Growing up, each school year invariably started with my mom photographing me and my back to school outfit. Look through our family album and you’ll find a series of pictures of an awkward, backpack-bearing girl at various ages. There’s me going to kindergarten with an alphabet printed dress. Next is a middle schooler who just wants to fit in, completely decked out in Abercrombie and Fitch. Oh and I can’t forget my high school attempt to be “indie,” back when I mistook clashing for fashion.
Regardless the age or even the clothes themselves, each picture documented what I saw as a transformational outfit. On the first day of school, you could present a “new you,” one that had grown and bettered themselves during the summer months. For me, the last week of summer was spent selecting the perfect outfit because a new look could make a new person.
The beginning of the semester presents an opportunity to at least change the way we present ourselves. Whether you want to be bolder, edgier or more sophisticated, fall has a few key pieces that will transform your look and your life.
This season, transformation is all about playing with lengths. Mini skirts and dresses are a tried and true favorite that show off those legs you’ve been toning all summer, and the maxi has proven itself a chic staple. However, mid-length pieces that hit somewhere between the knee and mid-shin are this season’s hottest trend. In muted colors and soft, untailored fabrics such as chiffon, the midi skirt has both the elegance of a maxi and playfulness of a mini. Perhaps the best thing about this style is its versatility. Pair it with simple tank tops, comfy color-block sweaters, or hip leather jackets for a look that will take you all the way through November with an effortless coolness.
The next step in changing your look is changing your prints. Replace girly florals and cheesy graphics with art deco inspired prints that are more architectural and geometric in nature. Unlike yesterday’s popular patterns, these are genderless, timeless, yet completely fashion forward. Think simple shapes and subdued colors in unexpected combinations. On a soft button up or a pair of skinny trousers, these prints will give you a look that is simultaneously mature and playful.
When revamping your look, accessories are key, as one simple piece can change multiple different outfits. For those of you cursed (or should I say blessed?) with poor vision, your style-transforming accessory this fall is not only obvious, but also as much fun as a game of “Where’s Waldo?” That’s because the ultra-hip and affordable eyeglass company Warby Parker has rededicated their Revolver Black Matte Monroe Frame to the popular children’s book character while he celebrates his 25th birthday. These thick-rimmed circular glasses are classic yet hip, and surprisingly flattering for many different face shapes. Fortunately for us, they can be paired with more than just a red and white striped shirt and beanie.
For those of us with 20/20 vision there are luckily a slew of other accessories with magical, look-transforming powers.
Take, for example, the skinny braided belt. Following fall trends, these belts come in bright colors as well as more neutral tones. The best part? Their limitless loopholes allow them to be worn around your hips, your waist, or even your head. One simple belt can transform any outfit by cinching and defining all the right spots.
If you buy one piece of jewelry all fall, make it a collar necklace. These striking pieces imitate the collar of your favorite button up shirt, but with the high shine and style of your favorite necklace. Coming in a range of different styles, these necklaces can be sophisticated with smooth metal or edgy with spikes or chains. Wear them with a simple top to add some shine and style to an otherwise dull outfit.
My personal favorite look this season is thick eyebrows. Transform not only your style but your looks by creating strong brows that frame your face and eyes. For some of you, that means putting down the tweezers for a couple months, but most of us can fake Hepburn-esque brows with just a few tools from Walgreens. If your brows have a tendency to be unruly, start by brushing them out with clear mascara to help them stay in place. Next is where all the magic happens. Take an eyebrow pencil slightly lighter than the shade of your brows, and lightly color in the areas where skin peaks through. The trick is to make this as subtle as possible, so don’t press down too hard, and don’t, by any means, draw outside of your natural shape.
Start your year strong, fashionistas!
Maggie Schafer is an English/Creative Writing and Sociology major. Let her know your opinions on the latest trends at firstname.lastname@example.org.