If the styles on the runways shown during the recent New York Fashion Week spring collections seemed a blur of psychedelic prints, sheer gauzy fabrics and bizarre patterns, take a deep breath and look at the big picture.
Trends in colors, shapes and fabrics will start to appear if you look at some of fashion world’s biggest names.
And, although we’re just entering the fall season, experts recommend taking a cue from the upcoming spring styles as you shop for cooler-weather clothes now.
“There are some great fall fashion trends that will have legs into spring 2014,” says Red Godfrey, vice president of the Nordstrom Fashion Office. “New fabrications and colors for the motorcycle jacket are cleaned up and versatile for both dressy and casual occasions.”
Keep the classics in mind when shopping for winter, Godfrey says.
“A clean-lined clutch bag is a new chic option that will work right into spring, and duo-tone shoes make a great fall statement that will remain relevant into the new season as well,” he says.
Laura McDowell, spokeswoman for T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, says the key themes coming out of spring Fashion Week are black-and-white styles; flowing, feminine clothing; sparkle; bright colors; and sporty trends.
As the buyers for T.J. Maxx and Marshalls look for fashions throughout the next few months, they'll be looking for the hues and styles that top designers showed off on the latest runways.
“We’re hearing a lot about different shades of blue,” McDowell says. “Navy or ink blue is a key color for fall looking toward spring. The shade will get lighter, but deeper versions are available now.”
Other styles to look for include sporty crew-neck sweaters, cocoon style tops, clothing with leather trim, and moto styles – studded or plain. And those skinny jeans? They aren’t going anywhere.
“Flat-front with a side or front zip looks great with the boots and bootie trends for fall,” she says.
That doesn’t mean you should reach for the low-rise skinny jeans, however, says Bridgette Raes, president of the Bridgette Raes Style Group and author of “Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want” ( www.bridgetteraes.com).
“The rises of jeans have been going up and we’re seeing the waist more emphasized now than in past seasons,” she says. “Belting is important and a great way to update shapeless items you may still have hanging in the closet.”
Like McDowell, Raes says feminine styles have taken center stage.
“Everyone is talking about the resurgence of Dior’s ‘New Look.’ Being more ladylike, feminine and polished is back as a trend,” she adds, noting the mid-length skirt and plaid are in, as well.
Raes has a few predictions about trends that are on their way out, and clothing to think twice about purchasing.
“Even though the waist is back, I seriously wonder about the longevity of the peplum,” she says. “Most women find it hard to wear and few look good in them.”
Stud embellishments are also overdone, she says, and while the trend may last a bit longer, she expects it will fade soon. Heel-less shoes “had the lifespan of a fruit fly,” and neon should be used sparingly until spring, she says. “And unless you’re under 25, heeled sneaker wedges are probably not something to invest in.”
Here are a handful of choice items that are worth investing in:
• MSGM Optical Wave, ($260, Nordstrom.com). Who says sweatshirts have to be sloppy? “The new, dressed-up sweatshirts are a modern addition to any wardrobe,” Godfrey says. Stay warm in this wool-blend shirt, with finely layered lines.
• Pleated Chiffon Dress ($179.99, TJMaxx.com). Flowing, feminine clothes are back in style.
• Black & White Dress ($29.99, Marshallsonline.com). There’s nothing stark about this classic dress, which moves from office to after-work drinks in a snap.
• Mossimo Black Long-Sleeve Blouse and Black Skirt in Turquoise (blouse, $22.99 and skirt, $22.99, target.com). This classic outfit from Target touches on the floral prints and flowing fabrics that will be in style from autumn through spring.
• Bright Green Blazer ($49.99, MarshallsOnline.com). One bright accent piece will make a wardrobe a hit.
• Rebecca Taylor Leather & Wool Vest, ($695, Nordsrom.com). The rich color of this seamed vest will add contrast to this wardrobe essential, which spans the seasons.
• Tan Moto Jacket ($39.99, MarshallsOnline.com). You don’t need a Harley to look cool in this inexpensive find from Marshalls.
• Halogen Lizard Patent Leather, ($88, Nordstrom.com). Simple and elegant describes this glossy patent envelope clutch, which features intricate embossing, magnetic-snap flap and an optional shoulder strap. With seven colors to choose from, you'll be able to find a match for any outfit.
• Merona Long-Sleeve Button-Down Shirt, Mossimo Supply Co. Sweatshirt in Blue and Merona Pencil Skirt in Blue Floral Print (shirt $22.99, sweatshirt $19.99, skirt $22.99, target.com). Dress up this not-so-humble bright blue sweatshirt with a feminine shirt and skirt.
• Vince Camutot Akido, ($117, Nordstrom.com). Two-tone styling updates a chic T-strap suede pump set on a slender 4 1 / 2 inch heel.
• Cobalt Blue Bag, ($149.99, MarshallsOnline.com). It’s a snap to add a trendy color into your wardrobe with a small touch.
• French Connection Oversize, ($68, Nordstrom.com). Step out in style with this optic-effect weave zip clutch, made from faux leather.