Fall is the time of year when we get bombarded by fashion trends to consider adding to our wardrobes. It can get overwhelming and, after a long summer, with freshness and new ideas it can be all too easy to get sucked into buying these trends without thinking. However, not all trends are easy to wear. Before you hand your money over, check out these five challenging, if not impossible, fall fashion trends of the season to help you decide if they are right for you.
Five Challenging, if Not Impossible, Fall Fashion Trends
Challenging trend #1- Ponchos, Capes and Wraps
Outfit details: Plaid poncho- Boden, Grey turtleneck sweater- Madewell, Skinny jeans- Lucky Brand, Boots- Donald J. Pliner, Handbag- Matt & Nat, Gloves- Luxury Land, Earrings- Panacea, Bracelet- Kate Spade
Ponchos, capes and wraps are all over the place for fall. Trust me, I love them, in theory. I have one wrap poncho that I have had since 2002 from Tristan & America (anyone else remember that store?) that I still love. They’re back for 2015 and in a big way. Yet, before you buy one, understand that they’re not as easy to wear as you would think.
Challenge: Carrying a handbag
Unfortunately, the challenge of wearing a poncho, cape or wrap, isn’t immediately obvious while at the store. It isn’t until you throw on your poncho and grab your bag to leave the house that you notice it. You seem to have two options, carry your handbag under the poncho, causing this odd unsightly lump under the fabric, or wearing your bag on your shoulder, over the poncho, which essentially ruins the dramatic look and point of it because all the fabric of the wrap gets bunched up. Unless you want to look lumpy, the bag carrying options are limited; carry your bag in your hands or use a clutch. Both aren’t exactly practical.
How to work around the poncho, cape and wrap challenge
Understand that a poncho is not something to wear if you need your hands free, plan on walking long distances or need to carry a shoulder bag. Alternatively, you can consider a crossbody bag that lays as flat to the body as possible, therefore not creating a handbag lump under the poncho.
Challenging Trend #2- Sleeveless Chunky Sweaters
Outfit details: Sleeveless sweater- Theory, Skinny cargo pants- J. Crew, Bouclé flats- Modcloth, Handbag- DKNY, Bracelet- Julie Vos, Earrings- Julie Vos.
The stores are glutted with sleeveless chunky knits, typically in heavy wool and cashmere. They look really stylish and fun for fall, but they lack a lot of logic.
Challenge: Bare arms
If it is cold enough to wear a heavy, chunky sweater made of wool or cashmere then why would you want to expose your arms? Do you know how cold it has to be to wear a sweater that warm? Sure, you could add a layering piece, however, it’s not as easy as you may think. With such heft and chunkiness, a blazer will likely be hard to fit comfortably over something so heavy. You can try a cardigan, but what type of cardigan? A thin knit? Not likely. Plus, once the arms are covered, the look of the sleeveless sweater is now ruined, making the trend sort of pointless.
How to work around chunky sleeveless knits challenges
You may get some wear from chunky sleeveless sweaters but you have to make sure it’s enough to make it worth the price. You can also try wearing a slim t-shirt underneath the sweater to cover your arms. Before you get lured into to buying a sweater like this because it is pretty to look at, make sure it is practical for you to wear.
Challenging Trend #3- Peep Toe Booties
Outfit details- Top- Theory, Pants- Zara, Booties- French Connection, Necklace- Lagos, Handbag- Rebecca Minkoff.
Peep toe booties certainly aren’t new this fall, but every fall when I see them in the stores I am shocked they are still around. They are, by far, the most counterintuitive shoes that exist.
Challenge: Exposed toes
If it is cold enough to wear boots why would you want to expose your toes? Perhaps I’m just too old for nonsense like this, but I don’t get it. In addition, you, obviously, can’t wear socks when you wear these boots. I’m hate wearing socks, so I’m always looking for reasons not to, but if I am slipping my feet into a pair of booties, trust me, I am wearing socks. Lastly, open toes in a pair of booties seriously decreases the time you will get to wear them. A pair of boots that can be worn well into the winter have to be stored away by early fall if the toes are exposed.
How to work around the open toe booties challenge
Geography will certainly dictate whether boots of this nature are for you. If you live in a climate with long autumns and mild winters, then sure, why not? However, if you live in a place that is more seasonal and gets colder earlier, understand that you might get just a few weeks of wear out of open toe booties. If this is enough for you, then go for it. Personally, I’d rather put my hard earned cash towards something with a longer shelf life.
Challenging Trend #4- Sleeveless Jackets
Outfit details– Jacket- Topshop, Knit top- Majestic, Pants- Piazza Sempione, Shoes- Trotters, Handbag- Ash, Necklace- Robert Lee Morris, Earrings- Althena Designs.
I’m not entirely opposed to sleeveless jackets. A sleeveless jacket is basically a vest when you think about it. However, what I do find myself scratching my head at are heavy, wool coats that are sleeveless, like this one from Reiss. I guess one could argue that a coat like this is no different than an outerwear vest, but I still don’t see the logic.
Challenge: Short shelf life, exposed arms
Sure, buying something like a sleeveless blazer can infuse a little trend into a more classic wardrobe. However, don’t most people add a blazer for warmth and arm coverage? You have to ask yourself, will adding this piece to my wardrobe add more ease or more frustration to getting dressed everyday? Then, let’s talk about sleeveless outerwear coats. Seriously, under what circumstance are you going to wear this? If you need a coat it is likely cold outside. Do you want go through the rigmarole of what you are going to wear under this coat to keep your arms warm? Wouldn’t wearing a standard coat just be a lot easier?
How to work around the sleeveless jacket challenges
First, this is a trend, and one that nobody knows how long will last. If you want to test it out, do it inexpensively. For all you know it will be a great piece. However, understand that the wear time of this trend is likely short. Yes, you can layer heavier pieces underneath the jacket, but a lot of photos have shown this type of jacket styled with slim, and even sleeveless, tops under them. Sleeveless under a sleeveless jacket? What the what?
Challenging trend #5- Culottes
Outfit details- Culottes- J. Crew, Sweater- Theory, Shoes- Gwen Stefani, Scarf- Ann Taylor, Earrings- Stella & Dot, Bracelet- Catherine Stein, Handbag- Vince Camuto.
Culottes are nothing new. If you remember the late 70’s and early 80’s, or even the late 90’s, then you remember them. This fall, culottes have been seen in a variety of lengths, from cropped ankle to shorter split skirt looking styles.
Challenge: Shoe choices, flattering the legs, keeping warm
Where to begin with all the potential problems of wearing culottes. Let’s start with the length. As I mentioned, there are a variety of lengths in the stores. Choose the wrong length and they can potentially cut off your legs at the widest part of your calves. No beuno. Be sure to check the length. Next, keeping your legs warm. It isn’t likely that you’ll want to wear a pair of tights with culottes and forget a pair of stockings, so unless you live in a milder climate, I’d avoid them altogether unless you plan on wearing them for a short period of time. Lastly, the shoes. Booties will probably make you look like Oliver Twist, tall boots can work, if the culottes are long enough or look more like a skirt. Heels or flats can work. But, again, what about covering the legs? Unlike skirts you probably don’t want to wear tights with your shoes and culottes. The bottom line is, they might be trickier than they are worth.
How to work around the culottes challenge
First, either make sure you have nice legs or that your culottes are hemmed to a length that falls at a flattering part of your calves. Next, elongate the look of your legs with shoes that match your skin-tone to give you legs a lengthening and slimming look. Heels will also elongate the look of your legs. However, be careful, dark shoes with bare legs and culottes can really chop up the look of your legs. Try a pair of tall boots to cover up your legs and, lastly, understand that, depending on where you live, you may not get a lot of wear from these pants.
Pointing out the challenges of these fall fashion trends is not to say that I dislike them but rather to make it clear that they all come with their own fair share of challenges that you should consider before purchasing. Have any fall fashion trends that you find difficult? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
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Bridgette, this was an excellent post! I’ve thought the same things as you about all these items. Trust me, none will make it into my closet. Ever.
Thanks! I can assure you, not one has made it into any of my clients’ closets either.
So refreshing to get an honest review of a New trendy item. I often figure these Things out the hard and expensive way. 😉
Thanks!! I am glad this was helpful. I can’t stand when fashion bloggers just push a trend and then take a photo of themselves standing still wearing them. Um, okay. But is it practical?
This is so useful. I hate the peep toe bootie (which screams “fashion victim” to me) but do love the ponchos. I totally forgot about the difficulty of combining them with handbags. Luckily, I have a nice little crossbody bag in cognac that will go with everything. I’m not sure I would have thought of it on my own, so thanks!
Oh great! Yea, it’s probably one of the most practical solutions. I love ponchos too, I really do. I just wish they were more practical.
Thank God it’s not just me! Walking around London last week I was wearing a denim long sleeve shirt with a quilted Barbour vest (we call them Gilets over here) and my arms were pretty cold when the wind whipped up between the buildings. I couldn’t stop staring at all the women with these sleeveless coats. Eye catching yes, but WTH? How long are they going to be able to wear those here? a few weeks at most. I was laughing out loud with your handbag/wrap dilemma. I did the same thing a few weeks ago and just stood there in the entryway wondering how the hell it was all going to work. You’re right it only works if you carry your bag in your hand. Which feels chic for the first few minutes and then is just irratating the rest of the day.
Haha, funny. Yea, that’s the thing, the wear time. It just seems so silly. A client of mine told me that she would never, ever, under any circumstance wear one. She didn’t have to worry, I wasn’t pulling a sleeveless coat for her.
❤️ Thank you Bridgette! And so glad I’m not alone in being weirded out by socks. Unless I’m on the couch in sweats and fluffy socks, they completely perplex me.
Sleeveless coats could work well down here in SC, where we seldom need a true winter coat. It doesn’t get all that windy either—but I would choose a sporty vest for casual, and a real jacket/car coat for dressy….the rest of the trends are right out—another problem with ponchos and capes is shoulder belts in a car.
[…] reading this post on Five Challenging Fall Trends, Marlene asks: “Is a trend worth it if it requires a step-by-step work-around just to make it […]
Bridgette, what bewilders me are over-the-knee boots. Where on earth do women dare to wear those? I’m old enough to remember when Frederick’s of Hollywood used to send out paper catalogs. They had vinyl ones they called “sex boots”. I’m probably not the only person making that association, so beware, ladies.
Hahaha, Suzy! I totaly remember them and remember that catalog! Yes, in the 80’s they were total slut boots. I remember they went right up to the thighs.
Thank you! I thought I was the only one shaking my head in awe and wonder these past few years at peep-toe booties… Makes no sense to me whatsoever, and I do live in one of the few places that you could make them work weather-wise.
You’re keeping it real, one (or five) nutty trends at a time. I do admit to owning a ruana (black wrap I sling around me for evening events). Sure can’t wear them for everyday. And peep toe booties, just why?
Gotta keep it real. So many things can look good in theory but fail in reality.