2013 Fashion: What's Hot

The classics are great, but it might be time to hang some current styles in your closet.

September 18, 2013

Here are some trends that you’ll see hitting stores this fall.

Womenswear

While “Mad Men” still influences interior decorating, the silhouette for women this fall may regress a bit. Expect to see the defined, hourglass waistlines of the 1940s and ’50s make a comeback. You might also see the fuller, calf-length skirts and flared knee from these earlier eras replacing the pencil-skirt vibe of the 1960s retro wear.

You’ll find big, chunky collars on the suits and coats out this fall and winter. This look also lends itself well to the larger, rounded shoulders that are making their way into women’s clothing. Expect a wide variety of options for keeping warm, with cowl neck sweaters, chunky scarves, turtlenecks, and wrapped shawls. You’ll see natural fibers such as mohair transformed into luxurious knit patterns and oversized coats.

As for this season’s palette, expect to see some of these colors: powder pink, chocolate, lavender, oxblood red (or claret), navy blue, and ecru (or off-white). As for texture, you’ll see more lace, metallics, tweed, pinstripes, and youthful prints.

Menswear

Men’s styles obviously don’t change as much as women’s, but there are a few fashion trends to note.

This fall’s styles are somewhat minimalist, inspired by militaristic fashion. The double-breasted blazer will make a comeback along with more structured tailoring in general. Similar to womenswear, boxy coats will be featured prominently in the fall/winter collections for men.

Some patterns you might see in heavy rotation are tartan, check, hound’s tooth, and Prince of Wales. You’ll also see a fair amount of leather creeping back in. Some bolder choices include oversized prints (especially checks), as well as head-to-toe gray using different shades and textures to create a sense of depth.

If you’re looking for a new suit, style consultant Jennifer Mahoney notes a couple of fresh items to consider.

“If you’re going to get a two-piece suit, opt for the vest. Try a three-piece,” Mahoney says. “Also, a new color for suits is an ocean blue. It’s really cool, and it should stay around long enough” to make for a sound investment.

Beware the Trend Trap

We all want to look fashionable. But buyers and sellers aren’t going to choose you based solely on your trendiness. Andy Gilchrist, author of The Encyclopedia of Men’s Clothes, advises professionals to stick with the classics.

“It is not only less expensive to wear classic clothes that will last years instead of one season, but it projects an image of stability,” Gilchrist says. “Runway shows are often a way for designers to attract attention and get the media to write about them. Most of the designs shown on the runway shows never make it to the store.”

Some trends are especially difficult to incorporate in the business world. Kat Griffin warns that the sheer fabric styles that have been popular through the summer might be better left on the casual side of your wardrobe. If you do decide to mix them in, be careful with your layering choices: a beige or lace camisole could give the impression of visible underwear.

“I always tend to choose white or black camis,” Griffin says. “When you’re wearing something sheer, you don’t want them to wonder what they are seeing. ... Any time they have to think about it too much, it’s no good.”

And just because a color is in style doesn’t mean it should be universally adopted. Women’s style consultant Tamika Martell-Price notes that some colors, such as the pinks and yellows that were popular this spring and summer, can be tough to pull off if your skin tone is too similar to the color itself. (See our shopping tips for more on finding your perfect colors.) Thankfully, stores have built-in ways to help you look chic without offending your natural palette.

“Retailers do a really good job of giving you different shades to compensate for people who may not be able to pull off a certain color,” Price says. “And if you absolutely have to have that ‘it’ color, use accessories, or use it in a shoe or handbag.”

Color aside, Price says that being stylish isn’t the same as being trendy.

“It’s about classic lines, great style, and just infusing a trend here or there,” she says. “I want to look back on a picture from today in 40 years and I want to say, ‘I looked good; I was stylish.’”

Meg White

Meg White is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.