GET FIERCE FOR FALL with five key pieces: a metallic bag, a vintage-inspired shoe, a jeweled necklace, a showstopping coat and something in the season’s hippest hue — purple.


» Even in a tough economy, investing in a distinctive cool-weather topper — like Juicy‘s plaid wool coat ($598, Urban Chic, 1626 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-338-5398) — makes style sense. “Splurge on pieces that’ll carry you through the winter,” says D.C. style consultant Kara Alford of La Femme Wonderworks. After all, come November or so, you’ll be wearing a coat nearly every day. Other eye-catching ones: Nanette Lepore‘s hot pink, bow-trimmed “Mysterious Coat” ($610, Shopbop.com), and Boden‘s polka-dot wool number in blue and brown ($278, Bodenusa.com). “Plaids and prints speak to your personality,” says Alford. “But don’t go crazy.”


Oversize, fit-for-a-Renaissance-duchess necklaces and rings starred on runways from Lanvin to Zac Posen. But selling your Prius to buy a massive diamond ring isn’t necessary with fab fakes like this jeweled necklace ($34.50, Express, Georgetown Park Mall, 3222 M St. NW; 202-338-6626). Forever 21 and H&M also hawk bargain baubles, and J. Crew‘s retro-leaning costume jewelry line includes a big wow “bubble” necklace ($150, Jcrew.com) with black or aqua synthetic stones. Just remember that cheap jewelry looks more expensive worn with finer fabrics: silk, cashmere.


Purple, the hue of royals, was the biggest color last fall, and it’s back in all its regal, looks-good-on-everyone glory. “I think Michelle Obama had a lot to do with expanding this trend when she wore that purple sheath,” says Alford. Make like Obama’s chic wife in Prada‘s spendy-but-splendid-looking silk blouse ($930, Neiman Marcus Tysons Galleria, McLean; 703-761-1600), which also rocks another autumn trend: ruffles. “Pair it with black or white, or, if you’re bold, something bright,” says Alford. A less regally priced option: Neely‘s cowl-neck sweater in grape ($108, Southmoonunder.com).


They don’t show many below-the-knee shots in AMC’s circa-1961 drama “Mad Men.” But if they did, Nanette Lepore‘s suede peep toes ($390, Nanette Lepore, 5449 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-657-1515) would fit right in. “Glamour is back with a vengeance,” says Alford. “Women of the ’50s and ’60s knew how to show off their assets.” Put a pair like this with textured tights in a contrasting color and a pencil skirt. For other styles with vintage vroom, check out Two Lips‘ silver-and-black spectator Mary Jane ($75, Piperlime.com) or Chie Mihara’s funky green T-strap heel ($356, Piperlime.com).


Silver and gold, copper and pewter — all that glitters and glows shows up on handbags and clutches for fall. Botkier for Target‘s luxe-looking, recession-priced hobo ($50, Target.com) isn’t leather, but it does a darn fine imitation of calfskin. And like all metallics, it goes with nearly any color in your closet — navy, purple, green, tan — except another metallic. Other bags to take a shine to: Matt and Nat‘s over-the-shoulder styles and clutches in silvery gray Japanese paper ($150-$265, Mattandnatbags.com) and Hobo International‘s moc-croc, pewter-colored carryall ($428, Nordstrom.com)

Written by Express contributor Ashley Joy Parker