Falling for fashion

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September 19, 2005 // UPDATED 1:58 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Amy Anderson
Amy Anderson

The season's trends, and the Downtown retailers who bring them to you

Walking into a clothing store or hair salon this fall may feel more like stepping into the pages of a history book. This year's hottest trends are all about reusing and recycling from the olden days.

No need to fear -- shoulder pads and big hair are not coming back to haunt you. Instead, retailers are pushing classic, romantic style with a bohemian twist of bold, brown and bejeweled hues.

Before exchanging an entire wardrobe from last autumn, Marshall Field's Senior Event Specialist Laura Schara recommends hanging onto a few key items that still work for 2005.

"If you remember, the brooch and estate jewelry [were] really hot last season," Schara said. "You can use these items still if you place them on the toe of your shoes or handbag."

Never going out of style, denim should also be saved as part of the fall wardrobe. Look for jeans with plenty of added flair, from rhinestones to beads by designers such as True Religion and 7 For All Mankind.

What women want

Don't be surprised if the hard work at the gym over the summer is put into hiding during the fall. With a lack of revealing clothing from designers, the most runway hits sported Renaissance-era high collars, floor-grazing skirts, and oversized trenches.

Schara said that the Victorian look (minus the faint-inducing corset) is a versatile trend for urban workers.

"Frills and lace decorate dresses and blouses this fall. The definite must-have of the season is a velvet jacket," Schara said. "Combine a lace blouse with a velvet fitted jacket and you have accomplished this style. Velvet is just not for the holiday party anymore, and can be worn to work or Sunday brunch."

A basic velvet blazer from Field Gear at Marshall Field's, 700 Nicollet Mall, costs $39.99 in ever-popular jewel tones like burgundy and jade.

Downtown worker Lynda Hiltner browsed the racks at Saks Off 5th, 655 Nicollet Mall, to get a feel for the newest looks.

"Blazers and suits are definitely back, which is great since I wear them to work," Hiltner said as she looked at pink Tahari suits. "It seems like bright colors and corduroy jackets are really popular, too."

Head to Moscow for another hot trend: Russian folk style that draws on the summer's bohemian outfits. Schara said that this includes all things embellished, embroidered and trimmed. Fur (or faux if preferred) is used for everything from accents to full-length coats.

Saks Off 5th Manager Ann Massey concurred, saying, "Bohemian rhapsody, jewel tones and shine are the big buzzwords. The shrug is very big for fall; it replaces last year's poncho."

Menswear trousers and gauchos are musts for women's pants. "Whether it's one piece or a full suit, look for menswear fabrics such as wool, tweed or plaid in relaxed trousers and structured jackets for women," Schara said.

While shopping at Marshall Field's, Minnetonka residents Sara Goff and her mother checked out the old-fashioned styles and name brands.

"Vintage stuff is really big right now," Goff said. "Cowboy boots, big belts around the shirt instead of waist and layering are popular, too. Clothes that are hippie, but not too glitzy."

Goff's mom chimed in that the line Juicy Coture is always a good choice; granted, it's on the sale rack.

It's a guy thing

With a strong business clientele Downtown, men's fashions will not take the backseat this fall. General Manager Brad Sherman at men's clothier Hubert White, 747 Nicollet Mall, said men should focus on living and dressing distinctively.

"Our clients are a mix of businessmen and residents who have a high lifestyle, including food, entertainment and clothing," Sherman said.

Sherman said that the dress-up trend continues for the corporate crowd. He recommends that all workers own a French cut shirt, striped tie and striped suit for a classy, slimming appearance. Accessories such as cuff links and pocket squares are also back in style.

In the sportswear realm, fine fabrics take center stage. Lots of cashmere and twill, as well as luxury denim are must-haves.

Schara suggests the velvet blazer as a necessary piece, and said that men should mix and match patterns within the same color palette.

As a general rule, Sherman recommends that men "ratchet up their lifestyles" for fall.

"Enjoy life, from eating good food or staying up watching high-definition television or cuddling with some cashmere," Sherman said. "Just go out and get yourself something nice."

Hip hairdos

The Jennifer Aniston haircut may be so 1997, but Downtown clients are still looking to the stars for hairstyle ideas.

Mary Gail Hall, senior artistic director at Regis Salon, 651 Nicollet Mall, said that the cast of "Desperate Housewives" is an inspiration for many Downtown women.

"We get people coming in asking, 'How do we do our hair like hers?' The female actresses on that show are definitely the most popular," Hall said.

However, Hall stresses that fall hairstyles are personal and should be influenced by what fits a person's body shape and style, not just by celebrity looks.

"Length this fall is not an issue. Instead, you should find what is right for you," Hall said. "For example, when hair is long, it gives a younger appearance. So pick a length that is applicable to your facial structure and age."

Busy, urban women should look for hairstyles that are adaptable to both their work and evening trends.

"Businesswomen are looking for a contemporary, modern look. You should fit your wardrobe preferences and your hairstyle together," Hall said. "During the day, it should look updated but not too trendy. But for evenings, it can be restyled to look hipper."

Hair coloring can be an intimidating process, but adding small highlights to monotone hair can do wonders without the risks.

"Color enhancements this fall create a richer, shinier look without high levels of commitment," Hall said. "Stay away from all one color for some versatility in the hair."

Many men may never think of going anywhere but the local barber for a trim, but there has been a growing popularity in urban all-male salons for higher-end cuts and colors.

"There are color lines exclusively designed for men to camouflage graying without going very dark and looking like Elvis or fading off tone," Hall said. "They're in and out in just 10 minutes, and no one suspects that they got their hair dyed. It's very natural."

Working together, hair and fashion are drawing from each other's trends to create stylish ensembles this fall.

"Our inspiration comes from what's big in fashion," Hall said. "We've been doing a lot of disconnected shapes where it's shorter underneath but with a veil over the top. It's just like clothing, wearing a camisole with a sheer top."