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Fashion 101

Observer Scene | Sunday, September 21, 2003

The cold weather is approaching, the days are getting just a little bit shorter, our tank tops and flip flops are beginning to see their final days, and aside from the utter depression that we are beginning to feel because we realize that the South Bend winter is approaching us, we all begin to wonder: What should we expect for the upcoming fall fashion? Well, here’s a little preview.

Female FashionGirls, get ready for a blast from the past; not only are the 80s returning to haunt us, but the mod squad look is back as well. That’s right: Styles from both the 60s and the 80s will be hitting the racks again this fall. This means that the retro look is back, complete with the crocheted sweater vests, A-line or high-waisted dresses and the short school-girl minis that our moms wore years back. Cargo pants and parachute pants with a pump shoe are popular this fall, as well, creating a comfortable, yet funky style that can be manipulated with numerous different bright colors from our past. Classic animal prints are popular this fall, but keep in mind the term “classic” when putting together an outfit that involves our furry friends. Over-doing leopard prints can only lead to gaudy, so be careful when considering these styles. The idea is to enhance the look of luxury this season by dressing up with either leather, suede or fur. All three can be viewed as fun and unique, yet at the same time create an aura of lavishness by merely dressing them up.Another new gutsy trend being introduced this fall is modern metallic. Sequined skirts and beaded dresses add some flair to the commonly classic look, and with the incorporation of silvers and metallic, the outfit can transform into a bold and daring look. Black and white, although classic, are making a comeback in a huge way this fall. When in doubt, go to this combination because it never fails. Purple is the new color for the season, though, so if you are searching for a hint of color to add to your outfit, purple is the way to go.Corduroy jackets are finding their way back into our closets, as well. These styles can range from the classic waistcoat to the new, brighter-colored jackets. These fun new styles can be worn with jeans to create a casual yet hip look, and they allow for much more incorporation of color with a once very classic look. Add a pair of colored heels and contrasting jewelry, and you have an outfit to wear out on the town, as well.Keep in mind that shrunken coats are very popular this season, also. They help in keeping everything fitted. They can be worn with a mini-dress to make the outfit look at bit more flirtatious, or you can add a pair of skinny trousers to achieve a more professional appearance. The idea is to look like you have stepped out of a man’s closet, albeit with clothes that have substantially shrunk. Although menswear is huge this season, try to keep everything slimcut and delicate. Leather jackets and trench coats are popular again this fall. Leather jackets can range anywhere from the waist length to the knee, but keep them slim-fitting as well. Trench coats that hit just below the knee are popular once again, but keep them light, as you don’t want to look overwhelmed by the longer coat. As for the night life, well girls, get ready to show some leg once again, because minis are still filling the stores and will be for quite awhile. Looks like we are returning to prep school once again, with the short pleated skirt paired with either a button-down or an argyle sweater. Simple oversize buttons are also popular and enhance the school girl look by the strong presence of the buttons. If you are aiming for a more romantic look, try higher waists with ruffled tops. The flowing look of a higher waist enhances the level of elegance, and ruffles always increase the girlish factor of the outfit. Platform shoes are making their comeback this fall, as are stiletto heels. So girls – you can pretty much take your pick. Round toe pumps are softer-looking and a bit more versatile, while pointy-toed flats are highlighted this season with a straighter leg. Pointy pumps are popular, with a higher, skinny heel and fun colors. Oxford pumps accompany the school girl look, but they have been updated with stitching, tassels, buckles and stacked heels. Finally, high boots will be big this fall with a skinnier heel and a decorative zipper or buckle. As for accessories, wrist purses are also popular this season. They can be used for nighttime and daytime activities, as they are small and difficult to lose. Gator print purses are also popular. Although expensive, you can find knockoffs at reasonable prices nearly everywhere that trendy purses are sold. Finding the right purse to accompany an outfit can often add the final touch needed to complete the garb, so don’t forget to accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!

Male FashionAll right boys, listen up. Although the girls may be stealing your thunder a bit by adding menswear to their array of clothing choices, you still have multiple different styles to choose from this fall. Rid your closets of your baggy pants, boys, because girls are getting a bit tired of seeing your boxers hang out of the top. More fitted pants are popular this fall, as well as pants with a flat front. Even jeans are a bit more fitted than they have been in the past, and the vintage dirty jean is a popular wash for this season. Argyle is a popular print for the season, and matching the classic diamond shapes with a V-neck, round-neck or open-collar polo sweater makes for a very traditional yet attractive look. V-neck’s are the most popular styles this season, so if you think you can pull it off, knock yourself out.The 80s are coming back for you, too, boys, but try not to take it to an extreme. Combat pants and army prints are returning, as well as zippers galore and brighter colors.If the bright color thing isn’t your scene, the traditional fall colors are popular once again and are making their presence known with tweed, canvas or cord jackets. These jackets are waist-length jackets with plenty of pockets. Welder’s coats are also making their way into the fashion world, but not in their custom bright green. Look for these below-the-waist length coats in suede or twill traditional neutral colors. Stripes and fun patterns will be common on the button-down shirts, and boys, unless you somehow manage to find a hideous pattern, you really cannot go wrong here. When in doubt, boys, go with the traditional button-down with khakis or jeans. Corduroy blazers are a new, fun look for the fall, as well, but you will have to be a bit more fashion daring to pull this off. They are slowly making their way into the industry, so until then, be cautious. Ditch the worn-out running shoe, guys, and try to go for the trendier bowling shoe style. You do not need to go to Beacon Bowl and actually steal a pair, but Steve Madden, for example, has some very casual yet stylish tennis shoes that will give your outfits that needed little kick. Puma and Adidas shoes will flood the sidewalks with their retro, casual wear shoes, so stay on the lookout for any that may catch your eye. Keep in mind, however, that as long as it is warm enough to wear the conventional brown leather flip flop; these are always a quick fix to any shoe problems. The next time you go belt shopping, because it is such a common thing to do, consider more worn leather, along with a larger metal buckle instead of the more traditional style. These not only help with the whole sagging problem discussed earlier, but they also draw attention away from the ordinary jeans and focus more on the uniqueness of the added accessory. The new fall season brings many new fashions, but at the same time, do not be afraid to throw your own twist into the advice listed above. Individuality always completes an outfit, along with confidence, so use the following tips to find your own fashion sense. In the words of Coco Chanel, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”