5C Threads: Reflections on Trends (Fall and Otherwise), On and Off Campus

As Claremont arbitrarily decides that fall must arrive at some point or another, its accompanying fashion trends have begun to emerge on campus, a few of which have been noted or exemplified by the astute guys and gals we’ve featured right here in our column. I’m going to try to consolidate said trends, and add some thoughts of my own about how people can update their look for the next couple months or so. Oh, and sorry male readers, you’re getting majorly shortchanged this week; if I tried to talk about guys’ fashion I’d be at an even bigger loss than I already am, so I’m gonna steer clear from that topic.

Our interviewees have agreed fairly consistently on a couple points. Primarily, camel or camel’s hair—a rich, saturated cream or tan color—seems to be the definitive color of the upcoming season. Earth tones in general are making a bit of a comeback, appearing in accessories and outerwear, with dark brown bags and jackets and bronze and wooden jewelry as particularly popular choices. I like the use of brown as the color of interest in outfits. It often takes second billing to more vibrant colors, but when paired solely with grays, blacks, creams, and denim, it plays the lead pretty well. Our summer favorites’s darker cousins, mahogany, forest, and navy can provide extra color. No matter what, fall requires calculated amounts of color that result in a cozy palette with elements of both warm and cold. The cream sweater in the bottom right frame does this effectively, complementing the color in the scarf. The warmth in the cream belt and blouse provide a nice contrast to the otherwise gray outfit in the top left, and the brown in the heels (bottom center-right) adds an earthy charm. The jewelry speaks for itself. Owls are the hippest things ever right now, and those earrings match the mood of the upcoming season pretty effectively.

This is not a fall for jeans. I’m sorta kidding—jeans are still cool and always will be. But other sorts of legwear have hit the spotlight, including leggings (especially patterned ones in floral, distressed, geometric prints), and maxi-skirts, the most effective of which are simplified and toned down, with breezy and playful sensibility. Note the cool transparency of the dark maroon one bottom center-left, or the vintage charm of the one next to it when matched with simple, crisp pieces that keep it from feeling outdated. The leggings top-right have a satisfying bit of texture (and look so sharp with those classy, shiny black shoes), and the sparsely dotted pattern of the pair in the bottom right add just the right amount of eccentricity, especially when paired with the matching knee-high socks.

The fall season allows for a bit more variety than summer in terms of tops. While I remain an adamant supporter of the T-shirt, dresses and collared shirts allow for a lot of temporal flexibility perfect for annoyingly intermediate fall weather. The tunic dress in the center-right is lacy and tailored enough to be formal (imagine it with heels and tights and those jewel earrings, for example), but patterned and raw enough to be casual (now imagine flats, maroon leggings, a camel-colored cardigan, and a belt). Another trend seems to be oversized dress shirts, either cozily drop-shouldered, or as pseudo-dresses (see top center-left). Freshly geometric, this piece is quite nicely shaped and has great pockets (we all know how incredibly awesome pockets are). It’s a cool thing to pair with leggings or shorts, and a great article for layering. Collared shirts that gently drape across the body are also a wise investment: they’re not too warm but still give off the air of polish associated with outerwear. On the other hand (and I didn’t find a good picture of this), nice big, thick, woolly sweaters can play a similar but snugglier role.

As for footwear, strappy heels, clogs, and flats with socks (or at least, leggings) provide that slightly eccentric, cozy aesthetic I talked about a bit earlier. Regular old sneakers or riding boots? Boring. Flats with socks, on the other hand, serve as a beautifully awkward embodiment of comfort. With the right skimmers or ballets, it has a modern vintage effect without looking too grandma (or maybe looking a little bit grandma, but there’s really nothing wrong with that, see bottom center-right).

Finally, here are some styles to avoid. No bright neon colors (favor a sparing use of pastels), nothing floral unless counter-balanced by something drearier, and please, no combat boots (just not delicate enough, combat-inspired boots could work). Stay away from just blacks and whites if you’re trying to be seasonal. Flashes of color are acceptable, but wearing too many bright colors can come off as cluttered. Don’t fall prey to excessive layering—each garment should look good on its own. And finally, effectively matching gray and cream can be oddly challenging; treat one as an accent and the other as the focus.

Thanksgiving break is soon upon us, so shop your hearts out, spend some money, and restock your wardrobe. Even though your hometown’s weather might be more stylistically provocative than Claremont’s, it’s still getting into the low 50s at night pretty regularly, and for us southern Californians, that’s more than enough incentive to bundle up.

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