they want to incorporate in order to look contemporary and age appropriate. When you update your look to include a few modern styles, it conveys to the working world that you care about your image, stay abreast of fashion and want to look powerful, but chic.
For years, as a Store Manager for Macy’s, I used to see women come into the store and aimlessly become frustrated and confused, looking for a few fun pieces and not knowing where to spend their hard-earned dollars. In this article I will share with you my twelve “must-have’s,” which will help you remain focused and budget-conscious while shopping to pick up a few trendy pieces to update your closet basics. Get ready! Here’s my personal trend shopping list for every woman who wants a classic-stylish look for fall.
1). Suits: Retro-Style
This season we are seeing a return of the retro power suit. If you need a new suit this fall for work or dress, look for a skirted suit or a pantsuit with a straight and narrow look, a timeless style. The season’s new fabrics will be woolen tweeds, leopard prints and boiled-knits. You will also find more detailing on jackets like military-inspired epaulets. If you are shopping for an evening suit, menswear styles for women return this season with tuxedo suits perfect for any black tie affair.
2). Dresses: Every Woman Needs One
The dress returns and goes beyond last season’s big sheath and shift trend. This fall the designers are creating flourishing floral prints, frilly silhouettes, tailored sheaths, hourglass silhouettes, ladylike shirtdresses, and flirty Bohemian styles. For evening dresses, sophisticated elegance is seen in feminine lace cocktail designs, vibrant-colored velvets replacing the dark colors of last winter, and sweeping silk gowns in gold taffeta. Want to look slimmer? Dresses in any style are key items for every woman, designed to show her shapely legs, a smaller area of the body – creating a slimmer silhouette. Every modern woman should own a few dresses for work and play.
3). Skirts: Slim or Full
This season we see full, flirty skirts, which will be the latest trend. These will be in A-line or dirndl styles, in graphic prints, lace, floral, metallic or solids with great detailing. These fuller skirts look best on everyone when they are hemmed to hit you at mid-knee. With a fuller skirt it is key to balance the proportion with a more fitted top. These skirts can transition to a business casual day at the office when you pair them with a placket-front blouse or a classic twin set. Pencil and straight skirts continue to reign this season for that classic-elegant look. From all my years in the retail fashion and image consulting business, I haven’t found a woman yet who doesn’t look great in one of these four skirt styles. Try on a few styles and see which ones look best on you.
4). The Modern Classic White Shirt
I’m so delighted that this trend continues as I coach my clients that this is the one item that every woman needs on her wardrobe essential list. This season look for an updated style. It can have ruffles for a feminine look, three-quarter lantern sleeves for a more dramatic look, princess seams running through the silhouette creating a slimming look, or an updated shirttail that you choose to let hang over your pants for a more modern twist on an old classic item. I love my white shirts and I own several of them. I wear my new updated styles with jeans on a fall day, with my black suit for a more powerful look, or with suede or corduroy pants for that country chic style. If you find a few styles you like, stock up on these great basics to round out your wardrobe.
5). Feminine & Sexy Blouses
Ultra feminine and girly blouses continue to come in exquisite fabrics with frills, ruffles or pintucks. Reinvented lace blouses are the chicest, sexiest items to own for fall. The lace top has a sexy hint of peek-a-boo to add a bit of drama to any ensemble. Everyone needs a few of these great dressy blouses when a dressier style is needed for an event. Pair these blouses with black pants or a neutral-toned pencil/straight skirt for an elegant and sophisticated, yet feminine look. These new tops are great to wear on date night coordinated with a pair of indigo premium denim pants and dressy sandals or stilettos.
6). Pants: Slim to The New Wider Leg
Depending on your shape, this season you have a lot of choices. Slim leg styles continue and are best when worn with floaty-style tops. The tailored straight leg trouser is a great classic style that everyone can wear – but be daring and try one in a new menswear pinstripe or updated tweed. The new wider leg trouser is the hot item in pants this season. Last season we saw the barely wide leg and now it goes more dramatic. This wider-leg version looks perfect on a woman with an inverted triangle shape or boyish hips.
7). Chic Coats
Every woman I know needs at least one statement coat in her closet. It doesn’t have to be a heavy wool coat if you live out west or in the south; it could be a trench coat or a lightweight wool style. Coats also keep you stylish when you are out in the rain or snow. Look for a fun, statement coat like an updated trench coat with a military influence, the new oval silhouette, the quilted coat, a leather biker style, a pea coat, a cape, or a coat with an exaggerated architectural collar. There are some great new modern styles this year to layer up and keep you toasty warm no matter where you live.
8). Stylish Sweaters
Cardigans remain strong this year and I personally love them for great layering. Have you ever noticed that something magical happens when you add a great cardigan sweater over a typical pair of dress trousers or jeans with a tailored blouse? Instantly you look more polished and professional. I think these are a great alternative to jackets in a business casual work environment or on casual Fridays. This season you will see the cardigan in chunky knits, layered with a belt. Cabled sweaters will also be big this fall. Dressier sweaters will be embellished with crystal beads, and metallic threads for a more luxurious feel. Look for some great colors, and add something really comfortable and cozy to your wardrobe.
9). Statement Jewelry
This season jewelry is bold and elegant. Shop for crystal cuffs, architectural-shaped necklaces, large retro hoop earrings, and multi-strand necklaces of beads or pearls. If you aren’t comfortable wearing the large artsy modern necklaces, and you have a more conservative style, add a pair of small wide hoop earrings or long multiple strands of pearls, like Coco Channel, to your collection.
10). Newest, Hottest, Latest Shoes & Boots
Do you have a shoe fetish? Well, this season you can have your pick of all types of shoes from flats to sky-high heels. The hot trends are contrast-toe tips, cone and/or banana heels, wide straps, and perforation detailing. In boots, ankle boots return with updated buckles and zippers, which give them an alluring feel. These are great to wear with work trousers, or if you are young, wear them with colored tights under dresses and skirts. High heel pumps and stilettos are still timeless classics for those dressier occasions. If you’re a bit more dramatic, you can express your style with some edgier options with architectural accents like cutouts and trendy heels. The flat continues to be a basic to be worn with jeans.
11). The It-Bag
Medium-sized bags are the newest trend in handbags this season. Shop for the latest styles like a boho-style bag with suede and fringe detailing, a classic clutch, or go for that country casual feel with a satchel made out of alligator or suede. The newest style for fall is the top frame bag which is a structured handbag made out of crocodile leather with a short handle. It’s a great new item to add to your essentials because it is a classic, tailored bag.
12). Accent Pieces
Belts and scarves are great accent pieces that can give your outfits a lot of style. This season belts are both narrow and wide. Use one to help you create the hint of a waistline, unless you have a prominent tummy area. If you do not have a waistline, don’t emphasize it. If you are curvy or triangle-shaped, use this belt as an accent to show off your curves. Short, graphic scarves return this season. Use beautiful scarves to add some color up by your face and divert the to give attention upward and away from your problem areas.
Keeping up with trends and incorporating them into your seasonal wardrobe is fun, once you understand what they are. Oftentimes, when clients feel they look dowdy or matronly, it’s because they are not incorporating a few modern touches into their ensembles. If you are on a budget for fall, find three or four of these “must-have’s” and let them work to create an updated, stylish look for your business wardrobe.