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Don't wait until everyone else is wearing them.
The Fall 2018 runways have already answered the question of how we’ll dress next season: We’re tapping the ‘80s for inspiration and the decade’s biggest trends, like animal prints and ruche details, are back. But let's be honest, most of us aren't going to wear that runway look to brunch. We're going to wear a more approachable iteration of that runway look to brunch. Here, I've rounded up which pieces to buy now in order to achieve said looks IRL. While I wouldn't dare suggest retiring your summer dresses yet (it's hot out there people!), I do recommend making room in your closet for one or two new fall pieces. After all, the goal is to wear the trends before everyone else does.
Fashion houses from Calvin Klein to Bottega Venetta (pictured) and Givenchy have given animal prints the stamp of approval for Fall. Before you groan and say, "This print again??" check out the runway creations. Aside from your usual cheetah prints, designers incorporated bold tiger stripes and white snow leopard designs in their RTW collections. This trend is not for the faint of heart, so if you weren't ready to embrace it before (I completely understand), maybe this is the season to start?
The snow leopard print on this shirt isn't so overpowering as to scream, "I look like a snow leopard!" The black spots, from far away, almost resemble polka dots or brush strokes. It's an easy, neutral look that can be simplified even more with a plain pencil skirt or black jeans and ankle boots.
Dolce Vita, $100
Shoes are an easy way to dip your toe (no pun intended) into the animal print trend—and this season you'll find it on the currently-ubiquitous slide. Wear this pair with denim shorts and a white blouse or under a floral maxi dress for that mix-and-match printed look.
Clare V., $135
A full cheetah-printed dress too extra? Try a leopard-print accessory. This neutral-colored clutch adds a small pop of animal print to your outfits, but won't make you feel unlike yourself.
When Little House on the Prairie meets fashion 2018, you get dresses like this ethereal one from Calvin Klein (left). Many designers sent fluttery long, loose dresses to the tune of Laura Ingalls Wilder down the runway. The pieces—part bohemian and part Victorian—weren't constructed only of thick knits, but also of paper-thin chiffon and silk, making the style instantly sexier.
Free People, $168
When I think of "prairie" style, the first place I turn to is Free People. And, proving me right, I immediately found this billowy maxi dress with a blush-and-brown bandana print (it also comes in blue) that looks like it belongs on Westworld. All I need now is a pair of brown or black ankle boots to complete the look.
For something slightly more feminine that still speaks to that prairie theme, see this pink dress from Staud. The voluminous tulle dress comes with sheer sleeves and is embellished with tiny multicolored beads near the hem. The details make it feel a little more fancy, so consider this the prairie-style look you'd wear to a wedding or garden party.
Innika Choo, $380
If you're looking for a dress to show off your cowboy boots, this number from Innika Choo has your name written all over it. The olive green midi dress is hand-embroidered with daisies (like the ones you'd spot in a field?) and also hand-crocheted for that extra personal touch. This is the perfect transitional dress to take you from summer into fall.
The color red alone isn't a trend, but worn as a monochromatic look? Totally a trend. The fiery, power-woman color was spotted across runways from Tibi to Oscar de la Renta to Mother of Pearl (pictured). This model walked down the catwalk in a silky striped shirt and pants set, and the endless shades and patterns of red on offer allow for even more imaginative creations. There's no chance passersby won't notice you.
For a summer shirt that you can wear into fall, invest in this Ganni peplum top. When the weather is warm, you can style this with an asymmetric denim skirt and a woven crossbody bag. Once the temperature drops, swap the skirt for white jeans like this pair from Brock Collection, and sneakers.
For the tiniest pop of color in your outfit, accessorize with this three-petal floral earring set from Shashi. The gold-and-red hues make it elegant enough for formal affairs (fall is the new wedding season, it seems), but you can easily dress it down for the day with jeans and a tee.
It's impossible to not feel like a street style star with a bold red shoe, like this mule. The pointed-toe silhouette and curved design makes the shoe unique among mules, and particularly fashion-y. Wear with blue frayed jeans.
Plaid is in next season and I'm welcoming it back with open arms. It's not a groundbreaking print, but brands still found fresh ways to showcase the look: take this layered outfit from Creatures of Comfort (pictured). This Fall, try mixing different colored plaid pieces together. If you want more of a challenge, mix materials (a plaid wool coat and a nylon plaid bag) too for that ultimate runway outfit.
Veronica Beard, $650
Trade in your black or navy blazer for a plaid one. This Veronica Beard piece looks smart and professional, but not boring, thanks to cool details like ruched sleeves and double-breasted black buttons. For the office, wear the blazer with trousers, then swap for jeans on the weekend.
When everyone else is wearing a plaid jacket, go for this Topshop jumpsuit. For summer, style the one piece with a white crop top. For fall, wear with a knit beige sweater. A true transitional piece to have on hand season after season.
Elizabeth and James, $445
This Elizabeth & James long-sleeve maxi dress has a very Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen feel to it, of course. They started the label! There are two ways to wear this: the Olsen way (a.k.a. slightly oversized and loose) or belted, so the dress hugs your body. Personally, I prefer the latter so I can have a more defined waistline.
Ruching is the gathering of a strip of fabric that then causes a ripple effect. The technique started in the '80s, and fashion houses are bringing it back for fall 2018. You'll see the likes of Miu Miu (pictured), Saint Laurent, and Gucci incorporating ruching—which can completely change the look of a garment, making it more dynamic in feel and appearance—into dresses, tops, and even coats.
Bishop + Young, $99
There's a lot to admire in this top, starting with the floral print and ending with the built-in tie and ruched sleeves. It's the kind of shirt you can wear to work and then on a semi-fancy blind date afterwards without worry about changing.
Bailey 44, $208
Draw attention to one side of your body with this ruched jersey dress. You can dress it down for the day time with a denim jacket and sneakers, or pair it with a leather moto jacket and heels for night. No matter what you decide though, the gathered fabric will outline your curves for a figure-flattering shape all day long.
This flirty dress has enough ruching on the front and sleeves for all my clothes combined. It has a bit of an old-school feel, but the sexy peekaboo cutout in the middle keeps it modern. Wear with white ankle boots.