Leather and lace

Embrace femininity with a masculine edge this fall

08/20/2012 12:00 AM

08/19/2012 12:26 PM

Even though we’re still wearing shorts and flip-flops, fall fashions are showing up in stores — which means it’s time to get familiar with what’s out there and get shopping before the things at the top of our lists are gone.

As the season’s trends go, expect the unexpected and embrace femininity.

“It’s going to be kind of women and femininity meet a little masculine edge. The style is all about feminized masculinity,” says Lauren Rapisand, media relations manager for Macy’s.

“It’s taking tradition and turning it on its ear. It’s taking traditional items and making things look new,” says Gregg Andrews, a Chicago-based fashion director for Nordstrom stores.

That means lace isn’t just for evening anymore; wear it to work.

Leather in black, brown is hot — including as trim on blazers, sweaters and jackets. But the newest look comes in the form of lightweight, light-colored leather jackets. Pinks and peachy tones are great for transitional pieces, Andrews says. “Leather isn’t that tough biker babe thing anymore,” he adds. “It’s luxury. It’s sophisticated.” And go ahead, pair it with lace.

This fall also means claiming menswear pieces as our own with fanciful, exaggerated plaids and colorful tweeds that are way more interesting and fun than anything you’ll find in a traditional men’s department. Oversize menswear-inspired watches — especially in metallic tones — are big, too.

Red is the newest neutral, according to Andrews. If you have your heart set on red shoes, try an opulent oxblood or burgundy.

You’ll never go wrong with knits, whether in the form of a long cardigan or a chunky cable pullover.

And the secret to looking slimmer just may be the peplum.

“Don’t necessarily think of this as a big ruffle that stands away from the body,” Andrews says. “It emphasizes the hips just a little bit. Any time you emphasize the hips, you make the waist look smaller. It’s giving you that very womanly silhouette without adding extra bulk.”

Look for dress styles that have seams — such as princess seams — and contours that make your waist look slimmer, giving you more of a va-va-voom figure.

You’ll also see fewer clunky platform shoes and more narrow heels.

“We really are returning back to the idea of pretty shoes. Shoes are starting to move back to looking less aggressive,” Andrews says.

So, what should top your list?

Andrews suggests going for leather in one of its new iterations.

Rapisand is eyeing dresses.

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