Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered Fall Fashion Update 2012

September 7, 2012

I love autumn. Yes, I know I say this every year but I really, really do. And, this year I’m particularly excited for the transition because it was such a very hot summer. The cooler weather is such a wonderful relief. So, for those of you mourning the end of summer, let me share some fun fashion updates for the Fall that will bring a delicious smile of anticipation to your lips and sometimes an out loud guffaw at what they try to pass off as style! Thankfully there is more to celebrate than bemoan.

In case you are new to my seasonal fashion updates, I divide the various new trends into those that I find beautiful and bewitching, those that are bothersome on some level and the ones that are just downright bewildering. Are you with me? Let’s explore:


Colors: You know I’m all about color and fall is often my favorite season for color. I love the transition as we move from lighter, brighter colors to warm, deep, rich tones. So what’s up this season? Let me share the bewitching colors here and look for the bothersome ones below. Navy blue is making a well-deserved comeback. It works on many women as a great neutral and has been hugely neglected in the past few years. Add to that a deep forest green (also largely overlooked in recent autumn/winter seasons) and a deep (not bright!) red. Yay. These are colors that work on a lot of women, so if you look great in them, snap them up now. (Click here for shopping information)

Textures: The feel of fall is yummy. Not only in the colors but also in the textures. What is more soft and elegant than velvet, and they are promising lots of it as we get into the cooler months? Want something more casual? When the temperatures take a nosedive you can turn to chunky knits but in the meantime, open weave sweaters are hot. Think of them as the fall version of the summer macramé sweaters that were everywhere. Simply wear a long-sleeved fitted top underneath, and you’ll be cozy and fashionable.

Peplums: Yes, I know. I for the past few seasons I’ve been putting these in the bewitching category, and that is deliberate. If you don’t know what a peplum is, defines it as, “A short overskirt or ruffle attached at the waistline of a jacket, blouse, or dress.” These days, believe it or not, it even is used in reference to skirts that have a ruffle type attachment at the bottom.

Can everyone wear a peplum? Yes, technically with the right design everyone can wear one. Should you? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how the peplum is constructed. Some are so small you can barely see them. Others are huge and long and the defining design of the jacket. The fullness or sleekness will definitely affect the success of the peplum on a particular body shape but it is possible to find one that works. But, what’s equally as important is whether a peplum suits your personality. That’s a totally different discussion and only you can decide.

Of course, if it intrigues you I’d say try them and see (you’ll most likely have to try many to find one that’s a contender). You can always take it off and put it back on the rack – no harm done or money wasted.

Wide leg trousers: No, skinny pants have not disappeared. In fact, they are as hot as ever and even come in the deep tones of the season (which are kind of fun!). But, to balance out the latest obsession with their skinniness is the wide leg trouser. Yay! A great look on many women especially those who carry a little weight in their hips and thighs (sometimes a tad tricky for petite women – but not always).

Denim: As always denim is hot. The colored jeans are continuing but the colors are deeper and richer (actually, they are very beautiful). Yes, most of them are skinny but not all so you can still pick up a pair even if you aren’t a fan of the skinny style. Denim jackets are huge right now and even double-denim is popular but it has to be done with great panache (you generally want to pair two different denim washes together so it doesn’t look like a denim suit), or it will look dated. (Click here for shopping information)

Shoes: Boots are always popular in the colder weather and knee high boots are still going strong. Whether you prefer a high heel or flat riding boot style there’s something for everyone. They’ll be flooding into the stores soon. What else is popular? Color blocking on shoes and embellished heels are fun. Ankle straps are huge again which is great if you have long thin legs and ankles but if not, avoid them (you’ll also see ankle straps with low cut ankle boots – kind of interesting but definitely a trend so choose wisely), and probably one of the hottest new trends is the smoking loafer. It’s a nice change from, or alternative to, the ballet flat. It looks great with pants and is super comfortable, and it not only comes in basic neutral colors but in prints, textures and with sparkles! (Click here for shopping information)

Handbags: While there is a lot happening in handbags and many, many options (see: my take on this season’s handbag trends: the dome bag is big.

(Click here for more information)

Prints: Prints are huge again this season and we are seeing everything from fall florals to brocade (especially in pants) and the new optic prints are exploding. As always, choose wisely for your taste, body size, and coloring and be absolutely sure that one of your best, most flattering colors is the predominant color in whatever print you choose. There is no exception to that rule.

Trench Coats: After a wonderful run of fun trench coat options, the past season or so has been a little disappointing. This fall they are offering us a new option to spice things up a bit – the patent trench. It looks like it is made of slicker material and has lots of shine but the saving grace is that it comes in beautiful rich jewel tones in addition to black.

Accessories: Brooches are back, and they are beautiful. If you love them, pick up a few of your favorites and if you aren’t a brooch type of gal, there are plenty of other jewelry options to choose from to express your unique personality. One fun option is a bejeweled headband. Very fun and playful if that suits you, and it can even be worn (in fact, it’s very fashionable and trendy to do so) with short hair.


Color: Two very hot colors this season are mustard and gray. Okay, so I acknowledge that these colors are important to some women who look good in them but the ratio of these colors on the store racks to other more widely flattering colors is way skewed in the wrong direction! Mustard is one of THE hardest colors to wear well and light gray is dreadful on a huge number of women (charcoal fares better). Is this some kind of cosmic fashion joke? Please, unless you are absolutely positive that these colors look good on you, avoid them like the plague!

Coats: As we move into colder weather we are seeing a new trend for coats. Let me preface it by saying that I really loved the 80’s. I had big hair (I do big hair really well!) and loved the beautiful colored structured suits with shoulder pads that balanced my hips. I leaned toward the elegant side of the 80’s so when I see them bringing back the most questionable trends from that decade, I have to wonder. So, what we’re seeing now (and let me warn you that when we get a trickle of a trend one season within about 2 seasons we usually experience it as a full blown trend) is what they are calling the boyfriend coat. You know how the boyfriend jackets have been popular (they are longer and slightly oversized and are meant to look like you are wearing your boyfriend’s jacket)? Well, translate that into a coat and that’s what we’re seeing – oversized, shapeless coats. Please say it isn’t true!

Ripped Denim: So much is happening here as you saw in the bewitched category so why this fascination with ripped or distressed denim? Now it has expanded from pants to ripped jean jackets and shirts. Very few people can pull this off without looking messy (what a surprise!) so my advice is steer clear.

Contrasting Peter Pan Collar: No. It’s that simple. Youthful is one thing, infantilized is another. Leave it to the teens and super trendy fashionistas.


Matchstick Pants: These are everywhere just as they were in the spring. Designers and advertisers make them sound like the best thing since sliced bread but they aren’t. They are slightly fuller in the thighs so they won’t feel as constraining as skinny jeans (which can be good), but they are meant to end at the ankle. Because they are not generally as snug to the leg they tend to make your legs look infinitely shorter than long pants. If you have long thin legs this will work well but if not, hmmm, I’d pass them by.

Coated Denim: This is in this category only because the coating makes the pants shiny so they draw a lot of attention to the lower half of your body. Maybe good? Maybe not? Coated denim in a jacket is rather fun and a little more wearable.

Capes: They are beautiful. They are not practical – at least in the cold northeast of the U.S. If you don’t mind that you probably have about 5 days of the year when you can actually where it, then by all means get one. Otherwise, admire them in the stores, even try them on, but leave them hanging on the rack and buy something where your price per wear will be more in your favor.

So, there you have it — the fashion update for the coming season. Clothes are flooding into the store so start looking and see what you see that you like. Take this with you if you want to to inspire you and get your wardrobe moving in a really fun direction.

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