Country stylin’ is back, and not just for country girls. Michael Kors is bringing back the classy, All-American schoolgirl charm with feminine tweed suits and plaid knee-length skirts and dresses. The ideal simple look: country-inspired angora and woolen sweaters from French Connection and H&M paired with skinny jeans and tall leather boots. Add a tailored jacket (inspired by this season’s Ralph Lauren collection) and you create the timeless equestrian look.
Ruffled blouses are giving softness an edge with concealing, layering and flattering sharp collars that elongate the neck. This look is easily found (and economically feasible) at the ultra-feminine Forever 21, Urban Outfitters or any European-inspired fashion store.
What to avoid? Over-the-top frill and tacky synthetics. It’s time to trade in the summery flowery dresses for winter garden inspired floral prints on fuller skirts. Ladies, pack away the summery miniskirts and deck the closet with the flowing, mid-calf to floor length skirts that have been dominating Marc Jacobs and Erin Fetherson’s runway looks. A little Greta Garbo mystique with flowing gowns and long lines can add some class during cooler days along with sophistication for evening events. If the hippies’ flowing style is for you, do try to avoid the baggy layering of floral prints and Miley Cyrus-inspired forehead-crossing headbands.
Prefer pants? Instead of skinny jeans or the outdated flare, try a boot-cut or classy straight pants that can elongate your figure. For those of you that are more daring, trust Giorgio Armani’s new cuffed pants that give the tall and slim some extra curves and narrow down at the ankle. For the best arrangements, combine opposing forces — a fitted top with looser pants, or a flowing top with fitted pants in order to avoid hiding the frame with too much bagginess or over-accentuating unflattering areas.
To match the ladies, menswear emphasizes blazers and coats of tweeds, leather and textured knits with some 1950s inspiration. Heavy, chunky cardigans were featured in DKNY’s collection along with bold blazers and an overcompensation of contrasting reds. Adding red to neutral colors is a sure way to embolden the look with cardigans, vests, ties or scarves for the chilliest of days.
For the transition between summer and fall, Urban Outfitters is picking up on Ralph Lauren’s push for rugby shirts, but with an even stronger emphasis on plaid (for the traditional plaid look, check out Urban Outfitter’s collection). However be careful to avoid patterns that create a lumberjack look.
In the jeans department, DKNY’s Fall and Winter 2008 collection cannot emphasize dark denim enough. This season, trousers and jeans are slimming, but not at the Jonas Brothers-suffocatingly-tight-jeans level. Pair your jeans with a sleeveless sweater vest to look business casual or impressively fashionable on campus. Nautica and Lacoste collections have this season’s men wearing subdued basic colors with a focus on texture and clean-cut lines—preppy, without the negative connotation.
Another fall essential is a unique leather jacket, exemplified in DKNY’s (yet again) all-encompassing fall collection. Avoid the plastic-y, polished leather or a right-off-the-Harley look and opt for an old fashioned flap-pocket, rustic look for some more class. For the vintage Harvard-scholar look, try an Ivy or Newsboy cap. Finally, just for some sass, get yourself a fedora for an evening out; besides, it’s all over Facebook profile pictures.
Whether you’re into the country style or preppy sophistication, DKNY will leave you with the freedom to boldly and fashionably accessorize with this season’s subdued colors.