The Best Bets for Fall 2006

A new fashion season is upon us with trends that
will allow us to shine – or look ridiculous,
depending on how we partake of them.  Some are
like a breath of fresh air, making us wish cooler
weather was already upon us, while others are
about as ripe for disastrous interpretations as
they come (can you say leggings?).

Since NO ONE looks fabulous in EVERY style
regardless of her height, weight, or bank
account, I advise you to proceed with caution.
Opt for flattering styles that fit you correctly
and that mix well you’re your existing pieces.
As always, invest in classics and go cheap on
trends.  It’s the only way to justify the

With that in mind, here are the most
figure-flattering picks of the season:

1.  Red Accents

You’ll be seeing red this fall because Lipstick
Red accents are all the rage – with “accents”
being the key word here.  Instead of dressing
head-to-toe in red, opt for red shoes, a red
coat, or a red handbag.  You’ll get to wear them
more and be right on trend.  Just remember that
all reds are not created equal.  Opt for
blue-based reds if you have blue (cool)
undertones, orange-red if you have yellow (warm)

2.  Menswear Touches

Pinstripes, vests, matching suits – they’re all
very popular this season and can give you added
authority for those times when you need it most,
like presentations, important meetings, and the
like.  Want to come off as a powerful woman?
Then contradict the severity of the menswear with
a ruffled blouse, cascading curls, or bright red

3.  Feminine Touches

Hand-in-hand with the menswear look are soft,
feminine embellishments that are as “girlie” as
they come.  Ruffles, bows, and lace offer a nice
polish to simple staples like pants, cardigans,
and the like.  Just don’t go overboard,
particularly at the office.

4.  Suede

Suede has always been a popular cool-weather
fabric, but you’ll find it in abundance this
year.  Jackets, skirt, pants, accessories –
you’re sure to find something you like.  Just
remember that suede requires special care and
soils easily, so be sure to keep maintenance in
mind when you buy.

5.  Textured Knits

Sweaters and cool weather go hand-in-hand, and
this fall you’ll find lots of great looks you’ll
love.  Ruffles, fringe, embroidery and lace
embellish cardigans, sweater coats, and sweater
dresses.  Just be mindful of the bulk:  textured
fabrics will make you look bigger, so be careful
where you put it.

6.  Gauchos

With cropped pants so popular these last few
years, it was only inevitable that designers
would bring back gauchos.  You’ll see them in
many interpretations this year, from casual wear
to business attire.  Pair them with a boot for a
chic fall look, or a slim shoe like a pump.
Nothing clunky or chunky, please, or you’ll
visually shorter and widen your leg.

7.  Embroidery

This trend continues from spring, when “Boho
Luxe” was so popular.  You’ll find intricate
patterns on everything from coats to skirts to
shoes, and some of the artistry is quite lovely.
If you like to embroider yourself, pull out your
threads and get creative.  Whether you buy or
do-it-yourself, just remember the rules of
proportion:  keep embellishments in proportion to
your body size.

8.  Velvet touches

This former holiday/evening fabric continues its
transition into day as you’ll find plenty of
velvet touches to choose from this fall.  Blazer,
belts, skirts – you name it – you’ll find it in
lots of interpretations this year.  Just be
mindful that velvet is a delicate fabric that
shows wear quickly, particularly at stress points
like elbows and knees.

9.  Crocodile Accents

Crocodile has long been a luxury favorite because
of its distinctive pattern.  These days, both
real and faux crocodile accents are popular, and
you can find them in belts, handbags, and shoes.
If you choose simple styles, you can wear them
years to come.

10.  Wide Belts

“It’s all about the waist,” a fashionista told me
recently, and if you flip through a few fashion
magazines and look at a few fashion sites, you’ll
see that’s true.  Wide belts can look fabulous,
but let me be frank:  they can also be tricky.
If you’re high-waisted, have no discernible
waist, or tend to carry excess weight in your
tummy, a wide belt can further emphasize these
challenges.  So look around, try some things, and
even look for belts that offer sleight-of-hand
tricks, like those that have unusual curves, that
fall asymmetrically, or that sit below the

So take a look, see what makes sense to add to
your wardrobe this year, and hop to it.  You’ll
find the best selections in the stores right now,
so don’t delay.  If you like to shop online and
need a list of retailers to get you started, head
on over to:


(c) 2006 Diana Pemberton-Sikes

Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant
and author of “Wardrobe Magic,” an ebook that shows women
how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable
wardrobes. Visit her online at .

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