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Remember when MTV first began, hair was teased to the max, games were played on Ataris, jeans were acid-washed and styles were over the top? Well, we may have upgraded our toys and TVs, but fashion this fall is throwing it back to the decade of music videos. Love it or hate it, some of those old styles are back, but in a more sophisticated and updated fashion.

Welcome back the shoulder pad, or at least a version of an exaggerated shoulder cut on suits, blazers, jackets, blouses and dresses.  It’s even optional on some garments, and best worn exposed on others. But if you’re worried that some of the trends returning for fall should have ended with the 80s, don’t fret, the cuts and looks have been modernized and all these 80s-inspired trends don’t have to be worn at once, says Amy Salinger, a stylist and personal shopper in Chicago and New York City.

What both men and women should have in their wardrobe though is a nice leather motorcycle jacket because this season leather is both everywhere and goes with nearly everything from mini-dresses, to jeans, to plaids, to cocktail dresses to formal wear. In fact, leather is the it fabric this season making its way onto dresses, shoes, pants and another necessity for the women—leather leggings.

While thinking back to all the fashions of the 80s may be daunting, don’t worry, we’re going to take it a step at a time, and one trend at a time. Remember to not over do it, but embrace one trend at a time.

Shades that scale the spectrum

This fall, the hues are a bit more muted, but have their wild side.

“It’s definitely a darker season than in the past, and I think that’s because it’s reflective of the current times,” says Kelly Golden, owner of neapolitan, 715 Elm St., in Winnetka.

Golden says the punches of color you’ll see look good on everyone like plums, violets and steel grays. These hues are seen in clothing and in handbags.Steel gray will act as the new neutral in addition to black, says Laura Schara, Macy’s Fashion office manager and trend correspondent. Schara says hot pinks, neon pinks will also add great color your fall wardrobe. For men, just think shades of blues and navy’s.

Returning from seasons’ past are jewel-toned and metallic items that work best with simple, structured pieces.

Kirstie Lytwynec, vice president and general manager of Neiman Marcus in Northbrook, says, “Metallic pops add a touch of glamour to many of the deep colors of the season and most importantly in shoes.”

Adding to the neon’s, pinks and whatnot, red will also be a great color showing in bags, sunglasses and shoes, Lytwynec says.

Leather everything

It’s all about leather: from the motorcycle jacket, to the must-have pencil skirt, to pants, to leggings, leather will be everywhere and worked in new ways into dresses and belts.

Salinger says throwing on a leather jacket over a mini or cocktail dress is chic and adorable.

Nicolette Prpa, owner of SHE Boutique, 483 Central Ave., in Highland Park, says, “Pair everything with your leather jacket. It’s the middle jacket. It can go underneath your big fall coat. It can throw over a dress, dress it up or down. You can pair your leather jacket with everything from jeans to an embellished dress. It just really makes your outfit look cool.”

Leathers will also be paired with bold studs, zippers and other bold metal embellishments, Schara says.

And while the pencil skirt remains a staple in any women’s wardrobe, it’s going to be a leather one this fall, says Prpa.

Power dressing

“It’s definitely a darker season than in the past, and I think that’s because it’s reflective of the current times,” says Kelly Golden, owner of neapolitan, 715 Elm St., in Winnetka.

Staying in tune with the 80s, this season it’s all about power dressing. Salinger says think Samantha Jones from “Sex & The City: The Movie,” bright neon pink power suits, paired with tons of gold chains, and jewel-toned skirts with structured tops.

Those pieces will also have exaggerated and manipulated shoulders, less of the square shape from the 80s, and more of an inverted triangle, structured shape, Salinger says. Don’t be afraid to show off the shoulder either. Salinger says it’s a great way to add a bit of subtle sexiness to your look.

This bold shoulder look will look great in blazers, blouses and jackets that continue in the over-sized, but fitted style, and can be paired with really structured pieces underneath.

Prpa says you’ll see leather patches on these, as well, like on the elbows of the jacket.

Men, you’re not excused from this category, either. You’ll also see some of the similar styling, especially more fitted, skinnier suits, with the return of the double-breasted suit, and more skinny fitted professional looks.

“Just because looks are getting skinnier doesn’t men guys have to lose their rough edge,” says Salinger. “Leathers a great way to keep it rough and manly.”


Mad plaid

There’s a bit of Western-inspiration this season, too. Plaid, which has been a huge fabric in the past year, will continue to be a staple in both men and women’s wardrobes.

“Look for bold plaid patterns in outerwear and dresses. A casual trend is the plaid button-down shirt paired back to skinny jeans,” says Schara.

Men, look for blazers and jackets in plaid fabrics.

Remember when MTV first began, hair was teased to the max, games were played on Ataris, jeans were acid-washed and styles were over the top? Well, we may have upgraded our toys and TVs, but fashion this fall is throwing it back to the decade of music videos. Love it or hate it, some of those old styles are back, but in a more sophisticated and updated fashion.

Welcome back the shoulder pad, or at least a version of an exaggerated shoulder cut on suits, blazers, jackets, blouses and dresses.  It’s even optional on some garments, and best worn exposed on others. But if you’re worried that some of the trends returning for fall should have ended with the 80s, don’t fret, the cuts and looks have been modernized and all these 80s-inspired trends don’t have to be worn at once, says Amy Salinger, a stylist and personal shopper in Chicago and New York City.

What both men and women should have in their wardrobe though is a nice leather motorcycle jacket because this season leather is both everywhere and goes with nearly everything from mini-dresses, to jeans, to plaids, to cocktail dresses to formal wear. In fact, leather is the it fabric this season making its way onto dresses, shoes, pants and another necessity for the women—leather leggings.

While thinking back to all the fashions of the 80s may be daunting, don’t worry, we’re going to take it a step at a time, and one trend at a time. Remember to not over do it, but embrace one trend at a time.

Shades that scale the spectrum

This fall, the hues are a bit more muted, but have their wild side.

Indulge a little

The economy might be in bad shape, but that doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to be. While it may seem hard to buy some more expensive pieces, they’ll be worth it for seasons to come.

This season is also about being over the top and opulent with rich fabrics. Pieces like fur vests and jackets may cost a bit more, but will be great investment pieces that won’t lose their style down the road.

“[Fur is] an investment piece and a piece you’re going to wear and hand it down,” says Golden.

For the more riskier fashionistas, the harem pant returns this fall, but if the pant scares you, Prpa carries a less exaggerated version. These pants are best worn, again, with a very structured top, Salinger says.

Walk this way

Riding boots will be the most popular type of boot this fall, but Prpa says, they’ll go over the knee and be embellished with thick zippers.

Salinger says big platform boots and shoes will also remain in style this season. Look for embellished shoes with studs, zippers and other metals.

Dress it up

Accessories this fall are playing the same tune as seasons past: big, embellished statement pieces.

“It’s all about the big chunky necklaces,” says Golden. “A must-have jewelry piece for the fall.”

Adding a statement necklace to an existing dress is a new way to update your look and make it fresh, Golden says.

Big handbags return, as well. Look for muted colors like silver, ivories and blacks, Prpa says. For the more daring, look for brighter pinks and reds.

And when the temperature drops and fur isn’t an option, coats this fall revert right back to the 80s, too. Big, enveloping, menswear-inspired coats made the runways, but the look doesn’t work on everyone.

Salinger suggests browsing thrift shops to obtain the 80s, big coat look, or for even bold jewelry pieces from the 80s.

Golden offers a less retro coat that are quilted from Moncler, which may be more practical for some.

—Pioneer Press, August 2009

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