Fall shopping can be exhilarating. New fashion trends, new styles, new colors. This year's scene stealers are a mesmerizing mix of repeat performers like fur, the military movement and metallics. But there are also some new kids on the block, like plaids and the ultimate '80s. And layering is back but in a non-grunge kind of way. Clearly it's not affordable to go for every item the magazines have declared as must-haves, so we've narrowed down the newest and latest to the top five fall fashion trends for 2006.
It's a Plaid, Plaid World
The fashion world is mad about plaid for the fall season. Normally reserved for private school uniforms and lumberjacks, this Celtic print has a grown-up flair for fall. In fact, many of the big designers even showed it in the form of elegant eveningwear and chic capes on the runway. How can you wear it? How can't you wear it is more like it. The old-school rules of wearing one pattern at a time don't apply anymore -- you can, but you don't have to. Pairing patterns, like animal prints, plaids, tattersalls, paisleys and checks, is now considered modern and edgy. Can you go overboard? Sure. Make sure the colors in the prints go together, accessorize with colors that are in the pattern you're wearing and lastly, try to keep one print larger than the other so they aren't both bold. Other than that, have fun!
All Things '80s
The fabulous '80s are staging a comeback for fall 2006. Especially in the form of leggings, booties and off-the-shoulder sweaters. For those of us who are, ahem, young enough to remember this glitzy era, our first initial reaction is to cringe. Visions of Madonna and Jennifer Beals appear dancing and grinding before our eyes. But this time around, it's more than a passing teenager trend. This time, it plays into the modern layering trend that is making its mark in the fashion world. Key looks include, well, absolutely anything you can think of over leggings. To narrow it down a bit, we mean belted sweater dresses, off-the-shoulder tops, miniskirts and animal print jackets to name a few. All accessorized with look-at-me accoutrements like studded clutches, booties, gold jewelry, wide cuffs and gloves with grommets. Chances are, more women than not will try incorporating at least a hint of this look into their fall ensembles. Will you be one of them?
Giddyup into the fall fashion season with some equestrian-inspired classics. And it's not just the obvious form-fitting jodhpurs that we're talking about. Horsy bits such as chain-link prints on bags and tops, riding boots, tweedy trousers and houndstooth vests are all in the style saddle this year. Pair a tie-front top with a buckle-front cropped jacket or wear your must-have leggings with riding boots and a suede car coat. And have we mentioned capes? They are the essential toppers of the season whether you sport them with a full on equestrian ensemble or belted with ladylike skirts and heels. It's up to you how which pieces you'll purchase. But no matter what you choose, they'll add horsepower to your wardrobe.
Pump Up the Volume
Fall fashion is all over the place this season when it comes to silhouettes. On one hand, skinny styles rule, with leggings topping the must-have list. But on the other cashmere-gloved hand, trapeze dresses, bubble skirts and voluminous toppers have emerged as strong points as well. But how do you pull these looks off without looking like a cartoon character gone wild? Proportion control. The key to making these trends work is knowing how to supersize on top while keeping the bottom streamlined or vice versa. Pair a fitted knit with a large ball skirt or an airy cocoon coat with leggings. Can you wear full leg pants with a fitted waist and a short swingy jacket? Absolutely -- if it looks good on your particular body. Play with volume and see what looks best on your figure by covering up one part of your body with billowing shapes while accentuating another with fitted forms. Isn't that what dressing to look your best is all about?
Lady in Red
Each new season brings with a must-have color of the moment. This fall it's red. This uplifting hue first made a blip on the "fadar" (fashion radar -- and yes, we made that up) for spring but it has evolved into the color du jour for this season. The little red dress has replaced the little white dress which replaced the little black dress last year. Got that? But don't reserve this crimson color for evening. Reds can stop traffic during the day as well. Add accent to otherwise dull greys with scarlet slingbacks, clutches and belts or pair a red skirt with a graphic black and white jacket. Give your leggings a break for the day and pair your colorful clothing with dark hose. We think this color has longevity so don't worry about falling into the trend trap by stocking up on hot items that won't do next year.