Autumn has an inner animal — and it’s boldly showing off its spots and stripes at clothing retailers this fashion season.
Faux fur and animal prints, along with plaid, are this fall’s popular patterns, Sandra Markus, assistant professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, told the Queens Chronicle. Those are coupled with a movement toward softer colors — the earthy, green-inspired tones of last fall are giving way to gem-inspired pinks and purples. Denim remains a timeless favorite, Markus said, but the economy is prompting a big shift in cut and material.
“It was much more of an explosion of head-to-toe denim last year,” Markus said.
People shelled out hundreds of dollars for designer jeans, but this fall’s shopper is looking for less-expensive, more-versatile work or play pieces.
So what’s in store this season? Markus said “jeggings” are fall’s must-have. Jeggins look like jeans, but are super skinny and hug the legs like tights. Jeggings, she said, are capturing the market of super-skinny designer jeans at a fraction of the cost.
A lot of this season’s favorites reflect this pragmatic, economizing aesthetic. The hottest pieces are multifunctional. They can be dressed up or down, helping to build a wardrobe without breaking the bank.
J. Crew’s autumn looks includes military-inspired outerwear — think heavy wool jackets and riding hats — with feminine splashes. Browns and olives are punctuated with pink hues. Many pieces in the fall collection speak of a summer camp motif, like lace-up leather boots with tassels and knit capes. Sparkly and patterned accents also abound, giving the collection a street or office flexibility.
Like J. Crew, Banana Republic is offering key pieces that are office or outing ready, like Oxford-cut white shirts and trench coats. These looks are especially great for those who recently graduated from high school or college, and need to build a wardrobe but might not have a job or enough money to buy a lot of items.
And at H&M, the clothier’s design staff opted for these gentler and more practical touches. Fall is still going steady with spring’s boyfriend blazer, and preppy classics like cable-knit sweaters, stylist Ann-Sofie Johansson told reporters.
The defined lines of suits and blazers are softened with crisp tailoring and feminine touches like ruffles.
The ranks of H&M’s men’s clothes have been recruited by the Army aesthetic, too. Tweed and military-cut coats give a T-shirt-and-jeans combo a more subdued vibe, and can be played up as a dressed-down suit, Johansson said.
Again, outerwear is the strongest characteristic of H&M’s menswear this season, especially Army jackets and heavy tweeds, Andreas Lowenstam, menswear designer at H&M, told reporters.
Rough staples are broken up with lighter accessories, like flat caps and scarves, he said. Classics are kept hip with unique approaches to wear, such as trousers tucked in boots. And the simple, earth-and-flesh toned colors in this year’s men’s collection keep their dimension by being played against texture. Layering is still big with menswear.
At Macy’s, masculine and feminine are juxtaposed, giving the fall juniors collection key traits: heavy, defined layering mixed with soft colors.
Androgynous blazers paired with purple and ochre with frilly feminine items are particularly popular.
Also new at Macy’s: The Material Girl collection, a line that’s the brainchild of Madonna and daughter Lola. Pieces in Material Girl cost under $50. Some of those include over-sized boyfriend shirts, leggings and pencil skirts and dresses with floral patterns.
And, in a throwback to Madonna’s own “Material Girl” days, corset-waist tops and tulle skirts are heavy in the line.
Even junior-oriented Material Girl goes along with a retro, TV-inspired trend this season.
Fitted bodices that show off the feminine figure without being overly revealing, a la “Mad Men,” are sought after, and can also be seen at French Connection, said Aneta Denova, accessory design assistant professor at Parsons.
Denova, who runs the fashion blog BobbinTalk.com, said this throwback approach is particularly strong, with the recession-inspired “urban warrior” look taking over women’s clothing.
Look for utilitarian, workwear-oriented, hard silhouettes and metal accessories at stores like Zara and Club Monaco.