The fall season doesn't just mean changing leaves and back to school. It's a new season for fashion and style as well. When it comes to trends and key pieces for any time of the year, it's not about the must-have items but what works for you and your own individual taste, needs and style. Here's a look at a few of the key trends and how to wear them your way:
1. Blanket Knits -- This is an easy, versatile trend that can work for any age, style of dress, or budget. The look is oversized, and can be found either pared down and sleek or chunky and cozy. For tall women, the options can go either direction, petites will want to lean towards either shorter lengths if the knit is chunky, or pared down if longer so that the volume doesn't overwhelm. Prints or solids can work either way with this item. Aztec and rustic prints are popular. Treat blanket knits as you would any other heavy sweater, shawl/wrap or jacket when styling.
2. Updated Ankle Boot -- The ankle boot is a closet staple, so every season designers and brands update the wares to keep the look fresh. This season the flat ankle boot seen everywhere is the basic lace up. A throw back to the '80s and '90s, it has a modern twist with a simplified sole. For the heel, it's clean, sleek and simple with a classic stiletto heel. Watch for shaft height on either style -- length can shorten the leg or elongate it depending on where it hits on the leg. In styling the updated ankle boot, wear as you would any other ankle boot style.
3. Faux Pearl -- Faux pearls in glass and other materials are being spotted on footwear, clothing and particularly jewelry, taking a big leap from the classic pearl necklace and earrings of fashion's past. The options are really creative, ranging from edgy to classic, to high fashion, so there is literally something for everyone. Big bold pearls are commonplace in jewelry this season as part of the trend, while footwear has stuck to more intricate designs. When wearing this trend, let your piece do the talking in the outfit -- it's meant to be the statement item.
4. Coulotte Pants -- Pants have been creeping up on denim for a few seasons now, but this year the abundance is greater than before. Coulotte pants are in particular on trend, in a variety of lengths which means there is likely something for every body type. If you're petite or curvy, look for a pair in a clean, streamlined cut. More volume such as pleating or other details can work but may overpower smaller frames. You can do a lot more with this item than it might appear -- basic footwear of all kinds should work.
5. Brushed Gold -- Metals are always in season regardless of year but every year designers get creative with metals. Rose gold has been waning a bit for the coming fall, replaced by softer, brushed gold. The look is subtle versus the bright, glossy feel of traditional gold metals. Mixed with stones (especially faux pearl) or standalone, most pieces lean toward being large and dynamic -- the anchor item in an outfit. But you can find it in a variety of forms. Styling this item might seem tricky with other jewelry if the metals aren't matching -- either wear alone or work it a little recklessly with whatever you want.
6. Dusty Pastels -- With the continued trend of pastels in the market the past few years, it isn't a surprise to see designers reinvent the palette. Whereas bright, pretty candy colors were prevalent to date, fall collections are moving to dusty, muted variations particularly in mauve and baby blue. It's particularly seen in tops and knits though footwear and pants are utilizing similar hues. This trend's easy to wear, but to update, consider mixing and matching colors, or working in a print this time around.
7. Giraffe Print -- Tiger, zebra and leopard have reigned on the animal print scene for years. It's only natural for designers to want to bring in something new with the growing popularity of giraffe print in clothing and accessories. The print is big, bold and fun, or you can find it in smaller, simpler style. It's really cute in tops and skirts, but shoes are great too. Wear as you would any other print. Some have paired it with florals and stripes -- give it a try. You never know.
8. Gray Tones -- Gray is always a closet return each season, especially for colder months. But the range is back again and does not disappoint. While lighter grays have been on the forefront, dark, moody variations like pewter and stormy tones are particular chic. Muted gray particularly in handbags is a favorite. With styling, update gray by mixing it with color versus the traditional black or other neutrals. Muted pastels can be a fresh option.
9. Pleating -- Pleats are here in a big way, be it in accordion styling or big, bold options. You'll see it in swing jackets and other coats, littered across the fronts of pants and skirts of all kinds, even in tops and camisoles. Like anything with layers, pleats can add volume and bulk, particularly in the larger pleated styling you'll find in the market this fall. For petite and curvy women, stick with very simple pleating to play on the trend without it overpowering. For all body types, bigger pleating and pleats in general tend to demand to be the statement item, but you can add elements with a jacket, slim pant or coat.
10. Wide -- If the past few years of everything ultra tapered from skinny jeans to tops has been a menace to your style and taste, designers are relaxing cuts and shapes a bit for fall this year. You'll find it in jackets, blazers, pants, skirts, you name it. When it comes to wearing wide cut anything, keep it simple! You can do volume on volume with this look depending on the cut. Experiment with ideas, shapes and styles.