A drawback to being an adult is we often never have a reason to go to shopping… except for weddings, special nights out, or for special purchases (although it’s been a dry summer in Chicago, I’m predicting heavy rain in the fall; prompting me to splurge on new Hunter wellies). Unfortunately, we don’t have “back to school” shopping. I’ll be honest, I miss it. Although, I never really need a reason to go shopping, a nudge like “back to school” always helps.
Fall 2012 colors and styles aren’t just for “back to school”. Fall is one of my favorite seasons for clothes. It’s, in my opinion, the best time of year to wear my favorite colors (orange, dark purple/aubergine, peacock teal and browns) and prints (herringbone, wools, tweeds and rugby/school stripes). What prep doesn’t love a good wool Schoolboy Blazer from JCrew or Rugby when it’s cold outside? And can we just discuss pullovers for football Saturdays? Love it!
Football and blazers aside (for now), I love to bring in any style (that’s not too outrageous) into my work wear. One of the hardest things I encountered when I entered the corporate world a few years ago was how to transition my college style to the workplace. Unless you work at Google or Groupon, very few offices would allow staff to get away with T-shirts, hats, sometimes jeans, and/or hoodies. I do find it hard to figure out which trends will work for me, which are appropriate for work and going out (Chicago has it’s own sense of style, after all) and this is my attempt to make sense of it all.
Now, end of summer/pre-fall, is a great time to buy the staples for the upcoming season and although the sale has begun and is over this weekend, I started at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Not only do I have an unhealthy obsession with Nordstrom of all the bigger designer stores (Bloomies, Saks, Barneys, etc), but it is the only store that puts “next season on sale now.” I’ve gotten timeless steals during this sale (think Burberry ruana for half off, Trina Turk dresses for a third of normal retail, and Michael Kors watches for $70 off).
Back to fall essentials (that you can find on sale now!)… Equestrian riding boots: No, these aren’t the boots you’re wearing to ride Shadow or Buttercup. These are the boots you’re dodging rain and snow puddles in (in absentia of your wellies) or wearing with your favorite cute tweed skirt or cable knit dress. I can’t get enough of boots in the winter and although it may seem impractical to have numerous pairs, I have at least 1 black, 1 dark brown and 1 cognac/tan pair in wearable condition… and if you’re in Chicago and need the name of a great “boot guy” pre- or post- winter, hit me up…My current favorite equestrian boots are the Tory Burch Calista Flat Riding Boot. Currently, if you can still snag them at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, do… in TB stores, they retail at $495 and at the sale, are $299.
Also on sale are some uber cute Tory flats. Also, a big fall trend I’m seeing is moccasins. I’ve seen cute pairs from Michael Kors and Sperry Top-Sider (photo to the left) to name a few. Super comfy, a little more casual than a pointy-toe flat, I see mocs making a huge splash this fall.
So enough about shoes (although I’ve found a ton of good deals lately) and more on the fall fashions. When I Google “Fall 2012 fashion,” I’m scared at what the search returns. Gothic revivals (and makeup… eep!), ripped denim (I think is only appropriate in summer or if you work for Abercrombie or Hollister), and Baroque/ornate… oh my, oh my. While I love a good pop of color or pattern in a pencil skirt, I couldn’t step out with all sorts of bits and bobs hanging from my clothes. Maybe I’m fashion backward and that’s why I’m not Rachel Zoe… but let’s be practical even when what we Google and see on the runways isn’t.
What Fall 2012 trends can we preps incorporate into our wardrobes? The staple-school girl style, for starters. Many of us did dress this way in college, so it’ll be an easier transition than our hippie counterparts who now must shower for the first time in 4 years… (if you know me, you know my disdain for “hipster” folk). While it may not be as school girl as Alicia Silverstone in Clueless or Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl, I love the school girl elements: Varsity jackets, rimmed glasses, cute wrapped ponytails/braids, Oxfords and cardigans, and tartan/plaid elements in skirts, headbands or other accessories (Tartan/plaids don’t have to be as severe as Charlotte York- McDougall’s all-plaid dress in Sex and the City.)
My favorite way to incorporate what is hip for the season is through colors. Every season, I refer to the Pantone color guides to see what’s in style color-wise. This fall, I especially love the honey gold color and have seen variations of this “yellow” all over. Banana Republic has cute dandelion crops and JCrew has this gold skirt I am dying to pick up. Pantone also lists “tangerine” to be one of the hot colors for Fall 2012. This color landed on the map months ago with Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, donned tangerine/coral straight-leg pants while playing field hockey. I definitely look to the Duchess for nods at key colors and styles (although I may can peplum… unlike K-Mid, this gal’s got hips!) Along with these shades of gold/orange, big colors are purples and teals and these are easily incorporated in scarves, bags, shoes and sweaters/sweater dresses. Items like trenches, capes/capelets and fun knit ‘hose or stockings will always be on-point and are a fun way to add a little playful pop to your fall wardrobe. I also so love all the burgundy that’s around, especially in denim, pants and cords (like these Bordeaux Tommy’s to the right).
I’d be remiss to not at least touch on fall trends and colors for the gents. When I think of fall colors for men, I think of golds, navy blues and crimsons… a throw-back to our collegiate colors. For as long as you can pull it off, I propone the varsity look (photo, right). I also think of mixed prints (tweeds, stripes and herringbone) with your staples of navy blazers, three-piece suits and dress shirts.
So there it is: the Prep in Chicago’s primer in what to wear this fall. Comprehensive? No. Subjective? Yes. After all, when it’s all said and done, no matter what the trend “is” at any moment, we preps have a certain style that has continuously outlasted most others. Many girls plastered their bedroom walls with pictures of “Preppy” Zach Morris from Saved By the Bell growing up (okay… confession, I did, at least). Have you ever wondered why that is? Why has our tweed, plaid, and classic style become a mainstay in ‘Merica, when the world around us is vastly changing?
It’s classic. It lives and breathes “America”; that dream we all grow-up with and strive daily to achieve. It’s prep…