Fashion Fabulous Fall Picks
Styles that age as gracefully (and gleefully) as we do.
It’s that time of year again when Fall Fashion permeates the stores and fuels fashion reporting to mega proportions only to compete with this year’s election coverage. The seasonal urgency of “what to wear now” reminds me that one of the best parts of aging is that we have had years to hone our style. We don’t buy because trends dictate, but to refine and invigorate what we already enjoy wearing. And whenever we get confused or lose confidence in our appearance, we need only look to the Grande Dames Of Style who taught us the freedom of expression. They demonstrate that a sartorial bold gesture diminishes every wrinkle, bulge or droop that we would rather dismiss. They also show us that great style is ageless. The trends this season match their exuberance.
Why not wear a luxurious cape or a dramatically cut knit over your closet classics? Diana Vreeland, legendary editor and style icon, was known for dramatic simplicity. Here (above, left) she is at ease in 1936 wearing a fur cape on the streets of New York City. Fur-trimmed Cashmere Cape, $1595, Neiman Marcus. Fleece Jacket by Marianne Abelsson, $200, Museum of Modern Art.
Wallis Simpson and Millicent Rogers in Taos, 1930s. The brooch is the jewelry accessory this season, but it’s long been a trademark for great women of style. The bigger the better or pile them on. This is the time in our lives when we should delight in decorating ourselves with fantastic oversized jewelry—faux or otherwise. It adds a wallop of style to the simplest of clothes and is a mighty distraction from our not so favorite physical transitions. Brooches from Neiman Marcus, $125. to $585.
Nan Kempner and Mica Ertegun in 1993. A jacket adds instant flair to whatever its worn over, and it’s great fun to pair the unexpected. Velvet with jeans, tweeds with satin. This season loves jackets that are embellished with finery or cut dramatically in dazzling fabrics. RED Valentino Leopard Flower Jacket with peplum, Neiman Marcus $625.
Helen Gurley Brown, 1990. Photograph by Ron Galella/Wire Image. Helen Gurley Brown knew that women who wear feathers delight in being a girl. Fall’s fashion flirtation with this whimsical adornment is boundless—they fluff up skirts, dresses, shoes, bags, jewelry and vests. Barney’s NY CO Feather Top, $450.
Iris Apfel, 90, is the epitome of ageless style. Within the last few years her wardrobe was showcased in museum shows; she became a visiting professor at the University of Texas, launched jewelry collections for HSN and YOOX, make-up for MAC, and is now developing an eyeglass line for EyeBobs. She wears a mix of clothes and jewelry that she collected as she traveled globally through the many decades of her life. She fiercely believes that you should think for yourself and dress for your pleasure. Rara Avis by Iris Apfel “Kachina” Silvertone Hinged Bangle Bracelet, $49.95; Rounded Square Bangle Bracelet, $24.95; Multi-Row Beaded Goldtone Belt, $99.95.
Princess Grace of Monaco, 1956. When Princess Grace of Monaco used an oversized Hermes bag to cover her pregnancy, it quickly became dubbed the Kelly bag. Since then designers have been naming bags in tribute to their muses. But it’s rare for a “celeb” to create a line of cause-related bags, which is what Cornelia Guest, daughter of legendary style icon CZ Guest, has done with a collection that promotes animal-free style. Sebastian Weave Hobo bag woven in soft faux leather by Cornelia Guest, $295, Bloomingdale’s.
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart, 1940. “If you obey all the rules you’ll miss all the fun,” said Hepburn, one of the first style icons drawn to the comfortable chic of menswear, much to the amusement of Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart on the set of The Philadelphia Story. This season women’s fashion has renewed its vows to men’s sartorial style. Tweeds, pantsuits, and silk foulard prints often used in ties abound. But the biggest hit is the smoking slipper—another classic we’ve lifted from men’s closets. Not only are they comfortable, but they can be an amusing finish to an otherwise sober outfit. Stubbs & Wooten offers the best collection of handmade and bespoke slippers for men and women, $400.