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 Autumn is at hand; with it comes the shorter daylight hours, the changing of the leaves, the nip in the air, and more importantly, it ushers in my favorite fashion season. Summer ensembles strike me as too revealing, but during the colder months, full coverage is paramount if one is to remain warm. All the layers and heavier fabrics convey a sense of lady-like propriety. Do not mistake this modesty to mean stodgy or prudish. One can still be alluring in form-fitting apparel.

Each season I check the harbinger of style source for the recapitulation of the coming season’s trends. Which trends are reminiscent of a 19th century lady? How can I make the trend more or less modern? What can I do to add my own personal touch? Some seasons lend themselves to a myriad of possibilities, other times none of the trends are to my liking.

Fall 2012 Trends

Brocade: This is on point with a 19th century lady and it is a classic winter evening-fabric. Most of the current incarnations are brocade embellishments and not a full dress, but a few suits were highlighted for this trend.

My perspective: I adore the high class look and wonder what it would be like to wear a solid brocade dress. The gold embellishment on black is the au current trend and comes across deliciously baroque. Personally, I would try brocade in an icy pastel for a more feminine approach.

Fur: A controversial trend in the fashion world; more so as the years progress with animal rights and eco-friendly apparel becoming more prevalent. However, fur is one of the first “fabrics” humans used throughout the centuries. Back in the 19th century fur was seen as a trim, such as gloves, boots, and collars, or outer-wear, like coats, hats, and stoles.

My perspective: In full disclosure, I own two antique heirloom fur stoles. They have been in my family for a few generations. I do not encourage the hunting enterprise for fashion. Imitation if done correctly is earth friendly.

Emphasis on Hips: Beginning with the peplum from last fall, the emphasis on hips continues with panniers and hip padding. Ironically, being born into a partial Hispanic background, I have a “boy frame.” Hips? I would love to acquire them! Peplums are predominantly 18th and 19th century silhouettes, but have been around for longer.

My perspective: Mark my words before the season is over, I will acquire a peplum shirt or dress. This is the trend I am most eager to adopt.

Leather: This is similar to fur in the scandals that surround it. Previously standard fabric for the lower classes, it is now regarded as sexy dominatrix wear. The 19th century used leather for more practical reason, such as bags, shoes, gloves, and coats.

My perspective: Again, the inhumane aspect causes my conscious discomfort. Vintage or imitation varieties are preferred. Colored faux leather gloves are a playful way to add panache with lady-like appeal. Or if the mood strikes I would prefer a faux leather dress in a classic or feminine cut and perhaps another color other than black.

Matching Top and Bottom Prints: This is definitely a modern trend. In previous generations, women wore dresses, but the frocks came as a bustier portion and a skirt portion. Occasionally, the dress was one piece, which does not connote just one fabric. Once tops and bottoms, read: trousers became fashionable, the British held court in the solid color matching accouterments. They match their tops and bottoms with their hats, gloves, and shoes. To this day it is deemed “American” to pair color or patterns with a “neutral” or complimentary. Matching prints are a bit risky as it quickly dates the outfit.

My perspective: I do not even match my skirts with my blouses. I keep things in the same color family, different prints, with a dash of color with an accessory. The mere thought of matching wild prints chaffs my sensibilities. However, I applaud those who dare to wear this trend with aplomb.

Overcoats: This season the silhouette is more convex than concave. The convex shape is indeed a modern twist. Overcoats will never go out of style as a general rule. The style of the coat is all together a different matter. The 19th century coats were fitted around the shape of the dress and bustle.

My perspective: I find this a silly category for a trend and see it more as a fall/winter necessity. I prefer pea coat material in feminine silhouettes, with a defined waist and ruffles. While pastels are pretty, I do love my royal blues or even a bright red for an overcoat.