10/28/2016 03:48 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Have Your Way With Gray


This fall, we've taken a serious liking to gray in all of its mysteriously seductive shades, from the darker hues of smoke, charcoal and pewter to its silver, dove gray and pale-as-a-rain-cloud iterations. But don't get us wrong, it's not a purely esthetic thing: Gray is as stylishly wearable as black but not as severe.

Unlike black or brown, gray has a warmth and coziness, even at its chicest, and we can't think of a color it won't complement. Which means the brights, pastels and autumnal toned pieces in your closet will have a new companion.

On the runways:

Jason Wu The mannish attitude of a charcoal overcoat and trousers takes an unexpected, feminine turn with a delicate feather and crystal embellishment.

Michael Kors Soft cashmere separates, as comfy as sweats, dress up beautifully with baby blue accents and pointy-toed pumps. Note the artful, undone layering of the shirt. So chic.

Alberta Ferretti Power-dressing at its prettiest! A waist-defining satin sash pulls together the soft silhouette of this womanly suit in a gentle shade of dove.

Zac Posen An off-kilter lapel on a nipped-waist reefer coat in heather gray gives this tailored monochromatic look swagger.

Christopher Kane Warm and fuzzy in the best possible way, a knit coat and dress ensemble comes off as both cozy and luxe with the addition of tonal fur-like trim.

When going gray, consider:

Find your new classic piece Designers found ways to make traditional cuts look new, from an investment coat like Isabel Marant's and French Connection's real-steal topper. The refinement of a covered-up rib-knit dress from Helmut Lang gets tweaked with flirty detachable cuffs. We also found trousers that are new takes on tailored menswear pants, including Acne Studio's high-waisted, cropped pair and Vince's well-cut slouchy version. Buy even one of these and you'll discover you won't have to overthink getting dressed, especially for work.

Be tempted by texture You'll have no problem finding beautiful gray pieces with sensuous textures, like suede, from a Theory oversized moto jacket and Tod's oxford-detailed boots. Smooth gray leather is equally appealing in a saddle bag from Sophie Hulme. And a marled-knit cardigan from French Connection and a contrast-lapel wool felt version from Rag & Bone deliver an embraceable warmth you'll want when the weather turns cool in a month or two.

Introducing, the "mixed media" option! We were intrigued when Peserico, an Italian brand that's been doing gorgeous, low-key classics for some 50 years, described a gray fit-and-flare dress as "mixed media" --meaning this sophisticated dress looks like separates with a rib-knit bodice and a sheer cotton and silk skirt. Even distressed gray jeans benefit from rugged/edgy/smooth contrasts. That "mixed" message also shows up in one of the ultimate save-up-your-pennies splurge of the season: a divine felted lace top in charcoal, black and white from Adam Lippes.

Shop the trend at Apprécier