Fall. Already?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yes, yes -- it's still August. It's still sweltering. But do the sky-high temps mean it's too early to stock up on fashion's Next Big Thing? We say: Absolutely not. Here, get a sneak peek at four favorite fall trends.

-- Michelle Thomas

Peplum Silhouettes

Nods to the '40s and '80s popped up all over the fall runways, and one trend draws on both decades: peplum. The retro shape -- flouncy overskirts sewn to the hem of a snug jacket or to the waist of a skirt or dress -- added feminine flair to the runways of Louis Vuitton, Christian Lacroix and Erin Fetherston. These styles emphasize the waist, so maximize the effect by pairing the poufy piece with something simple and slim-cut. Leifsdottir's take combines an understated peplum with a vivid marigold hue, subtle pleating and nautical buttons ($258 at Anthropologie stores and http://www.anthropologie.com).

Purple Pouts

Before you cast aside dark purple lipstick as overly goth, reconsider how morbid black nail polish seemed when it first began showing up on the fingertips of fashion-y types. On the runways, models at Christian Dior and Rachel Roy sported some intense plum hues, but off the catwalk, a juicy blackberry tint is your best bet. Two to try: Nars's sheer mulberry Fast Ride ($24 at department stores, Sephora stores or http://www.narscosmetics.com) or Urban Decay's semi-sheer burgundy shade Confession ($22 at Sephora stores and http://www.urbandecay.com).

Embellished Legwear

Plain opaque tights? So 2008. This year, go for the flashier upgrade. Designers at Miu Miu, Cynthia Rowley and Emanuel Ungaro embellished, encrusted and enhanced neutral-hued legwear by piling on glimmering, shimmering stones and gems. Though their super-sparkly versions may not be practical for the day-to-day, tiptoe into the trend with lace tights or leggings stitched more sparingly with rhinestones. Or try studded types, like Free People's brass-studded black tights ($88 at http://www.freepeople.com).

Structural Details

Perhaps more so than with any color, shape or fabric, this fall's biggest story is about texture play. Designers at Balenciaga, Derek Lam, Donna Karan and 3.1 Philip Lim (to name just a few) bunched and scrunched, draped and folded. Look for fluid draping and artful falls on dresses, tops and skirts. But because ruching, by its inherent bunchy nature, can add bulk, use the trend sparingly or limit it to accent pieces. One favorite? Nine West's brown suede Joyrides bootie ($119 at Nine West stores and http://www.ninewest.com).

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