All Dressed Up and
Everywhere to Go

A Complete look at fall


By Debra Simon with Anna Thompson


Frivolity often steals the show at New York's Fashion Week. But this time around, designers produced levelheaded collections that focused on clean lines, rich fabrics and delicious colors - the sort of garments that work as well on a Triangle street as a Big Apple runway. It was goodbye razzle-dazzle and hello sleek, refined clothing that'll really speak to you from racks in Raleigh, Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill.

Women in our region, ranging from breezy bombshells to ladies who lunch, have a lot to love this fall. It's a season of extremes that fits just about any fashionista. Right-now dressing features outfits we'd happily slip on for a performance at Progress Energy Center in Raleigh or a business meeting in downtown Durham.

Designers avoided fashion risks, so catwalks were filled with classics turned brilliantly stylish. Icons were borrowed wholesale from history   retro referred to anything from the '30s to the '80s. There were so many riffs on tradition that each of us could curate our own collection to suit ourselves.

Among the extremes, the trends pitted restrained ensembles against '60s groovy-wear. It was Library Lady vs. Mod Squad.
Strictly business pieces included longish pencil skirts; take-charge blazers; bowed blouses; subtly structured suits; and '70s-inspired day dresses reminiscent of the movie "Nine to Five." Sixties stuff included metallic shifts; swingy minis; patterned maxis; funky hats; and go-go boots.

What could these two styles possibly have in common?

Polish. Fall is about cleaning up your act and achieving head-to-toe panache. These clothes are far from the boho whims of autumns past. Now, it's time to appear as though you got all dressed on purpose.

From psychedelic maxis to serious suits, whatever package you choose, it's tucked into a classy, pulled-together wrapper.
Heightening the drama are other mod twists clamoring to be divalicous, such as brightly colored or wide-leg pants; the pairing of black and white; a multitude of layering options; tomboy touches; soft leather; sheer fabric and asymmetrical elements..

Here's a glance at some evocative statements that'll really call out to you.


Ladylike Luxe

Embrace a buttoned-down September to December to show everyone who's the boss.




Mod Squad

Cool! Designers put together wardrobes worthy of any go-go girl.




Jewel Tones

Rich reds, saturated blues, drop-dead gorgeous greens, intense yellows -
to go glam, flip on the high beams for a pure jolt of sophistication.




Sure to Shine

Dare to stand out in reflective material that imparts a flashy sheen.




Geometric patterns and polka dots

Must-buys include items boldly patterned with polka dots or striking geometrics.




Cozy knits

Knits aren't seen only atop jeans, they are everywhere - even paired with evening gowns!




Touch of lace

The overlay of intrigue establishes a powerful presence this autumn even when used as an accent.




Winter white

Snowy shades of cream and ivory are often contrasted with black or gray.




Floor-sweeping gowns

These are so gorgeous that any Triangle woman can feel as if she's going to the Oscars.




Flower power

Blooms splashed on cold-weather clothes go beyond garden-variety fall fashion.




Tough girl

Feminine touches soften even the roughest leather.




Waist watchers

Garments are whittled in at the waist, and the emphasis is made clearer with peplums and other constructions.




Abstract patterns

Fashion-forward imprints provide romantic elegance and a bit of glam.





Dream coats offered in a rainbow of shades are the newest must-haves.