Easy as an autumn breeze - your guide to romantic fall fashions

October 16, 2007|By ALICIA NOTORIANNI

Hiking a trail on a crisp autumn day. Picnicking beneath a crimson colored tree. Gathering with friends over a pot of hot-spiced cider. Setting off with a toddler in search of the prized pumpkin of the patch. Autumn brings pleasures all its own.

Whether we are heading up the back-to-school PTA meeting or hosting a houseful of Thanksgiving guests, women feel better when we feel "put together." But as the days grow shorter and the weather cooler, autumn likewise presents fashion challenges of its own.

How do we smoothly transition from summer fabrics and colors to autumn?

Do we need new accessories?

How do we dress for the cold without looking stodgy?

What changes should we make in makeup and hair as our tans fade and roots emerge from our summer highlights?

How do we make these changes without breaking the bank?

H.E.R. takes you to area fashion authorities for answers.



Julie Rohm, Valley Mall general manager, says the style of women's fall fashions can be summed up in a word - "feminine." Stores are offering an abundance of dresses and floral bottoms, mostly in lightweight fabrics that lend to layering.

Layering is a particularly viable option in the Washington County area where, just south of the Mason-Dixon Line, cool temperatures often hold off until well into autumn.

"Take what's hot from summer and transition it into fall. Keep your basic look for day and cover it for the evening," Julie says.

Dominating fashion palettes this season are slate blue, grays, burnt orange and browns.

If you think brown is not for you, don't jump ship. Lori Ruda, manager of Lena's of Hagerstown, says the browns in stores might surprise you.

"There is a tendency to think only people of certain coloring can wear brown. People need to get that out of their mindsets," Lori says. "There are so many shades now. Some are so rich that it's become almost an alternative to black. Don't be afraid to try brown."

Lori says fall fashion hues offer an opportunity to mix and match pieces already in your closet with new ones. Slate blues and browns on the racks combine well with charcoals you might already own, she says.

Autumn skirt lengths are across the board, as are styles of footwear, which run the gamut from open-toed shoes to boots.

Lori says key pieces worth investing in for fall are jackets - especially the microfiber suede variety. Julie recommends plaid pants in deep blue, green and berry tones.


Accessories are essential to fashion this fall, Julie says. One especially popular accent is the wide headband.

"Every lady is looking for accessories to go with her outfit. If she gets a new dress, she is looking for a bracelet and a necklace. You must have accessories that are your own personality," Julie says.

Lori says jewelry can make or break an outfit.

"Don't be afraid to wear some basic pieces and accessorize to really make a fashion statement," she says.

Still, like your wardrobe, your jewelry collection can be built upon seasonally rather than replaced, says Premier Designs jewelry consultant Emilee Draper.

"Everybody doesn't want to turn over their whole collection at the end of the season, and I don't blame them," Emilee says. "You don't need to. You can just get a couple of new pieces to bring you up to date."

For example, the Premier necklace and earring set Bamboo, which features matte copper- and bronze-colored beads along with an olive-colored cord and matte and antiqued gold plates, attractively accentuates most of the season's colors.

However, to begin building a satisfying pool of jewelry, Emilee suggests purchasing some neutral separate pieces rather than amassing only ensembles.

"A basic earring in brushed, antiqued or even shiny gold can mix and match with a lot of other jewelry," she says.

Another way to extend accessorizing possibilities is to invest in chains and scarves that coordinate with slide pendants with removable reversible stones for maximum versatility.

Julie says purses with natural fibers such as wood handles are hot for fall. As another option for a functional, yet trendy bag that will work harmoniously with the season's colors, Catharine Spellar, owner and manager of Carol and Company, recommends Vera Bradley's Kensington. The pattern features a deep brown background adorned with leaves, flowers and paisleys in harvest colors.


Phyllis Keliher makes no bones about it. "If your face doesn't look good, nothing's gonna look good," she says.

Phyllis, a 17-year independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay cosmetics, outlines three standards for transitioning into fall. First, if you use a lightweight summer moisturizer, switch to a richer one, as skin tends to be drier during cold weather months. Be sure it has an adequate SPF, she adds. Second, as your tan fades, opt for a lighter foundation that matches your skin tone. Third, if you change the colors of your clothes, be sure your lipstick color coordinates.

Beyond that, Phyllis says, there are no rules.

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