A belated welcome back to campus for you from your other fashion columnist for the semester! My name is Emma Austin and I am lucky enough to be back providing you with tips and tricks to channel your most stylish self this year. I wrote for this column last fall, but then went abroad to Seville, Spain. Now, I can’t wait to be back at The Badger Herald and the fashion column. But enough about me!

The sun has set on New York City, and Fashion Week 2012 is officially over. Sad. But we were lucky that dozens and dozens of talented designers showed their skills and provided us with looks to last us until summer comes around once again. Yes, for fashion newbies, fall Fashion Week actually promotes the lines for the upcoming spring. 

I hope you’ve been seeing the hashtag #nyfw a little on Twitter, but if not, I’m here to recap the various collections and hottest trends to emerge from the shows. A few notable trends emerged on the runways over the last week, and lucky for you, they are all trends you can implement right now, regardless of the season. Better yet, they aren’t anything too extreme, meaning you might have some “fashion-forward” pieces in your closet right now!

First, something many designers embraced was the use of leather. This is always a fun one. However, as college students with a limited budget (and thus a limited wardrobe), it is sometimes tricky to implement. One of the ways to incorporate this trend is to kick your look up a notch with a leather jacket. And as fashionable as it is, it will actually be very practical as the temp gets cooler. Leather jackets are perfect to throw on for a dinner date or a night out, and besides adding an element of “badass” to your look, they will also guard against those chillier nights.

As the year goes on, look for lighter leather pieces that come in softer and brighter colors. If you feel adventurous, look for tops that incorporate leather. If you’re nervous about this, try just a little bit of leather at first, like some on the sleeves, etc. And if you’re really daring, try for an entirely leather top or tank. To lighten up a leathery look, add feminine touches like a light colored bag or clutch and natural makeup. 

Another way to use leather is to invest in a great pair of boots. While stylish, a sturdy and comfortable pair of boots will be very practical for many different occasions. I do understand our wallets are a bit emptier than they were perhaps this summer, but you won’t regret splurging a bit on boots. A pair of uncomfortable boots is an unworn pair of boots, and your money will have been wasted. Spending that extra money will get you a pair that is generally cuter, of higher quality and will hold up better for the many miles walked around campus and up and down State Street. A riding boot that hits right below the knee is always a great choice, but feel free to try out an ankle-high boot, which are very popular right now, but more on the trendy side. Boots and skinny jeans is a classic look that will undoubtedly be popular this fall and winter.

Next up on the runways: stripes. For some, patterns might be more of a spring or summer complement, but there are definitely ways to rock a stripe in the colder months and with warmer colors. Typically when we think of stripes, we  think horizontal. Interestingly enough, designers this year tried to shake it up and incorporate distinctive stripes. For example, Marc Jacobs showed pieces with vertical stripes. Fun, different and flattering! Vertical stripes will tend to make you look taller and narrower, which is never a bad thing. Also don’t be afraid to try diagonal stripes, or even different kinds of stripes in the same piece. This is definitely an easy and unusual twist on a classic look – don’t expect stripes to ever completely go out of style.

As for colors, the standouts this year were red and black. Seems a bit strange for spring, but who am I to judge? Luckily, red and black are perfectly acceptable during the fall and winter months, and chances are you have pieces in these colors already hanging in your closet. Now is your chance to combine them. Red and black are strong colors, but will definitely help you stand out and can instantly bring your look to a new level.

To mix it up a bit, use red for the staple piece, like pants or a skirt, and pair it with a black top. Red skinny jeans exploded onto the casual fashion scene last year and remain a fun and simple way to make a statement. Pair a pair of red skinnies with ankle booties (black, tan or grey would all look great), a casual black top or sweater and a skinny belt and you’ve got a perfect fall outfit. Not too difficult, right?

I hope I was able to give you a little insight into the upcoming fashion trends in a way that you will be able to effortlessly incorporate them into your own daily style. And if you haven’t gotten enough, London Fashion Week started Friday. Keep up and let me know your thoughts!

Emma Austin is a senior majoring in journalism. Send comments, questions and column ideas to [email protected]

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