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Fall fashion with an edge

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Published Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, at 12 a.m.

The transition from bright summer hues to somber winter practicality tends to be the most favored fashion season of the year ... with good reason.

Fall is about comfort, but that doesn’t mean dowdy. You can still make a statement.

Fall clothing excels at being cozy and playful, but this season there’s an unmistakable toughness – a fashion trend that’s beaten girlishness into submission. Even lace screams to be paired with dark leather or waxed denim to lose its vulnerability.

Let’s be feminine, but not quite fragile. Some of the edgy elements are attributed to a punk revival that’s having a wide influence in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. But how do you mass market counter culture? Leather (and more affordably, faux leather) will continue asserting itself as a year-round fabric for shirts, skirts, leggings and a variety of embellishments.

At least for fall, leather makes sense. Temperatures have to be optimal to pull off warm-weather leather, but days filled with cool breezes but not yet bitter cold are a no-brainer.

Stock up on tights. Deepest darkest black should be a staple, but you should also have a few print varieties – notably monochrome lace, checks and plaid in rich hues of plum, purple and cranberry.

Menswear influences continue their trendy reign in items ranging from tuxedo stripes on skirts, skinny pants and even sweats to wingtip-style oxfords, ballet flats and heels.

Military meets motorcycle in cropped, slim-fit bomber jackets and moto jackets. And motorcycle details are running rampant on the knee and lower leg of skinny jeans.

This season’s selections will continue to showcase ethnic prints. Draped cardigans will range from Aztec to Scottish, and these should be worn liberally with skinny jeans and flouncy skirts alike.

Look for boots that are showstoppers. Tall boots should be extra tall and short boots should have details – prints, buckles, chain, color-blocking or shoelaces. But the details should be strategic not egregious. And the same advice goes for fall attire.

If you want to mix a leather motorcycle jacket with a tuxedo-striped skinny pant, combat boots and a chunky necklace, go for it, but make sure your individual items aren’t complicated. A military boot is one thing. A military boot with studs, a wingtip and a metallic heel is not.

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