Bright, Patterned and Skinny: Top Fashion Trends in Fall 2012

Part of the inestimable service I do for you by writing this blog is to read the fashion magazines, so that you do not have to discover that Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice) loves Lily Collins’ “little freckles and frizzy ponytail” because they make her look “fresh and less polished”. You’re welcome. I have just spent three commutes working my way through the Glamour September 2012 issue – taking notes in a notebook to identify trends and their strengths – in order to bring you information about What the Cool Kids are Wearing.

J Crew Shows off some pink pants

J Crew Shows off some pink pants

So the #1 hottest trend this fall?

Really flashy pants.

This trend seems to take two paths: brightly colored jeans and highly patterned pants. Lots of really crazy patterns are definitely a theme of the season – I’ve seen it in shirt, blouses, jackets and especially manicures. But the pants seem like the #1 trend. Even on the guys they’re showing orange, green, yellow and other solid but bright jeans.

I haven’t seen any in the wild yet, but as soon as the weather turns, expect your most fashionable colleagues and compatriots to begin wearing purple and pink paisley patterned skinny jeans. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

Here’s some of the bright, unpatterned pants at The Gap:

Colorful, unpatterned pants at the Gap

Colorful, unpatterned pants at the Gap

Juicy Couture apparently did an entire show with much crazier patterned pants than they’re offering for sale. Still, here’s what’s hit the market:

Crazy patterns

Crazy patterns

Kohl’s and Target are dipping their toes into the trend in terms of offerings, but you can see that they’re focusing on it with ads:

Kohl's Add shows bright pants

Kohl’s Add shows bright pants

So… should we buy into this trend or pass on it?

Pros:
– Patterns are really fun
– One or two purchases could notch your “dresses like it’s this year” cred up considerably – especially since this is a breaking trend and if you buy now you will be a front-runner with it
– Colors are also really fun
– Usually we can’t get away with wearing stuff like this

Cons:
– I suspect that if you’re larger than a size six, some of these patterns could be highly unflattering
– When something is this fashionable, you cannot wear it for more than a year … if it lasts even that long
– When something is this noticeable, you can’t rewear it very often. No one notices when you wear the same pair of black slacks twice in a week. But if you wear your leopard print pants twice in a week, people will notice.
– There’s no guarantee this trend will take off… at which point you will not look like a trend-leader, you will look like a person wearing weird pants
– You can’t buy it on sale – or even at discounters like Target – yet. It’s too early in the fashion cycle. And by the time it is not too early, the trend will already be passing by. Woosh!

Buy a pair of these pants if:
– You are not budget strapped, and it’s ok with you if you have a pair of pants you only wear 20 times before you get rid of them
– You really like pretty designs
– You really like colors
– You want people to notice you

Do not buy these pants if:
– You have a minimalist wardrobe
– You hate waste
– You’re trying to stretch every dollar as far as it can go
– You don’t like being noticed for what you wear

Be careful about whether the colors and patterns look good on your body type. When in doubt, take a picture of yourself in the dressing room mirror and look at the picture. Is it just too much? Then stick with khakis. However, some of the asymmetrical designs I’ve seen would look good on larger legs. As usual, it just means you have harder shopping in front of you.

So what do you think? Is this the trend you’ve been waiting for since Hypercolor went out of style in the 90s? Have you spotted a real life pair of these pants yet? Do you find this trend fun or terrifying? Would you consider buying some, or have you already bought some? Do these pants make people look good?

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What I wore today: brown knit dress

I have a schedule – more or less – of what KIND of outfits I wear to work for each day of the week. Monday – slacks and blouse. Tuesday – dress. Wednesday – slacks and blouse. Thursday – depends on what I feel like. Friday – jeans and shirt. There are exceptions of course: a client visit, a work-from-home-day, or Red Sox tickets after a day’s work will all affect my choices. (As will the weather.)

Brown knit dress

Brown knit dress

Today being a Tuesday, I wore a dress. My favorite dresses for work are knit dresses. I probably own six or so knit dresses. Why?

1) They machine wash
2) They’re comfortable
3) Done right, they look pretty good
4) They do not wrinkle
5) They are a moderate weight, good for layering (or not)

Did I mention that they machine wash?

Today’s brown dress is a good two season dress. I’m not sure I’d wear it in spring just because brown is not a very springy color. It also doesn’t layer as well as some of my other knit dresses, so I probably wouldn’t bother with it in winter. I pair it with sandals in summer, or with boots, tights and a sweater in fall. It can dress way up or way down, depending on how I want to play it. I could wear this dress to the theater easily. At the same time, with casual jewelry, shoes or a sweater, it doesn’t look out of place in the office. It’s not going to knock someone’s socks off with how amazing I look, but I can live with that.

There are two tragic failings to the knit dress (in general). The first is panty lines. The second is bulges. Knit looks good, but it hides nothing. Part of what makes it comfortable – that lovely give it has – also means it, er, outlines everything and forgives nothing. You will feel comfortable in a knit dress that is too small. You will look sausage-esque. The solution I’ve adopted to both these problems is either a) not to care (especially with my looser knit dresses) or b) to wear spanx. I have a whole paen to spanx lined up, defending them from the very judgement I myself weighed upon them before I actually owned them… but for now let’s just say that they fix the panty line and bulge issues nicely.

So here’s today’s fashion lineup for an 80 degree summer Tuesday at the office:
Straightish/wavy hair with barrette
Diamond stud earrings
Standard makeup
Caramel-colored rose necklace (custom made by Laureen)
Cocoa brown knit dress (this one is Dress Barn – most of them are Chaps from Kohl’s)
Brown sandals

What do you think? Where would you wear this outfit? (Or would you ever wear it.) What changes should I make to be more office appropriate? What outfit did you wear today? Do you have a “regular schedule” of outfits?