Mix and match. Three little words that'll have major impact this fall.
Picture a plaid work shirt, cut slinky and worn with skinny jeans. Maybe a moto jacket, standard tough-gal chic, but in soft, plush fabrics. Or a herringbone overcoat borrowed from the boys -- but worn over a dark floral dress.
Menswear and womenswear are getting ready to rrrrrrumble once the temps drop, and you'll be the winner. "The masculine-feminine mix feels artistic, expressive, really fresh," says Gregg Andrews, fashion creative director at Nordstrom. He points to traditionally masculine prints, like plaids, checks and herringbones, that we'll see in feminine evening fabrics, like velvet, lace or brocade.
"It's not about androgyny at all," he says. "It's an artful mix, and feels somewhat unexpected."
They're feeling the mix over at Bloomingdale's, too, where the lug sole -- standard equipment on guys' work boots -- is a major trend in the women's shoe department.
"At first, I found the lug sole to be a bit aggressive, but the offerings this season are so varied that there is something for everyone," says Erica Russo, Bloomingdale's fashion director of accessories, who likes the lug look on booties, loafers and more.
"Designers combined this utilitarian footwear with flow-y dresses and longer- length skirts, making the overall look fresh and modern," she says. "The lug sole allows feminine clothing to look less precious than pairing it back to the expected dainty flat or heel."
So here are 10 great ways for you to mix it up -- masculine with feminine, tough with elegant, rustic with refined. The possibilities are, let's just say, unpredictable.
Designers have been revved for moto jackets for several seasons, and they're still in high gear.
Leather's nice, but multimedia mixes are more unexpected, like this Alfani jacket, left; $119.50 later this fall at select Macy's stores and macys.com, and Superdry's Low-Ride Motorcycle Biker jacket, right; $250 at select Superdry stores, Manhattan, or for other moto styles visit superdry.com.(Credit: Alfani; Superdry)
Textured, oversized knits got major play on fall runways.
Here, an Elizabeth + James oversized distorted-stripe sweater in wool-blend, left; $385 at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores and saks.com, and boucle knit sheath dress and jacket from Isabel Toledo's new line for Lane Bryant, right; $198 each in September at select Lane Bryant stores and lanebryant.com.(Credit: Elizabeth and James; Isabel Toledo for Lane Bryant)
Sheer continues to show up in everything from work wear to evening attire.
Olsenboye's black lace dress shows sheer can still work in cooler temps, left; $52 in September at select J.C. Penney stores and jcp.com, and Isabel Toledo's exclusive line for Lane Bryant includes this scallop-edge lace top; $188 in September at select Lane Bryant stores and lanebryant.com.(Credit: Olsenboye; Isabel Toledo)
BLACK & WHITE
Popular for several seasons now, it shows no signs of fading.
Ann Taylor is so committed that practically its entire fall line is black, white or a combo of the two, like this leopard-print sweater ($109), turtleneck ($59) and pants ($98), left, hitting later in August at select Ann Taylor stores and anntaylor.com. In the '50s there were poodle skirts, but Rachel Comey offers up Paris-chic poodle-print silk pants ($425) and faux leather mock turtleneck ($220), right; at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores and saks.com.(Credit: Ann Taylor; Saks Fifth Avenue)
PRINTS THAT POP
Patterns aren't shy this season, from Pop-Art inspired prints to abstract splashes, like this Worthington sleeveless ruched-neck top (in a print they call Shbakiya Floral), left; $30 at select J.C. Penney stores and jcp.com, and Material Girl's crop top, $44.50, and Pop Art-inspired leggings, $22.50, right; at select Macy's stores and macys.com later in the fall.(Credit: Worthington; Material Girl)
THE MIDI SKIRT
It's the new proportion, wearing a midi with a short boxy sweater or top. Best of all, it works with heels or flats.
Left, a Vince pleated midi skirt ($395) with peacoat ($1,295) and scarf ($195), available in September at Nordstrom and nordstrom.com. I Heart Ronson black fitted midi skirt ($36) and houndstooth short-sleeve sweater ($44) combine the midi, black-and-white and menswear trends all in one; available in September at J.C. Penney stores and jpc.com.(Credit: Gregg Andrews; I Heart Ronson)
LUG SOLE SHOES
The rugged, urban lug sole toughens up booties, loafers and more.
Here, Bar III's Valerie ankle boots, left, sport lug soles and snappy hardware; $119 at select Macy's stores and macys.com, and the Gansevoort bootie from Michael by Michael Kors; $250 at select Bloomingdale's stores and bloomingdales.com, right.(Credit: Bar III; Michael Kors)
The male/female mix coming this fall offers a new take on the standards, like this cropped trench ($168), worn with a ruffle boxy tee ($68.50) and faux leather shorts (($78.50), left; at select A/X Armani Exchange stores and armaniexchange.com. Designers are keen on menswear-inspired prints this season (herringbone, checks and so on) but maddest for plaid, like Liz Claiborne's feminine plaid print blouse, right; $40 in September at select J.C. Penney stores and jcp.com.(Credit: Armani Exchange; J. C. Penney)
BAGS THAT SLOUCH
Bucket bags are surging in popularity.
Rebecca Minkoff's version, left; $295, will be available later this fall at select Bloomingdale's stores and bloomingdales.com, and the Shanti studded hobo, in faux leather, right, is $119 at bebe.com.(Credit: Rebecca Minkoff; Shanti)
The look in jackets, sweaters and tees is boxy, often sitting just at the hip, bringing attention to the waist.
Here, Boden's wool-blend Edie jacket (in gray or pink/red check); $198 at bodenusa.com.(Credit: Boden)