Clothes We Love for Fall 2012
Black & Gold
Why we love it: Achieving high-def depth with brocade, foil, leaf, sequins and embossed surfaces, black-and-gold alchemizes Renaissance, hippie, Asian, and modernist influences in spectacular ways.
How to wear it: Let gold dominate. It's more fun and flattering. Do not let any other color come out to play with these two. No jewelry except for gold earrings. Find one knockout garment that will take you through the holiday and beyond.
Why we love it: It is a sleek look in technologically innovative materials and has a sophistication that's derived from athletic gear, sci-fi and spring's minimalist bend.
How to wear it: Integrate just one modernist piece into the clean lines of your existing daywear and a basic outfit will appear as fresh as tomorrow.
Why we love it: Outwear deserves elevation and celebration as one of your most important style statements of the season. Here's your chance.
How to wear it: Such vibrant colors, sculptural cuts, or architectural collars are meant for those days when you want to sweep down the street as if you own it. A pair of neutral boots is all that's needed.
Why we love it: It's the only fall trend that indulges in sexiness. These dresses also flatter and slim most figures -- even when they fit close to the body -- because of the well-placed seams and graphic lines.
How to wear it: Find the sheer insets, curvy cuts, and sparkling geometric shapes that strategically glorify your body to make inches optically vanish. These clothes have little hanger appeal, so you must try them on. Play off extremes and forget about color.
Why we love it: Practical it's not, but the layering of parchment to oyster to cream looks so appealing and cozy, even more so long after the summer sun sets.
How to wear it: Don't try to match shades; enjoy the subtleties. Select rich fabrics with texture and plush. No white tights, and ignore questions that foolishly tie white to Labor Day. Enough already with that taboo!
Why we love it: Meet the working woman's alternative to the pencil. It's feminine but not girlish, structured yet flowy, and still it enhances every figure.
How to wear it: Embrace your true waist. A thin one can twirl any fullness, while curves benefit from more pliant fabrics, like silk or neoprene. Wide hips deserve pleats that start several inches below the waist. All should step out with platforms or ankle boots.
Why we love it: The hallmarks of sharp tailoring, a dash of androgyny, and the buttoned-up air of danger result in a formidable balance of eyes-right polish and unspoken tease that's hard to conquer.
How to wear it: Choose the most striking piece you desire, then soften its strict lines: Note the feminizing effect of Ferragamo's sensuous blouse or Altuzarra's top.
Why we love it: It's a favorite locale for Western designers with wanderlust, and the Asian-inspired motifs have a cinematic exuberance, projecting a riot of flowers.
How to wear it: With prints so deliberately overt, you are never far from going "costume." Set off the dress with unadorned extras and undone hair. If your accessories face the East, try a black sheath as a grounding center.
Why we love it: After several years of deftly pairing separates, fashion reframes its most pulled-together portrait: the matched suit. These two options share undeniable strengths.
How to wear it: The jacket is tailored with '40s exactitude -- shoulders high, waist nipped. (Belts are welcome. Traditional blouses need not apply.) Both skirt and pants are flared at the bottom. The desired impression is that you are in command, so heels and good posture and essential.
Why we love it: Sleeves are long, collars ride high. In fact, coverage is nearly total. So why does primness evoke such intriguing allure? Because a curvaceous silhouette in a pliantly elegant, deeply textured, or appliquéd fabric holds our attention while proving that withholding is powerfully stylish.
How to wear it: Though small buttoned collars appear young, and jewel- or boatnecks enhance the more mature, this demure attitude is appropriate for all, in clothes with strong shoulders, a defined waist, and below-the-knee hemlines. Bonus points for princess heels and long gloves to underscore its decorous demeanor.