This is what fall has become: the world's biggest prep school with all the cool kids dressing a la Mona Lisa smile, Annie Hall and Katharine Hepburn. Herringbone, glen plaid, houndstooth, argyle and tweed will be highlighting this semester, er, season.
"It's going to be a great season for traditional textures and patterns -- most of them from England and Scotland," says David Wolfe, creative director of the Doneger Group, a source for global market trends and merchandising strategies. "Almost all of these patterns are traditional menswear being used for women's wear," he says. It's gender-bending fashion. "It becomes very, very sexy when a women wears a little bit of menswear."
But there are rules.
Don't over-pattern. "It depends on how big one is -- let's be honest," Wolfe says regarding the how-much-pattern question. Try to keep big patterns away from the tush.
Stay away from overplayed designs like pinstripes.
And don't be afraid to cross-reference. Wolfe likes "tweeds mixed with paisley, houndstooth mixed with velvet and very wintry fabrics mixed with light chiffons." But don't go overboard, he says. "It'll give people a headache."
-- Janelle Erlichman Diamond