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5 Fashion Trends to Get You Set for the Fall 2023 Season

These clothes will help you shine.

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photo collage of fall fashion staples against fall background
VISBII (Photos, left to right: Courtesy Banana Republic; Courtesy Everlane; Courtesy Nordstrom; Courtesy H&M; Courtesy Zara)
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After ricocheting from fleece to fantasy land, fashion settles into its groove this fall with a lineup of trends based in reality.

There is a nip here and tuck there to lend form, but there also are pleats and maxi lengths to provide ease and wearability. If you are a sportswear fan, you will find much to embrace. But there also are pieces to delight the more bohemian or glamorous among us.

Read on to discover what’s ahead in fall’s fashion forecast and how you can own the season with a few key pieces. Use these suggestions to guide your shopping at favorite retailers and thrift shops or while scouring the back of your closets.

Tailored shift

Waistlines and waistbands are back, along with some new camouflage techniques. Statement shoulders, peaked lapels and broad collars help balance things out as blazers return in a variety of lengths and button configurations.

One of the most eye-catching is the cutaway style with buttons marching down at a flattering angle to the waistline. Aqua’s cutaway blazer in black ($90 to $120, bloomingdales.com) holds its own against high-end versions from Veronica Beard and Rag & Bone that cost quadruple the price.

Wide legs and sleek pleats tethered to a defined waistband provide room to move in fall 2023’s favorite pant shape. These perfectly polished pieces include the camel and plaid offerings of Peyton Trouser Pants in Heathered Brushed Flannel ($90, loft.com). Score extra sportswear points with the pinstripes of H&M’s Dress Pants and Matching Suit Vest ($38 each, hm.com/us).

Wearability

Few silhouettes illustrate wearability better than the shirtdress. It is a closet chameleon and a sought-after shape that flatters all. You can belt it, let it flow, button it part way or unbutton it all the way. It’s a coat, it’s a shirt, it’s a dress. It’s whatever you need it to be that day and something entirely different the next.

Consider as Exhibit A the Pinstripe Shirtdress with Tie Detail from Zara’s elevated Massimo Dutti collection (on sale for $120, zara.com/us). Its navy pinstripes are the perfect foil for a hot pink blouse or a brown mock-neck sweater, leaving you to simply slip on tall boots on your way out the door. Or you can belt it over boyfriend jeans and booties for a casual look, or over your favorite little black dress for a night out.

If you roll on the more casual side, there’s the equally versatile Tie Belt Denim Shirtdress ($50, hm.com/us) or the ankle-skimming length of the Long Sleeve Denim Maxi Shirtdress from Wash Lab Denim ($148, nordstrom.com). Grab these work shirt-inspired workhorses as you head to yoga class, or layer over a sweater and cargo pants to run errands.

For warmer climates — where fall is more a state of mind than a reality — look for cotton shirtdresses that create the illusion of layering without too much weight. Choices include the Poplin Midi Shirtdress in whiskey or black ($72, bananarepublicfactory.com) and the Creped Cotton Shirtdress in olive or red ($40, hm.com/us).

Red alert

Summer’s fling with bright Barbie pink gives way to a more sophisticated romance with red for fall. Separates in shades of Cherry Bomb, Lipstick Red and Brick are an easy way to dip into this red-hot trend without going overboard.

Start at the top with styles like the Collared Sweater ($18, hm.com/us), Ribbed Polo Shirt ($32 to $45, loft.com) and Pointelle Cardigan ($50 to $60, gap.com). For a sporty vibe, zip up the Emory Wide Leg Trousers ($70 to $90, loft.com) or the slimmer Straight Pant in Lightweight Weave ($120, anntaylor.com). Red makes maxi skirts like the straight-shooting Colette Maxi Skirt by Maeve even more dramatic ($120, anthropologie.com).

Minimalist effort

If you’re more posh than sporty, lean into this season’s sophisticated minimalism inspired by the 1990s. Slip skirts and slip dresses capture this aesthetic in satin finishes and luxe silk. Balance their elegance with a chunky knit sweater or body-skimming turtleneck.

Fall hues of camel, stone and navy are among the options for the midi-length Gwyneth Slip Skirt ($46 to $100, jcrew.com), while olive and ecru set the tone for Zara’s Satin Effect Midi Skirt ($46, zara.com.)

Late to the slip dress party? You can find fall options like the Satin Square-Neck Slip Dress in black or chocolate at Everlane ($70, everlane.com). Quince, a direct-to-consumer brand, delivers its midi-length Washable Silk Slip Dress with adjustable straps in rich forest green, wine and copper. For a longer, looser fit, try a five-star hack of its Washable Stretch Silk Maternity Slip Dress that earns rave reviews from nonpregnant buyers ($80 to $90, quince.com).

Flat-shoe fall

Sure, you can find heels this season, but when you can combine comfort and fashion in some fabulous footwear, I’m all in for that.

The one to watch in flat-shoe fall? Loafers. They are everywhere and in every price point. The determining factor is what the upper is made of. Lower prices usually indicate a synthetic upper, while a leather upper, footbed and/or outsole will push the cost up.

For a hint of shine, slip into the everyday comfort of the Kira Loafer in navy or black patent from Franco Sarto ($75, dsw.com). Fans of Gucci’s iconic horse-bit loafer will find a less expensive dupe in Sam Edelman’s Loraine Bit Loafer ($75 to $170, samedelman.com), which comes in a range of colors and materials.

If Mary Janes seemed too edgy last season, you can try them this fall as they make a return engagement. For a roomy, square-toed classic, there’s Steve Madden’s Lorando Mary Jane Flat in old-school black patent or glistening silver metallic ($60, dsw.com). Bella Vita delivers its Davenport Double Strap Mary Jane in four widths and as many fabrications ($77, nordstrom.com). At Sam Edelman, a buckle secures the single strap of the Michaela Mary Jane Flat, which comes in velvet, leather, metallic or patent ($130, samedelman.com).

When it comes to flat boots, the Chelsea style gets my vote — and Queen Victoria’s shoemaker my vote of thanks for inventing them. You can find trendy red or traditional taupe in the vegan leather styling of the Journee Collection Chayse Bootie ($80, dsw.com). Lucky Brand offers its Pogan Chelsea Boot in earthy shades of suede ($80 to $140, dsw.com). With its leather upper and footbed, the Linc Chelsea Boot captures a classic take in rich autumn shades of olive, cognac, chocolate or black ($160, dsw.com).

Keep these key trends in mind so you’ll be ready to own the seasons ahead.

Do you have a style staple that you wear every fall? Let us know in the comments below.

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