By Jules Marie

This fall, a little feel-good fashion is just the antidote to a topsy-turvy world. In clothing, the personal can be political and a sense of individualism is definitely ringing out on the runways. From the fashion shows of Paris, Milan, New York and Vegas to the streets of Boulder County, one thing is clear—what’s important this year is not just what you wear, but how it feeds your spirit.

Caamano Inc western pattern alpaca fleece cape from The Alpaca Store and More in Nederland. (Photo by The Alpaca Store and More)

“People are having fun with fashion. They’re interested in dressing as individuals and mixing patterns and colors,” says Sarah Colbert, manager of Buffalo Exchange. “People are pairing things together not because they match, but more to make a statement.”

Everything Old Is New Again

Change is in the air, but a yearning for simpler times can be seen in flashback fashion. “The nineties styles are prominent right now; they’re nostalgic and fun,” says Colbert.

Designers like Hilfiger have revived their greatest fashions, with a return to trench coats, grunge and jumpsuits. Even palazzo pants and capes are making the cut this year. Pants are boasting wide legs or bell-bottoms, and can be found in fabulous materials like seersucker. This season’s runway models are sporting bubble skirts, jelly shoes, My Little Pony logos, high-fashion tracksuits, overalls and head-to-toe plaids.

What’s coming back around the bend again? Neon, animal prints (say YES to tiger), exaggerated fringe, excess layers, foils, plastics, diaphanous fabrics, skirt suits, leather, faux fur, novelty knits, western wear. Not everything nostalgic is getting the nod: out are chokers and off-the-shoulder tops.

Be Bold and Beautiful

When you step into the streets, you want to look bold and beautiful; the colors this year reflect that strong sensibility. Pantone’s popular 2018 Fashion Color Trend Report boasts a bevy of autumnal and twilight hues. Look for black and white swimwear accented by primary colors and Pantone’s rich plumage of colors.

Your choice of bling also reflects a bold outlook. “Yellow gold is still making a strong comeback this year. Your earring selection should include geometric shapes in button styles and/or dangle styles,” says Graig Anspach, of Anspach’s Jewelery. “Stacking rings and bracelets continue to be a strong choice this year. Just have fun!” Organic combinations of colored gemstones are still in vogue, adds Anspach.

Photo by Paffy

Boulderites concerned about ethical sourcing practices for precious stones will be happy to hear about lab-grown diamonds, which are trending. “Optically, chemically and physically they are 100-percent identical to naturally mined diamonds, but they’re less expensive,” says Carrie Hines, manager of Cronin Jewelers, who cautions consumers to do their homework. “It takes sophisticated equipment to conclusively determine if a diamond is lab-grown or natural. The diamond has an inscription that says lab-grown but the inscription can be removed by a diamond polisher.”

It may be time to pay homage to JLo who has popularized hoop earrings, which are decidedly on-trend, according to Hines. “Big bold earrings are really in; some are jaw-droppers that go past the shoulder or bounce around on the chest, which is more of a European trend,” she says.

Textures are another way to add a sense of personal style. “A lot of our suits, cover-ups and dresses have a lot of texture, whether it’s embroidery, lace or a mesh cutout. It’s no longer just slippery lycra,” says Kathleen Brandt, manager of Nani Nalu Beachwear Boutique.

Manning Up

Quality fabrics and tailoring are always in fashion. Clothing by The Regiment Shops. (Photo courtesy The Regiment Shops)

Men are stepping it up and looking more polished while doing so, donning classics like textured trousers, vintage Ts and herringbone sports jackets. Rich and warm shades of brown complete the new sensibility, leaning toward bark-hued tailored overcoats, denim bomber jackets and deconstructed blazers. Turtleneck shirts are appearing under suits and sleek blazers. Add a popular cross-body bag and brightly colored leisure footwear to complete the look.

Not so serious? Patterned shirts add visual fun and dapper style to a tapered tartan trouser. In fact, checks are appearing on everything from trousers to caps and statement-making blazers.
Gary Cartwright, co-owner of The Regiment Shops, is watching these trends while keeping local style in mind. “Though we’re inspired by national and even international fashion, the purple polka-dot pants we see on runways aren’t realistic for our men. Today’s men’s fashions are much more tailored, but with a casual and comfortable look,” says Cartwright.

Working-Class Blues

With a nod to working-class roots, dark denim ruled the runways this year, including classic jeans, denim trucker jackets and loose-and-casual ripped denim jackets. You don’t need to work on a farm to pull off this look. “Every great outfit starts with the perfect pair of jeans!” says Melanie Melton, owner/buyer at Chelsea.

Fashion also meets function when it comes to bags. The top-handle bag trend is updated with a cross-body strap, which makes it stylish and convenient, notes Laurel Tate, co-owner of Two Sole Sisters. “Another accessory trend is wearing scarves as belts or headbands, or tying them on your handbag as an accessory,” she says.

Precious Metals

Maybe there is an underlying anxiety that cybercoins are going to replace the real thing, because the shine of metal is everywhere this year. Runway shows in Milan, Paris and New York showcased metallic fabrics in gold, silver and bronze to build fashion-forward outfits, including skirts, dresses and even down coats.


Layer them! Adel Chefridi 18K gold rings with diamond and colored center stones from Art & Soul Gallery. (Photo: Art & Soul Gallery)

You can see this trend in local footwear; just look at the subtle sheen on booties and metallic details on heels, says Tate, who travels to Milan and Vegas shoe shows to curate her in-store collections.

Of course, jewelry provides a great way to layer in a little metallic brilliance. “Layer it up and add a little sparkle,” says Melton. “We love the layering trend in jewelry and timeless, delicate diamond necklaces are perfect with other pieces or on their own.”

Word is that a couple of princesses might be influencing a more traditional look in engagement and wedding rings. “We’re seeing a lot of three-stone rings become a trend as the new Dutchess Meghan wears a three-stone diamond setting,” says Hines.

Walking the Walk

Footwear that can get you there, be it to a meeting or a march, makes its own statement. Pound the pavement with on-trend choices like colorful Jeffrey Campbell booties, vegan Birkenstocks, studded shoes or a wedge that looks fetching in mustard or peach.


Photo by Chiociolla

The classic loafer is also back, says Tate. Try pairing a pair with boyfriend jeans and a cozy sweater, or a black pencil skirt and tights. “We’re seeing loafers in beautiful suede with metallic leather detail, a black suede shoe with little sleek studs and a Japanese red patent leather loafer that pairs well with denim. Red is classic; it never goes out of style,” she says.

Overseas influences make the fashion world smaller, and that goes for footwear, too. “I’m not surprised that the British shoe choices are influencing Americans—they’re very stylish,” says Kristin Mauri, new co-owner of Shoe Fly. “We’ve also seen the rise in popularity of the Brit sneaker brand Gola. They’re a comfortable, fun, fashion-forward all-around sneaker.”

Getting a handle on work-life balance is hot right now, so it’s no surprise that leisure footwear is trending. “Sneakers have become much more acceptable as an everyday fashion shoe,” says Mauri. “It’s great seeing girls in fun funky dresses and skirts wearing cute sneakers.”

In our Fall Fashion Issue you’ll find many fabulous fashion finds that we’ve gathered from local retailers who know what Boulder County will be wearing this year. In the end, of course, the best advice we can give you is this: If it feels good, wear it.

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