By Debra Simon


Watching models strut down the runways at New York Fashion Week for fall, the rallying cry of feminists –"The personal is political"–leapt to my mind. The 1970s-era slogan points to the connection between individual issues and larger social and civic structures; it asserts that personal problems are political problems. And this season, it doesn't stop at fashion's door.


Empowered women demanded powerful clothing choices, and designers complied with take-charge garments. Is it any wonder that some of the styles rocked '70s sass? Say goodbye to see-through, skimpy, and slice and dice; say hello to self-assured, polished and authoritative.


For the first time in years, designers are offering serious attire that's got you covered from a.m. commutes to p.m. dates. The commanding attitude displayed on Big Apple catwalks is perfectly suited for women heading for their RTP offices in the morning, downtown Raleigh in the evening and the Streets at Southpoint on the weekend.


Browse the career-inspired selections: double-breasted blazers; buttoned-up apparel; wool suits; rich textures; clean lines; distinctive denim; impeccable tailoring; sharp trousers; broad shoulders; cozy tweeds; plush knits; and borrowed-from-the-boys plaids.


But fall 2017 isn't just about appropriated menswear. Ultra femme touches, especially when paired with those strong classics, lend a nimble spirit. Consider: flouncy ruffles; vibrant colors; soft leather skirts; metallic sparkle; flowing midi dresses; animal spots; retro prints; a well-defined waist; floral patterns; the drama of black-and-white; ladylike velvet; Victorian and shawl collars; and fluttery bows.


Here's a glance at some of the fierce looks that are calling out "take me home" from racks in department stores and boutiques around the Triangle.



Inspired by the Man

The modern twist on mannish can be deconstructed or tightly scripted. It offers belted waists, voluminous suits, double-breasted cuts, pressed slacks, boxy shoulders, bold blazers, military influence and, yes, pantsuit nation.



Get Your Bloom On

Full-on floral prints are cropping up everywhere you turn in the Triangle. The botanical trend sprouts a vintage mood; these garden patterns are dark, romantic and just a tad old school.




Eye-popping Colors

The lady's roaring in paint-the-town red. Other vivid shades include: jewel tones, such as amethyst, emerald,
ruby, garnet and citrine; blue hues; pink from pale to shocking; and an ebony-and-ivory mix, often in polka dot.



Mad About Plaid

Plaid pieces are back on the grid. The resurgence is evident in just about every garment, color and style. Pair a prim tartan, Glen plaid, Scotch plaid or gingham with something wild to get to checkmate.



More looks to love.



Photos courtesy Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week