Women’s Fall 2012 Style Guide

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by Fashion Editor Daniel Jameson and Fashion Writers Chloe Karaskiewicz, Marlee Katz and Paige Schultz

Fall is more than just a transition of the seasons, representing a “return” to the everyday motions of work and school after a period of relaxation and fun in the sun. That’s not to belittle the joy of the season, however; this is indeed a time of great celebration, as the weather cools and we indulge in autumnal favorites like pumpkin spice lattes and apple picking. But fall is also noted by its welcoming of the new; of fresh faces starting the next chapter of their lives at new schools; to the world of fashion, which presents its spring collections in a grand month of shows throughout September. With all the commotion of change it’s ever important to dress to impress and be remembered. And so, as the mercury drops, utilize our guide below to step out in your best, every day.


Dark Florals

Contrary to popular belief, in fashion, florals do not hibernate with their real-life counterparts when the temperature falls. Instead they evolve, taking inspiration from exotic, mysterious locales to become patterns of true depth and mystique. Enter one of the boldest trends of Fall 2012: dark florals. These delicate petals blossom under a darkened sky, creating a pattern of rich earth and jewel tones framed in black. Various interpretations dominated the runways, from ethereal, oversized topaz leaves on a high-necked sleeveless dress at Gucci to a concentration of blues, purples, and pinks dripping over flora on an overcoat at Emporio Armani.

Perhaps the best aspect of this trend is its surprisingly simple wearability, which revolves around letting the prints speak for themselves. Allow these buds to grow without competition from sparkle, white, and multiple layers, while focusing on enigmatic beauty styling, and you’ll capture the spirit of mystery with ease.

Calvin Klein Collection


While an ever-favorite material throughout the year, leather found a new place in the annals of fashion this fall, manifesting in collections more as a fabric than ever before. This innovative lightness breathes femininity into the rugged, structured skin, allowing it to be crafted into new silhouettes and styles that broaden its wearability. Being Fall 2012, however, the leather seen on the runways does maintain its elements of darkness and toughness, visible in the color palettes of blacks and dark jewel tones, and in the overall shape of the garments. Ultimately, these pieces are easily incorporated into an ensemble as apparel with attitude, giving a welcome, fierce edge when paired with soft, flirty clothes.

Prabal Gurung

Dark Lace

Usually when we think of “gothic” fashion the prettiest picture doesn’t immediately come to mind. With black being the ultimate color of choice, we envision a style that’s severe with dark apparel, makeup, hair – dark everything. Yet for fall, designers captured this idea in a completely different manner. By imagining a “dark elegance”, designers made gothic themes more inviting as they wove trace elements of the style into the intricate pattern of black lace.

The secret to pulling off this trend can be found in the classic mantra “less is more.” A head-to-toe dark lace ensemble can be just as austere as one that’s completely black, so add subtle hints of the trend to your wardrobe, such as pairing a dark lace blouse with a pair of jeans or a classic mini.

Roberto Cavalli

Black & Gold

While watching the Fall 2012 shows, it was impossible to ignore the omnipresence of black and gold. In terms of color pairings, they’re the ultimate power couple, and their flawless match has everyone positively swooning.

And why on earth would they not? With designers finding inspiration from all different eras and countries, fashionistas everywhere are faced with myriad possibilities. We especially adore the modern, Paco Rabanne-esque takes on the trend, though other interpretations, such as Dolce and Gabbana’s baroque Renaissance twist, make an equally striking statement. Either way, no matter how you choose to wear the trend, stock your closet full of gilded wonders and you’ll undoubtedly shine throughout the season.


Alexander McQueen

White Out.

Who says you can’t wear white after Labor Day? This fall, the classic color of summer makes an appearance in monochromatic looks. Dare to pair white separates, like Taylor Swift at the 2012 Video Music awards, and make a bright, bold statement. This trend tends to go two ways on the runway: ultra-structured with architectural construction and crisp lines, or sweetly cozy. To pull off the crisp, clean cut ensembles, think simple and accessorize conservatively. Look for clean lines and simplicity of design. For a cozier look, play around with layers in various shades of white, crafted from soft wools, furs and shearlings. This season, hard and soft whites make for a fantastic pair, sure to be the style preferé of fashionistas everywhere.

Amanda Setton, NYFW

Oversized Coats

As the weather cools this season, warm up in a trend that’s got us enwrapped in style: oversized coats. Celine, Jil Sander and Comme des Garcons showed larger than life silhouettes for fall with longer lengths, broad collars and room to spare. The trend is a truly daring statement for everyday wear, leading us away from the short, tailored, belted coats of yesteryear. Think big this season like Amanda Setton, of Gossip Girl fame, seen here at NY Fashion Week demonstrating the full effect of the trend inside this voluminous look with an A-line shape and an intricate pattern.




A dramatic, edgy and sophisticated hue, oxblood adds an element of drama to any look this season. Considered the new black, oxblood garments headlined the fall runways.

Rag & Bone’s show highlighted oxblood accents, in shoes, belts and jackets. The warm pops of color made the mostly neutral collection stand out. On the other hand, Jason Wu went all out with monochromatic pieces. The wine-tone dresses were adorned with elements of embroidery and fur. Alexander Wang also took oxblood to the next level, with eccentric structured leather jackets and gold hardware.

Oxblood can be worn monochromatically, as seen in Jason Wu’s collection, or be paired with fall’s biggest trends of leather, velvet and lace. For example, a black monochromatic ensemble with a pinot noir clutch is one easy way to incorporate the trend into any style.

The romantic and edgy hue can replace your typical little black dress as fall approaches. Try making an oxblood colored garment one of your staple pieces this season!


 Ornamental Embellishments

Ornamental embellishments are all the rage this fall. Gold embroidery, jewel-tones, feathers and sequins made their mark in a multitude of runway shows.

Stella McCartney showed navy embroidered appliqués on form fitting blue dresses. Chanel frocks were adorned with bright rhinestones, which added a pop of color to the simple black garments. One of the biggest highlights was Valentino’s gorgeous floral embroidered and silver sequined gown, a show stopping number we found one of the most intricate and beautiful pieces on the fall runways.

Dolce & Gabbana went back to their Sicilian roots with stunning hand crafted, gold embroidered pieces. Needlepoint florals and cherubs contributed to the sweet, luxurious mood of the show. Marchesa’s golden embellished floral and feathered gown was another showstopper on the runway. Mastering outerwear, Rag & Bone’s dark floral embellished jackets with fur accents were absolutely outstanding.

Excessive embellishments are the way to go this fall. Whether it is a rhinestone sweater, an embroidered dress or tapestry inspired shoes, take the risk and rock this exciting trend this season.

Photo Credits:


Header Image

Amanda Setton

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