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Fall 2012 Fashion Report: What's Hot & What's Not This Season

Posted Aug 15 2012 - 7:00pm
Tagged With: fashion

Fall is right around the corner and you know what that means. No, not welcome week, or the return of the pumpkin spice latte, or stocking up on mechanical pencils (am I normal?), but the crème de la crème of all that excites me about autumn: the clothes. Nothing thrills me more than saying goodbye to short shorts (and the need to shave my legs so regularly) and sandals and trading them in for sleek pants, cuddly sweaters, colorful jackets, boots, and the like.

But with the excitement of the new season comes a wave of apprehension because, as you may have noticed, fall fashions change every year as surely as the colors of the leaves. How do you know what’s “in” and what’s “out” though? Don’t hyperventilate just yet—your solution is right here. So sit back, sip that soon-to-be-spiced-with-pumpkin latte, and enjoy this go-to-guide to find out what’s hot (and what’s not) for fall 2012.


What’s Hot Now

A Rich, Deep Color Palette

The time has come to exchange some of your neons for more dramatic, autumnal hues. “Whereas last fall the colors were centered around bright jewel tones, we now see a richer, more pure palette,” Boston-based stylist Elizabeth Kamm says. She adds that “oxblood/rich burgundy, navy and black, and winter white” are the “major colors that we will see in our favorite stores come fall.” Salvador Camarena, the founder of and a stylist for Chelsea Lately and several red carpet events, explains, “the colors for fall 2012 have evolved from past seasons into more of a sophisticated and rich color palette. Yet, the colors are still vibrant and bold—fall’s 2012 colors hold more of a mature sensibility.” He specifically recommends “bold reds, black, white, deep greens, vibrant blues, and slate grays.”


Go for the gold this fall. Katie Schuppler, Personal Style Consultant of KS Style Consulting points to “gold and bronze metallic on blazers and dresses as details or embellishments,” while Kamm notes that gold has been shown as “embellished embroidery on sleeves or collars, or interwoven in fabrics from denim to wool.”
“Any gold, rose-gold or metallic accessories I would definitely keep. Trust me on this one!” Camarena says. Whether it’s a pair of gold shoes adorning your feet, a set of gold bangles clanking on your wrist, or gold accents embellishing your bags and clothes, there are plenty of ways to add this luxe color to your fall wardrobe.

What’s Still Hot


White is always big come summer and had a strong presence last fall, so hopefully you’ve got yourself a few white tops and bottoms to bring into fall 2012 because the color is hotter than ever. The stylists mention that all-white ensembles were huge during this year’s Fall Fashion Week. If you’re hesitant about wearing your white pants past Labor Day or dressing head to toe in one color, try out a white blazer or sweater to get the effect in a subtler way.


“The bright citrus orange/tangerine is a great color to keep for fall,” Kamm says. “It's a great pop of color that offers a wonderful contrast to fall tones like burgundy, chocolate browns, and caramels. It looks amazing with wool blends in earth tones.” If tangerine is not your favorite tint, you don’t have to give up on orange altogether—peach, burnt orange, or pumpkin (duh) all work for fall.

What’s Cooling Off

Bright Jewel Tones

You already heard it from the experts. While bright pieces and accents can still be worn in fall for a cheerful burst of color—such as a turquoise statement necklace, a peach blazer, or brightly colored shoes—try focusing on adding deeply colored pieces to your wardrobe too for a more mature, haute vibe.

Cherry red

Cherry red—like Maraschino cherry—was in last fall, but now that deeper hues are taking over, the red to rock this fall will be tinted more like a real cherry—darker, richer, deeper.

On Top

What’s Hot Now

Knit Sweaters


Sweaters are always a fall staple—which is a no-brainer considering how comfy and versatile they are—and this season the look is all about knit. Knits dominated the Fall 2012 collections on the runway, from oversized pullover sweaters paired with tailored pants to more cropped, form-fitting ones dressed up with a skirt. Kamm explains that this season there will be a “strong presence of knits— Fair Isle sweaters, blanket stripes, fisherman’s knit, Irish knit sweaters, and hunter’s plaid (the bold, black and red plaid) sweaters and coats. These pieces elicit a strong sense of ‘I will have this forever’ to the shopper.” This trend is definitely here to stay—get with (kn)it.

Oversized Coats

Judging by nearly every designer’s Fall 2012 collection, when it comes to coats this season the trend is definitely go big or go home. “Roomy coats with exaggerated lines” is how Kamm describes the hot jacket for fall. While some runway versions were exaggerated and roomy to the point that twiglet models looked like mobile homes, the point to take away is that cropped and tight, tailored coats are being replaced by less structured, more daring oversized shapes.

What’s Still Hot

Loose Blouses

It’s a good thing loose blouses are sticking around for Fall 2012 because I can’t imagine surviving those mornings when I hit snooze on my alarm clock one too many times and have to get dressed in 3 seconds without them. All you have to do is throw it on with nearly any style of pant and you’re good to go. Kamm notes that they are “great for layering” and she specifically recommends printed ones.

Military Jackets

Military jackets were huge last fall, and they’re making just as big of a showing this fall. This trend encompasses not just traditional military jackets, but also pieces with a subtle military influence or military-inspired details. Kamm says to “look for detailing like pockets, shoulder epaulettes, and brass buttons.”

What’s Cooling Off

Chunky Sweater Dresses

“A trend I think that college students should ditch is the uber-chunky sweater dresses,”
Schuppler says. She goes on too add that few people actually look good in this style of dress because “they tend to consume your body and make you appear larger than you are!” While this style may have been popular in past seasons, skip it this fall and instead opt for dresses in different materials. You could go for a flowing jersey dress or, if you want to be runway-ready, Kamm says that “dresses or separates in tweed or boucle, or Asian-inspired heavy silks with high collars and cut-out necklines” are currently high fashion must-haves.

Trench Coats

According to Kamm, trench coats and anorak coats are being replaced by the aforementioned oversized and military styles. If you are not a fan of either of those looks, you still have options: Camarena suggests a peacoat, especially in navy blue. And even though oversized and military coats are in the spotlight, simple trenches and anorak coats—particularly black and tan ones—are classic and won’t be considered officially “out” anytime soon, so you can keep rocking ‘em.

On Bottom

What’s Hot Now

Riding Pants & Panel Pants

Schuppler says that leggings and riding pants paired with riding boots will be major this fall. Panel pants, which are slimming, cropped pants with a thick stripe down the leg, put a different spin on the form-fitting essence of the riding pant, offering more structure with just as much style.

While riding pants look great tucked into boots, try pairing panel pants with heels, wedges, or heeled ankle booties to enhance the slimming effect of the line. Speaking of heels, Schuppler says that a “t-strap heel, whether it be peep-toe or closed toe” became extra popular this spring and should be brought into fall. Kamm is an advocate of the heeled ankle boot and says “the best ones for this fall have a textured lug sole (thick rubber sole with indentations, like on Timberland boots) and lots of laces.” In addition to wearing these booties with riding pants or panel pants, she says the new look is pairing them with opaque tights.

High-Slit Maxi Skirts

Kamm says maxi skirts will be back this fall and that pairing one with a heritage-inspired sweater (think preppy Polo zip-ups and sweaters with stripes) or a knit one is “right on trend.” The oh-so-hot high-slit is a way to make the style a bit edgier and show a bit of skin so that you don’t look like you’re drowning in fabric.

What’s Still Hot

Patterned & Colored Pants

Funky patterned (floral, tribal, checkered, and tie-dye among plenty of others) and colored pants have gotten exponentially popular over the past few seasons. While bright colors dominated the colored pant scene in spring, consider putting those on hold for next spring and instead stock your closet with some pants in the deeper, richer tones that are in for fall. Whatever the color or pattern though, this style of pant is a refreshing change of pace from plain jeans or black pants, and they add a fun pop to basic tees and dreary, gray days.


“A trend you must hold on to for fall 2012 is the peplum− it's a must!!!” Camarena says. “This trend is back and with a vengeance! Hold on tight to your peplum tops and dress. This trend is chic and easy to wear so be sure to keep this in your closets for a while.” Peplum tops, skirts, and dresses have been popping up more and more and if you haven’t already hopped on the bandwagon, try it out this fall. The peplum is super flattering and adds attitude to even the most basic little black dress. Added bonus: there’s no need to suck in your stomach all night with the flap covering that area—goodbye Spanx, hello peplum.

What’s Cooling Off

Skinny jeans

My legs are rejoicing at the news that skinny jeans are being traded in for other cuts and styles—wide leg, bootcut, and matchstick (less tight and hits at the ankle) just to name a few. Not only do skinny jeans suffocate my legs, but they also make them look eerily similar to upside-down bowling pins (thanks mom for that analogy). Instead of skinnies, or at least in addition to them, try out some of the aforementioned cuts with wedges, flats, or ankle boots.

Bandage skirts

It’s hard to imagine a day when collegiettes will ditch the bandage skirt—when the sun goes down, the bandage skirts come out and take over every college campus nationwide. While they do look cute with crop tops and make for a dressy-but-not-too-dressy look for parties, this skin-tight style is not the least bit forgiving and therefore not always the most flattering pick. You might not want to toss this go-to skirt, but try maxi skirts, high-low skirts, and flared, swishy skirts on for size—you could be so pleasantly surprised that you end up converting from the bandage skirt camp after all.


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