While we are temporarily living in New Hampshire, aka L.L. Bean Land, aka Land of Performance Fleece, I find myself further away from current fashion than I think I've ever been before.  I've never lived in such a small town (we don't even have a stop light!) and the nearest slightly-large city is about 90 minutes away.  Not a drive I need to make often.

But living in the woods here sure doesn't stop me from perusing the latest fun styles so lets take a look at this autumn's trends according to InStyle magazine.  Those we might want to embrace and those we should evade.

(All images in this post from Instyle.com unless otherwise noted.)

The Lovelies

PictureL.K. Bennet navy coat
Elegant Minimalism

An obvious yes. 

Clean, simple lines and solid colors never go out of style.

They are the basis of every good wardrobe.

PictureQ Mack plaid shirt
Plaid

Definite thumbs up.  It's also timeless.

I'm a huge fan of plaid BUT make sure you don't turn lumberjack.  A shirt should be on the slim fitted side, not baggy flannel.

A lightweight plaid shirt is good all year round and a great layering piece.

If you're eager but nervous to incorporate some plaid, I suggest starting with the shoes. Search for something along the gorgeous lines of these Manolos. Sigh...
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Manolo Blahnik plaid pumps
PictureAsos Skirt
Rich Opulence

As Stacy and Clinton always advise, when you're building an outfit think, "Color. Pattern. Texture. Shine."

These embroidered, jeweled, textured, patterned pieces do a lot of the work for you. And, once again, timeless. 

Just avoid head to toe or you'll look like a Russian mafia queen.

PictureTorn peplum sweater
Ladylike Curves

Fit-and-Flare is always flattering on women and shouldn't be considered a trend.

Since designers might swing to straight-and-streamlined at some point, I suggest stocking up while these feminine pieces are easy to find.


Sweaters

This probably seems like a "well, duh" addition, but InStyle felt that sweaters in autumn are trendy.  More particularly, sweaters with interesting details, patterns or shapes. 

We're not talking Cosby sweaters, here, think along the lines of the lovely Tommy Hilfiger houndstooth sweater I included in the first image collage.
PictureDiane Von Furstenberg shirtdress
Animal Print

Definite two thumbs up! Simultaneously timeless and fun. 

Even the smallest hint of animal print livens up an outfit.  I love this shirt dress and would pair it with a black or red coat and black leather dress boots.  In summer - red sandals!

If animal print scares you - be brave! Start small, like the flats below.



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VC Signature zebra flats
PictureAlexa dress - from Bodenusa.com
Cobalt Blue

This color is having a major moment right now.  And why not?

It's bright without being obnoxious, extremely versatile and flattering on everyone.

InStyle showcased some nice pieces but I like this dress better.  And the adorable peplum top below.  With a cardigan? So great!


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Anthropologie keyhole peplum top
That's it for now.  We'll check out the rest next time!

 
 
The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale preview mini-mag hit my mailbox the other day. 
On page 11 was this.
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Trina Turk skirt $129
a-line skirt
IN THE NEWEST
SHAPE AND
LENGTH, IT'S
THE SKIRT THAT
REALLY WORKS
I always love seeing things that modest dressers have always worn suddenly hailed as the "Newest Shape!" "Newest length!" Yep, it's a knee-length skirt. How refreshingly novel!

As I admonished you in this post about midi skirts, get 'em while the gettin's good!
It's much easier to shop for items when they're a hot ticket in style "trends."  When the rest of the fashion world is going gaga over mini skirts, knee length won't be as prevalent in the stores.  I may get this skirt. I really like the slightly a-line shape and the slightly 60's mod styling.  In a sturdy stretch ponte knit it'll last for-absolutely-ever.

Remember, the Nordstrom Anniversary sale is NEW fall season items at sweet sale prices. Here are a few other things I'm digging from the preview.
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McGinn boucle' jacket $229
Fantastic blazer. And I swoon for anything that smacks of Chanel (at a price I can afford.)
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Vince Camuto boot $159
Gorgeous brown tall boots.  Because as I mentioned last year... the boots zip!!
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Mackage wool coat $389
Because I shrunk out of all my coats last year and I love the asymmetrical closure and cool leather and knit sleeve details.
But I want it in black.
 
 
Happy Friday! Let's translate some more Spring 2011 Trends, shall we?
There are a lot of trends right now, you can pretty much choose from any decade and find something fun to work into your wardrobe right now.
30's - bias cut dresses and strong shoulders
40's - tailored dresses and lovely waved hairstyles
50's - full skirts or wiggle dresses
60's - mod anything and dark-lined eyes
70's - tunics, high-waist flare jeans, wedge sandals
80's - color blocking and touches of neon
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One trend I am MOST excited about is anything Asian inspired.

I think the prints are gorgeous and the clean lines so elegant.

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For years, I've been dying to get a silk brocade cheongsam/qipao as my go-to cocktail dress. 

Now that I'm at a healthy weight and won't look like a stuffed sausage in it, I just need to decide on the color!

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You can look for a modern cut with an Asian twist to the print or decorative details like frog clasps.

Or go traditional, like this top.  I have one in a deep turquoise that I love to wear with jeans for date night.

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You can work in just a little touch, like this tassled pendant neckace.

Or a brocade print on a clutch.

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Something like this would make a great spring jacket!

This timeless styles and prints can work no matter your age.  It's all in how you style them!

Me? I love Asian prints mixed with either modern wavy hair or swoopy 40's styles.

I definitely suggest adding a piece to your wardrobe.  It's especially easy if you have a Chinatown near you.

A few designer inspirations from Style.com.
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L'Wren Scott Oriental Dress
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As requested, I am working on a post about how to correctly utilize coverage tees.  While you're waiting, study these examples I found today.
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Appropriate Application of a Coverage Tee

It's fine. The neckline is way too high, which has long been another gripe I have with these undershirts.  Modesty does not have to mean covering from your collar bone to your wrist!  But the overall look is fine.

She'd look much slimmer if the bottom of the white shirt wasn't poking out under the sweater.

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Criminal Application of a Coverage Tee


No, no, no, NO NO!!!
What the...???
On what planet is this attractive?!?
Nothing in this solar system.
Nor anywhere the Hubble will ever find.


As I said last week in "How NOT to wear coverage tees," some clothes just won't work.  This looks like she put her swimsuit on over her cover up because she's REALLY worried about sunburn.

These examples came from Apricot Apparel, a company I had not heard of until today. I'm sure they make a fine product (lower the dang neckline!) but their marketing campaign is par for the course with their competitors.

Yes, there was more head bashing when I saw this shot.

 
 
It's a very gray and hazy winter morning which I figure is the perfect time to touch on the It color for the coming seasons.  A while back Pantone (the universal color gods) deemed Honeysuckle the Color of the Year for 2011.  And it's gorgeous.
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Why do we care?  Because the colors that Pantone chooses will show up everywhere.
From fashion to business marketing and design to paint and home furnishings.
There's a whole intricate system behind how the Pantone group chooses the popular colors and that gets organized and communicated out to the world.
Now, you can obviously wear any color you want, but I find it interesting the thought process behind the choices.  Definitely influenced by what's going on in the world.  Here's an excerpt of what Pantone has to say about Honeysuckle -
________________________________________________________________________________________
A Color for All Seasons
Courageous. Confident. Vital. A brave new color, for a brave new world. Let the bold spirit of Honeysuckle infuse you, lift you and carry you through the year. It’s a color for every day – with nothing “everyday” about it.

While the 2010 color of the year, Turquoise, served as an escape for many, Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.

“Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum. The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar. Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer.”
________________________________________________________________________________________
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I often choose what I'm going to wear based on color and how that color affects my mood.  Or the mood I WANT to have. And since it's a color I already like, I can get behind the "brave new color for a brave new world" mantra.

I don't know how the Honeysuckle color is translating to individual monitors, but it's a lovely reddish-pink. In all it's varying degrees of intensity it could flatter pretty much anybody.

I really like this cardigan from Gap.  Might have to add it to the new wardrobe list.

What are your thoughts? Love it? Hate it? Jury still out?
 
 
We all know it's easy to shop for things when they are currently "trendy." You're able to find variations in many more stores and at many more price points.
With retro still having it's fabulous moment - such is the current case for mid length, calf length, below-the-knee, knee length skirts! So get 'em while they're hot and easy to find. I'm sure the mini's will be mounting a comeback attack soon.
Below are some options and style tips.
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Decade-by-decade skirt - Anthropologie


1 - Know your measurements!
If you're shopping online, never assume that where the skirt hits the model in the picture is where it's going to hit you. Most models are much taller than the average woman. Check the fit description. Most sites give the actual measurements of the garment - at the very least length.

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embellished skirt - Dillards


2 - Think ahead!
There are options available right now for everything from spring/summer to fall/winter and all the associated events. Check your closet. Are there items you'd like to replace or holes you'd like to fill with these skirts? Did you have "nothing to wear" to a party this last Christmas? Grab something fancy and you'll be set for next.

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leather full skirt - Topshop


Just had to throw this one in because it's so very Louis Vuitton fall runway at a fraction of the cost!
I am DYING for this skirt!!

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Diane von Furstenberg Marta skirt - Bloomingdales


3- Be conscious of fit!
If you're 5'1" and super petite, avoid longer skirts with too much volume as they can overwhelm your frame - making you look shorter and wider. I'm 5'6" with hips that don't hide so I like most of my longer skirts to sit higher at the waist.



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Manolo Blahnik

4- No frumpy shoes!
You don't have to go high heeled with these skirts but you sure as shootin' can't go clunky-chunky-frump-a-dump! A vast offering of kitten heels is cropping up with this resurgence of lady-like proportions. A longer skirt begs for a pointed toe to keep the leg-line long.

You can find this length right now in business-ready pencil skirts, casual knit skirts, full skirts, circle skirts, tiered skirts, dresses... and so on!  To quickly find some options for this post I hit shopstyle.com and stylefind.com and searched "calf length skirts."
 
 
With fall fashion always reemerge real shoes. Farewell flip-flops, hello fabulous footwear! 
As we've been discussing, there is a strong resurgence in fashion right now to the classic and ladylike.  You may not know it, but shoes with menswear detailing have always been classic for women.  These shoes ground more feminine styles and offer a nice dash of masculinity, which just serves to make the ladylike look even more lovely.

Details to look for are:
  • Classic loafer details like fringe, tassles, flaps and bands across the vamp    (think penny loafers or either of the brown loafers below)
  • Buckles and laces
  • Oxford and wingtip edging
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Above are the shoes in my own wardrobe that fit the bill.  Clockwise from top:
  • Tod's lavender heeled loafers with fringe & buckle details
  • Franco Sarto dark brown heeled loafer
  • Nazareno Gabrielli red mid-heel loafer with wing-tip detailing and buckle
  • Michael Kors camel espadrille flat with fringe & lacing
  • Enzo Angiolini light brown heeled loafer
  • Tod's black flat skimmer with flap and buckle
If you're wanting to add this classic look to your own shoe collection, here are some options currently available and a few styling tips.
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Charles David - heels.com










The look can be as over-the-top...

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Ralph Lauren - Nordstrom


... or as subtle as you like.

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Sam Edelman - heels.com

Style Tip:  Adding even a little heel makes the look decidedly feminine. When wearing flats, make sure there is an aspect of feminine (round toe, girly color, espadrille edging, etc.) to keep from looking like you're wearing your husband's shoes.

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Not Rated - heels.com


Remember, we're looking for menswear details.  Things like wingtip edging or laces as seen here.

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Vince Camuto - heels.com


Lacing and oxford styling here.
(Love the colors, not a huge fan of the peep toe "shootie" style.)

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Restricted - heels.com


Loafer banding and studs detail this suede wedge peep toe.

Style Tip: You can leave your legs bare or pair with tights to brave the cold weather, even thin socks (scrunched to ankle or knee-high) can be cute but beware looking too "school girl."

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Nine West


Sturdy buckles instead of bows nod toward menswear.

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Miz Mooz - Nordstrom

Style Tip:  You can pair these shoes with anything from skirts and dresses to trousers and jeans.
 
When wearing with pants, choose a shoe in a feminine color or with a higher heel or fancy details to avoid looking too androgynous.

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Jeffrey Campbell - Nordstrom


Whether you go subtle or all-out, a little menswear detailing is truly timeless.

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Bass - Nordstrom


And finally, a fabulous take on the classic saddle shoe that I've never seen before!
How adorable are these, you ask? I'll let you know as soon as they arrive.  Oh yes, at only $68 they had to be mine. They also come in cocoa.

Click through any of the pictures to our shopping section if you want a pair of your own, or would like to hunt down versions of the other sassy shoes you've seen.


 
 
The flip side of yesterday's feminine coin is of course, menswear!
I've always been a fan of suits for women (we can use the individual pieces much easier than our male counterparts!) but that's not the only way to interpret the "trend." 
As with the full skirts - I don't think menswear ever really goes out of style.
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Antonio Berardi


One of the easiest way to incorporate menswear is with tailored details. 
Think sharp shoulders and lapels. 
Straight lines.

This would be great with a lace camisole!

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Balmain


Keep the fit close (not baggy) to prevent looking like you raided your husbands closet.
And a boxy shape never really flattered anyone.

Although stealing his white shirt or his belt to "tie" around your waist is fine! For a great translation of this trend try your best jeans with one of your husbands white shirts under a fitted vest and a great pair of heels.  Or, if the shirt is quite large on you, leave it unbuttoned and wear it like a wrap shirt over an embellished camisole (belt firmly or tuck it in to keep the shirt from coming unwrapped and flapping free.)

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Loewe


It's easy to bring a little menswear to your wardrobe with your outerwear. 

I love that they kept the model's hair and heels feminine. I'm not a fan of looking too androgynous. Slicked back hair, manly shoes, and no makeup just doesn't work for me.  But wearing oxfords with a cute plaid skirt would be brilliant!

Combining the masculine and feminine elements makes the look. 
Lace with pinstripes.
Sharp tailoring with a soft blouse. 
A full suit with a sparkly clutch.

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This isn't the first time fashion has resurrected Annie Hall and it won't be the last.
Have fun with it!
 
 
We're back to our regularly scheduled programming - discussing the Fall Trends!  Here are the promised designer takes on the full skirts. Be prepared to be bombarded with lots of inspirational photos!
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Louis Vuitton

There were tons of iterations on the fall runways but my favorite was Louis Vuitton. 

Marc Jacobs' interpretation didn't just call to me but grabbed me and said, "Wear me. Looooove me."


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Louis Vuitton


He did wonderful, wearable plaids.  I adore plaid.
And his shoes were so fantastic! (We'll be talking about the fall shoes next week.)



As I mentioned in my post last week about full skirts I already have, I'll be making a few circle skirts and plaid is most definitely on the list.

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Louis Vuitton


And the brilliant man translated the full skirt into LEATHER! That is sumptuous creamy leather you're looking at. How fantastic is that?

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LouisVuitton


Here's another leather stunner. 

And those gloves!  I did not buy a pair of opera length gloves from Talbots last year and I still regret it. 

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Louis Vuitton


How about a menswear pinstripe?  Love it!

And I REALLY love the handbags. 
I always choose structured bags over slouchy/Hobo-style bags.

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Important style notes!
1.  The full skirt should NOT hit above the knee.  That would translate to prom.

2.  The waist should hit at your waist, not sit low on your hips, otherwise you'll lose the whole hour-glass effect.

3.  Keep the top slim fitting to balance the fullness on the bottom. Remember - fashion is a matter of proportions.

4.  The full skirt can be worn loose or given a little structure and extra fullness with a crinoline/petticoat.  Don't fear the crinoline!

5.  If you're over 50, pair the skirt with a modern top, shoes and accessories to avoid the "Poor thing, she's living in the past." look.  A plain, fitted t-shirt, denim jacket or shrunken blazer will work perfect.


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Prada


A few other offerings.  From Prada.
The full skirt can be part of a dress as well!

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Paul Smith


From Paul Smith. 
Love the sheer overlay!  My toddlers would destroy it but I still love it!

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Luisa Beccaria


From Luisa Beccaria.
The skirt can be tiered for a little more fun.

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And lest you think this trend is "new", here are just a few shots from Donna Karan's SPRING 2008 and this years resort show. 
She had lots of wonderful full skirts two years ago!
Like I said last week, for anyone wanting to dress classic and feminine, the full skirt never goes out of style.

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Donna Karan


I really love the extra wide waistbands!

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Graphic prints work well even with all the volume.

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Donna Karan


Velvet!!

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Another graphic print with a lovely lacy top.  Fabulous styling.

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Donna Karan


Love the ethereal touch from the sheer material.  I am envisioning a sheer skirt like this over a contrasting layer.

Hope you enjoyed that look at some lovely femininity!  And I hope you give the full skirts a fair shake.  Try one and you just might fall in love like I did.
 
 
Hi ho! Chief Frump Fighter here, reporting to you from the land of "CL" - as in My Closet! Back today with another scintillating piece on how I personally am styling the fall trends. Here's my report on the Camel-color Trend.   Today, we're talking about full skirts!
Isn't it interesting how financial difficulties always seem to turn the styles back to classic, feminine silhouettes?  It makes sense.  When people are really watching where their pennies are going they naturally want to invest in timeless pieces that they'll get a lot of use out of. 
That, and the fact that Mad Men has put every designer and every consumer in a retro mood!!  And while I was born in the correct technological era, I definitely missed the correct fashion era by about 50 years. I love me some 40's and 50's fashion.
So... bring on the skirts!! 
Full- and pencil skirts are ultra current right now, though for the modest dresser I don't think either ever goes out of style. 
Displayed in all their glory on my cushy chair-and-a-half I present - my skirts.
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Nearly all were bought ages ago.  Some are more full than others.  In the back from L-R is the more springy set, although I really like a white/pastel skirt with black boots in winter.
  • Talbots pink/white striped seersucker wrap with lovely floral embroidery
  • Ecolissimo wrap I scored at a street fair in Park City a month or two ago
  • Tribu floral
  • United Colors of Benetton with inverted pleats and beaded waistband. (This is the first white skirt I ever bought. I had been on the hunt for years for "the perfect white skirt" and finally found it in a Benetton in Poland while vacationing there with my family.)
In the middle L-R are -
  • Ann Taylor Loft floral. With the black accents around the flowers this looks great with my black boots and black fitted cardigan.
  • Max & Co.floral wrap skirt. It looks like a strapless dress in this pic but it has these really cool long laces that wrap around the waist numerous times. It's really full and I love the wide waistband.
  • Anne Klein polka-dot skirt that my mom shrunk out of and I quickly stole. It is super light cotton voile and has a black lining underneath.  I love pairing this with a black top and red heels or a red top and black heels.
In the foreground L-R are -
  • White House/Black Market embroidered and sequined. This skirt always makes me want to dance. I was wearing this skirt the first time my future-husband and I sat next to each other at church.
  • Carmen Marc Valvo STUNNING ivory pleated piece of beautiful. Another steal from my mom and she scored it Saks Off Fifth. She's a smart woman and bought two - one in a smaller size that she shrunk into. Heaven bless that store. I'm just a few more workouts away from fitting into this skirt and I'm drooling over the outfits to come!
  • Sunny Taylor black embroidered that is impossible to see in the picture. The applique is very "Eastern European" to me, which also makes it fit nicely with the "global" trend going on right now.  I think that's a stupid name for a trend but essentially it means incorporating some element of fashion from a different part of the world than you live.  I won't be sporting a full kimono but an obi belt is definitely on my list to buy or DIY.  Probably a version in leather. And I will be pulling out my gorgeous German Christmas dress again this year.  It weighs a ton but it's so fun!
  • And not pictured is the embroidered suede skirt from the last Styling the Fall Trends post.
I also plan on sewing a circle skirt or two. I have some fabric I love and am hoping it will be enough for one.  The extremely talented seamstress Casey put up a vintage pattern on on her site after making this skirt.  And the always talented Dana posted a modern version tutorial with an easy elastic waistband.  I'll be trying both! Maybe the vintage version in a heavier houndstooth for fall/winter and the elastic waist version in something light and swirly for spring/summer.
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Lest I forget - and speaking of retro - this little dilly of a dress found it's way to me a couple of weeks ago.  Sigh! How's that for a full skirt?  I won the Flour Clothing giveaway from Cardigan Empire and I don't think a faster order was ever placed. I just need to tweak my crinoline a bit, find the perfect yellow belt and I'm in business!
Although my navy blue wide military belt will also add a nice edge to such a dainty, girly dress.  We'll have to see!

We'll look at some designer takes on the full skirt tomorrow.  In the mean time, I'd love to know what you think of them?  Are they can't-live-without-ems in your wardrobe or can't-ever-see-myself-in-ems?