Work fall’s big fashion trends into your wardrobe

Washington PostOctober 2, 2013 

Oversize coats, gray hues, cobalt accents, chunky sweaters and leather everything defined the runways of the fall/winter 2013 ready-to-wear shows last spring. As the weather cools, Jennifer Barger, fashion editor for Fashion Washington and Express; Paige Speyer, of Wink boutique in Washington, and Lauren Rothman, of Styleauteur.com and author of “Style Bible” (October 2013), give their advice for wearing fall’s must-have items.

• Monochromatic neutrals, especially in shades of gray, were a frequent sight on runways in New York in February. Barger suggests pairing multiple shades. “The key to doing gray without looking dour is to layer in different tones ... inky, steely, pale. And a pop of color,” such as yellow or purple, Barger said, “can spark things up.” Rothman says gray hues such as those seen at Jason Wu’s fall 2013 show are an extension of a trend of menswear for woman: “The new suit is the coordinated skirt set, the skirt with the matching sweater or jacket. It’s not necessarily a suit but head to toe is a monochromatic color.”

• In addition to the sweater-and-skirt “new suit” trend, another big trend for fall is shades of greens and emeralds. Rothman suggests jacquard pants and jackets for a take on the classic menswear look.

• If a houndstooth coat, such as the bold patterns from Michael Kors’ fall 2013 collection, seems too overwhelming, Rothman suggests a houndstooth accessory such as a purse or large scarf.

• Oversize coats were also a big trend at runway shows, including J. Mendel. But not everyone can wear such a large garment, Rothman says. “That oversized coat that was very cocoonlike (and) doesn’t play so well in everyday life,” she says. “I’d really rather go with a statement coat that will turn heads, whether that has a really big collar, it’s belted, or maybe you choose to go loud with a great pattern, maybe a plaid color blocking or leather details.”

• Speyer says she has also been stocking a lot of chunky sweaters, including varieties by Tibi, similar to the ones shown in the designer’s fall 2013 show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. Speyer also loves Mara Hoffman sweaters for fall, including a leopard-print pullover similar to the prints seen on the runway during the designer’s fall show. Barger recommends pairing a big cardigan or pullover over breezy dresses or straight pants.

“Chunky knits look fresh layered with lighter florals,” Barger says. Or try a graphic print, like the looks from Tibi’s fall 2013 runway.

• Cobalt is another fresh color for fall, Rothman says, like the shade seen on dresses from J. Mendel. Rothman says she often urges clients to incorporate trends with accessories instead of entire outfits, such as the cobalt shoes and bags.

• “Leather is everywhere, but what I am loving is hybrids ... a coat with leather sleeves, a skirt with leather panels,” Barger says. “It tends to be cheaper and a bit less biker chick.” Adds Rothman: “I think it is one of the ‘it’ accessories. It’s very luxurious, and quilting especially is very luxurious. It gives that nod to Chanel.”

Band of Outsiders similarly showed a lot of leather items during its fall 2013 show. “We’re getting a lot of leather, a lot of coated denim, leather-ette,” says Wink boutique’s Paige Speyer. “Leather tops, leather accents, in details on sweaters, skirts, leather trim on dresses – it’s everywhere.”

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