As the leaves change, so doth your wardrobe; so it goes
// Celina Kurz

The damp, chill footprint of autumn has stomped upon Vancouver, and the time is ripe to get excited about new fall fashion. Like a reverse caterpillar, we shed the colourful wings of our spring wardrobes, full of floral prints and cute gladiator sandals, and envelop ourselves in a cocoon of the boots and heavy winter coats we haven’t worn since last year.

There are many staples that you likely already have in your wardrobe that will last season after season, but fashion is an ever-evolving beast. Without adding a few new pieces to your closet at the start of a season, it’s easy to feel lost in a crowd of people who seem to be one step ahead of you in the fashion game. Here are a few tips to keep your style looking fresh, modern, and hip.


With the onset of fall, the sun begins to set earlier and earlier. This increasing darkness in the environment is paralleled in fashion, with richer, more saturated, more sophisticated colours taking over. “The colours I am seeing all over the place are a dark forest green, dark navy blue, mustard yellow, aubergine, maroon, camel, crème, and, black,” says Rosie Barr, an Art Institute student in her fourth quarter studying fashion marketing. These colours are intense, deeper shades of their root colour, so forget about the pastels of summer and embrace the darkness of fall.

A specific shade that has become increasingly popular is a “burnt” colour – according to fashion blog Fashionising.com, “just about every label and retailer will offer something up in a burnt shade of colour that sits somewhere between red and yellow.” It’s impossible to miss a version of this cozy hue when you’re out shopping, and it works well with almost all skin tones.

Barr additionally emphasizes camel as being an important new neutral – “Really, if you’ve got a piece in that colour, you’re on the right track.” So, when you’re buying items like jackets and cardigans that you want to work with lots of outfits, try something a little different from the typical black and grey, and go for a nice camel.

Also, don’t be afraid to add a little bit of glitz to your outfit. According to Barr, “There are plenty of gold accents [showing up] as well – buttons and snaps and zippers.” Keep an eye out for this glitter on pieces like purses, jackets and shoes. If you’re not one for shine, leopard print is also making a comeback, although Barr recommends keeping it “chic but not tacky, toting one or two pieces that are leopard adorned is best … [even] just a leopard print hair tie is a fun touch.”


The definition of a “classic” item of clothing is something that won’t go out of style – but as hard as it is to wrap your head around the idea, classics are making a comeback. Barr mentions that she’s “noticed the reemergence of the classic wardrobe basics – a nice fitting black blazer, the perfect tote bag, a clean, structured peacoat, and a good pair of boots for the colder days.”

In terms of jackets, she’s excited about “looser fitting, button-down wool coats.” These jackets are fantastic because wool is an excellent insulator and will keep you warm and dry in the wettest Vancouver slushes, and they are great to layer underneath with big, chunky sweaters.

In addition to wool, fur has started coming in a big way on runways globally, whether fake or real (as long as the former is of high quality). Whether it’s a full-on fur coat, fur accents on the collar, or fur sleeves, you’re bound to see it when you’re searching for the perfect jacket - don’t be afraid to take the plunge! Quality fur and faux-fur can make a clothing piece really stand out; if you want to stand out even more, go for coloured fur. If you love the look of real fur but are queasy about the ethical ramifications, buying used fur doesn’t contribute to the demand, so you can wear it guiltfree. Most vintage and thrift stores will carry a few fur items, so scout them out until you find your perfect piece.


Good, solid boots are also a huge necessity in the constant Vancouver drizzle. According to Aldo business manager Colleen Wong, “riding boots are very in” right now. You can find yourself a pair of these clean-cut and classic boots almost anywhere in Vancouver, and a word of advice: spring the extra cash for real leather. Leather is fantastic because it is easy to waterproof and will last season after season, and also just looks so much better than synthetic materials.

Aside from leather, the best advice for a waterproof boot would be rubber, unless you manage to find a waterproof pleather boot somewhere. Frankly, the average pleather (man-made leather) boot you find will not hold up to the constant nastiness of Vancouver streets, and not only will your feet be cold and wet all day, but they will also look worn and nasty after only a few wears. It’s always a good investment to buy a durable, quality- made shoe, even if it means spending more money up front.

The oncoming holiday season will give consumers access to a variety of fun, “party” shoes. Wong points out that a lot of “fur [and] animal prints” have been coming into her store, and notes that “right now we have holiday stuff, so a lot of glitzy, kind of sparkly things are in too.” Overall, this season has brought in a lot of “brighter colours as well,” such as jewel tones.

Barr also points out that “moccasins have become a hot item,” and although these are a bit harder to incorporate into an outfit than something as classic and clean-cut as a riding boot, they can really inject a little fun into your daily look, as long as it’s not raining.


There are so many new items for autumn that it’s hard to list them all, but here is a little sampler:
1) Wide brimmed hats – “A lot like the ones that were everywhere this summer - but made of felt or wool,” says Barr. These wide-brimmed hats add a touch of elegance to any outfit.
2) Sheer maxi dresses/skirts – This is a true statement item that can cause eyes to pop (in a good way) when worn correctly. Fashionising. com suggests pairing it with an “oversized parka or knit” to counteract the “elegance” of the lightweight, breezy skirt. If you’re a little bit uncomfortable with the idea of showing off your underwear for the world to see, find one with a built-in slip or booty shorts, or just find a cute slip of your own – they can be purchased at most department stores.
3) Pleats – “Pleats are back, and they’re going to be with us for a while yet,” assures Fashionising. Pleats can be found in skirts, dresses, tops, and even loose slacks, and, depending on how you accessorize, they can be feminine or give your look a bit of edge.
4) Solid metal jewelry – This little trend is a bit of a spin-off of the late swing in fashion towards 1960s mod style, “designs marked by mostly abstract forms and clean, sturdy designs,” according to Fashionising. You’ll see solid-metal cuffs and necklaces in all sorts of different finishes and colours, although they recommend going for the textured finish of hammered metal.


Fall not only brings changes to our clothing, but also to our makeup palettes. Stephanie Titchmarsh, graduate of makeup artistry at John Casablanca Institute and makeup advisor for Cargo at Sears downtown, says that for Autumn, “heavy metal, very intense makeup is really big for eyes, and for lips … it’s a lot more sheer … If you look at the Dior runway show from Dior Fall collection, it’s a really good example of what makeup is kind of leaning towards this fall … either heavy eyeliner and a really dark lip, or really smoky kind of metallic eye and a sheer lip.”

Along with heavy eyeliners and dark shades come big, healthy eyebrows. “Brows are really big this season,” explains Titchmarsh. “Heavy brows are back in, wild and untamed … overplucked, overarched brows make you look aged and dated.” So, don’t be afraid to let ‘em go for a couple weeks. You can also fill them in with an eyebrow pencil to give them a fuller look.


Sometimes, the very idea of finding something to wear in the morning can be exhausting, especially when you’re waking up at 6:30am for an 8:30am class. If you can find yourself items of clothing that you truly love, however, it’s easy to get excited instead of anxious about fashion. When asked about why she wears what she does, Jessica Heaven, a Capilano student, explains, “I just decide to make an effort because I like the clothes I have in my closet and I want to wear them out … I like to be a little different.” Fashion can be a creative and fun way to express yourself, and there are large amounts of different trends and styles to choose from and combine this fall. With a little bit of experimentation, it’s not as hard as you think to create a style that’s truly “you”.

// Celina Kurz, Copy Editor
// Illustrations by Claire Vulliamy

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com