Nancy Taylor Farel - Color Style Consultant 303.499.0956


2014 Fall Fashion Brief

Are you in the mood?  For wardrobe changeover since it is that summer-to-fall time of year…  Fashion headlines are bombarding us about the timeliness and necessity of doing so.  In preparation and for inspiration, have you thumbed through the hard-to-lift fall issue fashion magazines?  It truly seems editors and publishers, as in immediate season's past, seem less in the business of editing and presenting the best the fashion industry has to offer us.  Rather the sole focus seems to be 'out-paging' each other.  Bazaar – 642 pages, Elle – 202 pages, InStyle – 708 pages, Vogue – 856 pages, to name a few.  That is a lot of fashion!  Rather than making us giddily gleeful with Fall fashion possibilities, most feature an obvious preponderance of page-after-page advertising!  What happened to the fashion editor's role of previewing the runways and then featuring witty, wonderful, illustrative stories about various lines/designers, as well as their differences or similarities?  Add to that color stories for the upcoming season?  Disappointing too, isn't it, not to have more comparative, concrete new-season information aimed at the ready-to-wear buyer?  Few of us, as part of the buying public, are couture customers.  Of course, we like to see what is happening on the runways but not to the extent of ignoring 'real clothes' that the vast majority of us are likely to buy.  Sure, we will look over the new couture offerings and probably laugh at some, like and long for others, be inspired, too.  However, in all likelihood, what we buy will be chosen and purchased only if it adds value to our current wardrobe inventory.  And, most of all, only if in colors that help us look our best.  We are targeted, discriminating buyers.  No apologies are necessary for that.  There are a lot of us, likely the majority of the buying public.  So as you look at those 2408 pages mentioned above, recognize trends and style direction.  Then explore how you can best interpret and incorporate them for yourself in a color range most flattering to you.  That keeps you 'current' and 'fresh-looking' on your own terms.  Marylou Luther's Fall/Winter 2014/2015 RTW Collections Trend Overview concludes "The global-ness and seasonless-ness of the clothes and accessories for Fall/Winter 2014/2015, whereby one woman's winter is another woman's summer and one woman's dollar is another woman's cent, accounts for the fashion diversity ahead."  This is both an encouraging and welcoming assessment of what we should be able to find in stores!

Color direction is often the most obvious harbinger of a new fashion season.  Great news!  Fall Winter 2014 hue range is HUGE!  There is a welcome absence of a single color story.  Logically, more choices allow you to find and choose what is best for you.  Note a lot of gray in endless variations.  So if you wear it well, buy, buy, buy while it is available (which is not usual in fall-time.)  Would you ever have guessed it?  Pastels are also present along with more typically earthy and natural fall-foliage hues.  Do you like the opposite?  Intense, bright, acidic hues can be found, too, perfect for power-popping neutrals.  Jewel tones … sapphires, emeralds, teals, purples and particularly reds, add richness and drama to this season's hue mix.  Of course, black is back as a designer wardrobe staple.  And, surprisingly, white continues right through fall (maybe for the first time ever!)  Truly, if ready-to-wear follows runway trends, Fall 2014 promises to be a broadly colorful wardrobe and accessory season.  The hue diversity we find lies in the hands of buyers rather than the more usual designer/manufacturer dictates.  Who will buy what remains to be seen …

Bazaar's Ten Key Pieces tagged as "essential wardrobe elements that will open doors this fall" are 1) spellbinding outerwear  2) shearlings  3) mega-knits [oversized, all-enveloping sweaters covering the head-to-ankles knitwear]  4) gray as a neutral  5) scarves, particularly those in knee-grazing length  6) the slim but not body-tight pant  7) fall boots to replace the prevalence of stilettos  8) the demure, double flap bag in white at Hermes  9) rings … big, colorful, multi-finger versions and 10) earrings both large and solo. 

Marylou Luther's Trend Overview highlights The Coat, Outerwear, Shearling, Fur, Leather, Knits, Turtlenecks, Comfort, Prints, Plaids, Intarsia, The Shopping Bag, The Bucket Bag, The Sneaker-Cum-Running Shoe, The Bootie.  By reviewing these lists, it seems practical, useful, (and, as Marylou concludes) an "all-in-the-mix mindset in prevails."  "Real clothes, wearable options, practical fabrics, useful and useable accessories, keep-warm styling" seem a refreshing and practical fulfillment of fashion suiting us as wearers.  Now, fingers must be crossed for retailers to hope and buy it!

InStyle urges us to Start Trending NOW!  Turtlenecks … good-bye plain merino crewnecks; hello chunky turtlenecks, from boxy and cropped to lean and long.  Further suggested … wearing light layers underneath.  Team big knits with a trim leg like skinny jeans or dark slacks plus a low kitten heel or loafer.  Winter Pastels … sophisticated and truly feminine, these pretty hues are unexpected when it's 25 degrees outside.  For the most elegant vibe, combine with pale gray, camel or winter white (NTF note: only if your personal coloring is on the light side of the spectrum!)  Neutral plaids… softer and less graphic, this season more English Gentry than grunge rocker.  Wrap Coats … simple robe-like design, unstructured silhouette starring your waist.  Mix it up by adding your own! The taller you are, the longer you can go.  And, you don't need to stick with the belt that came with the coat.  Wide-Leg Pants … billowy and pajama-like, long trousers.  Ultra high-waist styles give the illusion of length.  Choose shoes with heft, such as chunky heels, to match the volume on the bottom.  Midiskirts … whether two-toned, A-line or a high-sheen pencil, the midi's ideal length is from below the knee to midcalf.  Shearling Jackets … Biker, bomber and utility jackets need to balance out the bulk with lighter, more feminine pieces underneath.  Or consider menswear-type separates.  Jewel-toned Leather … Whether real or faux, pencil skirts are everywhere but surprisingly in ways such as a fringe gown and quilted sleeve moto.  "Colored leather is easiest to pull off in small doses," says Joseph Cassell.

In other words, style preference is in the eye of the buyer whether you prefer classic or exaggerated, statement pieces or traditional, there is no single Fall 2014 design directive.  Consider this a bonus as what we prefer to wear is a highly individualistic decision.  The season's style diversity also means pieces purchased now will not have a lasting 'Fall 2014' identity.  They can be resurrected, reinvented, recombined for as long as they remain appealing to you.

It should be an rewarding process to enhance your wardrobe this Fall 2014.  Runways set this season's pace with exciting, appealing style ingenuity, wearable, useful and practical fabrics, not to mention a broad brush when it came to color choices.  Surely ready-to-wear will follow suit … there are hints of that already as you walk through malls, visit boutiques, review catalogs.  The days of having a single store location where all our wardrobe needs and wants can be satisfied have disappeared.  It takes work and energy to explore what is out there.  It takes knowing yourself to try new colors and styles and resources you might have overlooked in the past.  Change can be good, change can be daunting, change can give us energy and a new lease on our fashion life.  How about giving it a try!

Copyright © 2014 Nancy Taylor Farel