Class makes a comeback with latest fashion trends
Topshops full-calf skater skirt in burgundy, $72. (Topshop / September 3, 2013)
I, for one, am delighted to have a moment of respite from the last few crop top-fueled summers. The fact that I'm even saying "crop top" with a straight face makes me sad. Note: I am not talking about a boxy, short top worn with something like pleated, high-waisted, harem-style pants and open-toe booties. I am talking about the uniform of summer 2013: a stomach-baring tank top with arm holes far larger than could be filled by any normal arms, so strangers can see your bra; mom shorts that cover too much of your stomach (but somehow not quite enough to make the tank top OK) and very little, if any, of your bum; and frankly I don't even know what shoes because the trauma has usually rendered me unconscious by this point in the ensemble.
I don't consider myself to be overly uptight when it comes to clothes. Earlier this year I waxed poetic about my love of shorts. But I don't know when it became appropriate for everyone to run around in public in outfits that are too tight, too short or half missing. As Velma Kelly from "Chicago" would say, whatever happened to class?
Luckily, I think class is making a return for fall. This season's palette is dramatic, sophisticated and luxurious, and it's worn very well with classic pieces and silhouettes. Here are some of my favorites.
Full midi skirt
The midi skirt has been "in" for a while, but it's having trouble breaking back into our wardrobes in the midst of the maxi craze. I believe that this fall is the time. Whenever I see a midi skirt, I think of the princesses, like Grace Kelly and Princess Diana. The hemline is optimal for being fashion-forward yet conservative, at which princesses are always the best.
If you're not used to a longer skirt that's not quite full length, make sure the rest of your outfit balances it out. For example, a midi skirt should always be worn with heels, whether on knee-high boots or classic pumps. This balances out the seriousness -- if you're running around in a midi skirt with loafers, well, your crush is just never going to agree to go to the dance with you, even though you've been letting him copy your homework.
Of course, tweed never really goes out of style. It has a lot of job security as a neutral that adds a bit of texture to your ensemble. However, black and white was such a popular combo with style heavy-hitters this summer, I think we'll have an extra tweedy fall and winter.
Tweed is great for everything, from blazers to dresses and mixed-media riding boots. But be sure to heed this very important warning: Tweed should be worn with a bit of color, and that color should NOT be true red. Black/white/primary red is very old news. If you want a shade of red, try a fiery, orangey red, like poppy, persimmon, or from this year's color report, salsa. Any of the non-neutrals in the color report will actually be perfect with tweed.
I know what you're thinking. You never stopped wearing your pointed-toe pumps. And that's cool, because as we've established, all of these are fairly universal classics. But this fall, you may want to consider updating your pump collection with extravagant fabrics, such as ostrich or suede; dramatic colors, like any of the three greens in this season's color report; and a tall, chunky heel like you've previously found on round-toe pumps.
This is an interesting one, and I have to give Vogue the credit for alerting me to this trend. But in recent years, we've seen a renaissance of rich, matte lip color, which seems to be more of-the-moment than the gloss we're all used to. Before you start picturing dry, cracked lips and faded, icky lip color, keep in mind that newer formulas are engineered to keep your lips moisturized while staying put. Dior is even releasing its original red, worn by models from the iconic fashion house's first collection, with a more wearable texture.
(E-mail Kristyn Schiavone at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter at @KKSchiavone.)