So why do I like fall so much? Well, Halloween is my favorite holiday; if it wasn't already apparent, I love dressing up. I also love layering, and all of the different textures and colors that you can incorporate into an outfit when your main goal isn't just to be as naked as possible while staying within the boundaries of the law. I love the colors, both in clothes and in nature, rich and vibrant and mellow and jewel-like. And the food. Roasted squash and mashed sweet potatoes and creamy mac and cheese. (My mouth is watering just writing this.) In the fall, I always have this sense of anticipation, the way one year is winding down and moving into another one. It's kind of morbid, actually, the way it makes me contemplate death.
Since autumn means so much to me, I'm spending a lot of time thinking about what I want to wear. This is actually kind of a practical maneuver for me as well, since I usually wear fall clothes well into spring the next year. I guess I never really grew out of the back-to-school mentality.
There are certain things that I've noticed popping up again and again when I think about what I want to be wearing this fall. Glamour, tempered by a rustic sensibility; luxurious fabrics like silk and satin, worn side by side with nubby knits and tweeds; shades of dusty brown and green, gray and black, accented by pops of vibrant red and green and blue; a hint of the morbidity that I love running through the whole thing.
Of course, I'm not going to buy an entire new wardrobe. I've got some great pieces that I'm excited to bust out again once the weather will cooperate, and so any new items that I get will have to integrate with what I already have. I don't really see that being a problem, though, since the sort of things that are influencing me this year are things that I've enjoyed and been inspired by for a long time.
One of the things that I'm most excited to wear again is the baby blue Lilli Ann swing coat I got myself for Christmas last year. It is so beautiful. I also got great deals on a vintage stole that I believe is fox, as well as a capelet made of some fur I don't know enough to identify. I picked up a couple of vintage suits just as the weather was warming up, so I haven't had a chance to wear them yet, and some of my favorite hats are wool or felt. I also have this crazy plaid bondage gown that's like something out of a 90s goth wet dream. I've had it for a while now, and I always say that I'm going to wear it somewhere other than a costume party; this might be the year that I finally do.
Keeping in mind what I've already got, I'm trying to tailor my influences to fit what's already in my closet, while still aspiring to something different and exciting.
1. God Save McQueen
|This dress is my favorite dress. Like, ever, really. The tulle and the embroidery and the neckline, all of it just makes me think of a princess in a fairytale.|
|Ignoring the winged headdress (or not, because that is awesome), a fur collared, knee length tweed suit with a high necked blouse is actually both practical and luxurious.|
|Love the plaid, love the leather, love the attitude.|
|I would probably reinterpret this as a feathered hat, although I would love the wings.|
His Fall 2006 Ready-to-Wear collection is one of the first fashion shows that I ever saw online, and it's one that's stayed with me through all the intervening years. It's a little 40s, a little bit Victorian lady of the manor, a little bit Scottish fantasy heroine, and it is, in short, exactly what I want to be wearing this fall.
40s style tweed suits
Plaid skirts and dresses
Beading and embroidery
Heeled oxford booties
2. I just want to be your Teddy Girl
|A group of teddy girls walking past some teddy boys in London. Love the cameo brooches and the ladylike tweed suit on the girl on the far right.|
|That attitude. This girl just looks so cool to me.|
|I think this is probably a modern editoral shot, but I love the military jacket and the flat, comfortable shoes.|
|The tulle skirt, the plaid wool jacket, the ribbon around the neck - just perfect.|
|Another modern editorial, but I like this more masculine take on it.|
Teddy Girls (and their male counterparts, Teddy Boys) were a youth subculture in Britain in the 1950s. Inspired by both contemporary trends and Edwardian fashion, they were frequently photographed in the ruined remains of buildings that had been bombed out in the blitz. The style was revived in the 80s and took elements from the Goth and New Romantic scene.
I love the romantic, Edwardian influence to the aesthetic, as well as the masculine meets feminine quality. Along with full or hobble skirts, cameos, and ruffled lace blouses, they would wear rolled jeans and flat shoes, and a lot of the photos show women with short, fluffy curls.
Fitted, high waisted, jeans, rolled to show the ankle
Flat shoes like moccasins, brogues, saddle shoes, or creepers
High necked blouses with ruffle or lace details
Tweed suits and jackets
3. From Russia, With Love
|Photo by Margarita Kareva. I love the beautiful shawl and the long red skirt.|
|The firebird. The vibrant oranges and greens against the black background are stunning.|
|A Soviet era textile.|
|I would love to wear the layered skirts and coordinating prints that these three princesses are rocking. A beautiful print from Kate Baylay, a British artist. Check out the rest of her work at www.KateBaylay.com.|
|Babushka glamour, courtesy of Ulyana Sergeenko Couture.|
Russia is one of those places that I find fascinating. Lately it's been in the news for all the wrong reasons, and the history of the region is fraught, to say the least. From Tsarist era poverty to Soviet authoritarianism, serfdom, oppression, and famine have been all too common in Russia.
However, Russia is more than just its political history. They also have a fantastic culture, and some of the best literature, art, architecture, and ballet ever produced has come from them.
I love a lot of the folk art of Eastern Europe, but I find Russian folk art especially beautiful. Often on a black background, it's vividly colored, intricate, and dense. Although folk art and folk tales were censored in the early years of the Soviet Era for their Tsarist associations, the Soviet government later repurposed them to elevate Communist values.
I'm also really enamored of Babushka style these days. Although the traditional Russian grandmother style can be seen as dowdy, a beautiful scarf tied under the chin, or an embroidered shawl draped across the shoulders, are a beautiful way to make it through some harsh weather. An apron layered over a floral skirt is an opportunity to bring another fun pattern into an outfit. I'm also planning on taking a cue from the Russians, with their notoriously harsh winters, and busting out the vintage furs that have been languishing in my closet for the past several months.
Red dresses and skirts
Black dresses or skirts with bright embroidery
Brightly printed scarves to tie under the chin
An embroidered shawl or wrap
Like I said, I'm being kind of ambitious. Am I actually going to look like a Russian fairytale princess, or Alexander McQueen's highland nymph? Probably not. However, I'm really excited to start putting together looks that incorporate elements of that, and I'm feeling downright excited to get dressed come fall.
So, how about you guys? What are some of your influences? Do you like putting together a mood board or a set of images like this, or does your style tend to evolve more organically? I would love to see some images of what your ideal fall wardrobes would look like in the comments.