Speak for yourself

Fashions are bold, but not self-sacrificing


This fall, fashion is an art form again.

“Individual style is giving this generation a personality,” said Katryn Whitman, sophomore fashion merchandising major.

It’s not about the labels. It’s not about looking like you’ve spent a million dollars on your outfit. This fall, fashion dictates individualism – the clothes you wear should tell more about who you are than who designed them.

“(Your clothing) is an extension of who you are,” said Christine Iaderosa, part-time faculty member in the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. “Whatever you wear, you have to own it.”

Women’s fashion

“Designers are making lady-like look modern and chic,” Iaderosa said. “It’s not such a delicate look. It’s more bold.”

The goal is a formed, clean-cut silhouette, achieved by mixing contrasting shapes, she said. Wider tops should be paired with slim, more tailored bottoms.

Influences can be found from all over the latter half of the 20th century: ’70s business casual, the David Bowie glam of the ’80s, and even a hint of minimalism and Kurt Cobain grunge from the ’90s, said Rachel Bauer, sophomore fashion merchandising major.

“No wallet-sized clutches anymore,” Bauer said. “A clutch that’s functional is good. Overall, metal elements, almost like hardware (i.e. big industrial jewelry) is really in.”

Certain under-the-radar patterns are making outstanding comebacks as well, even though neutrals, with brilliant pops of color, are also trendy.

“Paisley and animal prints can be worn with everything,” Whitman said, “even plaid to a certain extent.”

In regard to accessories, a forward, cleaned-up look has emerged, Iaderosa added.

“Grunge is new now, and it’s polished up,” she said. “It has new direction.”

And in the footwear world, heels and wedges are out.

“Flats used to be ‘old-woman,’ but now you see them with everything,” Whitman added. “They’re so versatile.”

Above all, this may be the most important thing to remember this fall: Red is back with a vengeance and here to stay.

“The color red is never not going to be beautiful,” Bauer said. “You can put it with everything and it says something.”

Men’s fashion

“I think guys have had enough of dressing up. Everyone is just showing a more relaxed look,” said Eytan Hoeing, sophomore fashion merchandising major. “That means a cashmere sweater paired with Converses, not ripped jeans and a polo.”

The new look is James Dean-inspired, complete with Chuck Taylors, sweater vests and dark denim.

“Fashion is being done in a casual way, but it’s more tailored now,” said Allen Dearborn, design coordinator for Abercrombie & Fitch. “It’s all about dressing down to dress up.”

The overall look of menswear is much cleaner than past seasons. No more baggy jeans and flip-flops. The California surfer look went out with the last swell. Now the look is dark and chic, yet still comfortable.

“Less really is more,” Dearborn said. “Guys are thinking more about what they are putting on.”

Although rugbys and polos are still in, one thing that Hoeing said must be retired is the popped collar.

“If I see one more boy with a popped collar, I’m going to go up to him and put it down,” Hoeing said.

As with women’s clothing, it’s less about labels and more about distinctiveness.

“The level of customization is a big deal,” Dearborn said. “There has been a reduction of labels. It’s a backlash against the obviousness of the ’90s.”

Shoe companies are jumping on the “customization” bandwagon. Companies such as Vans and Converse now offer customers the chance to customize their sneakers online.

As a whole, men’s fashion is broader than past seasons, whether it’s personalized shoes or very subtle layering.

“We were limited before,” Dearborn said. “There’s more drama in fashion and more attention to detail.”

Contact features reporter Adam Griffiths at [email protected] and features correspondent Brittany Moseley at [email protected].