Fall Fashion Forecast: Seeing Red

This fall, every designer is in lock-step about adding a hot splash of red, from luscious tones of Merlot to spicy Paprika.

By Stacia Friedman

Messages for fall fashion trends are coming fast and furious. Which ones should you listen to and which should go straight to spam? We’ll make it easy.


This fall, every designer is in lock-step about adding a hot splash of red, from luscious tones of Merlot to spicy Paprika. Leather, suede, velvet and denim dominate the runway. Velvet shows up everywhere, including shoes.

While some waistlines are cinched tight with belts, others are loosely draped. Blazers are longer, giving a slimmer silhouette. Coats are voluminous. Dresses and skirts are cut for movement with deep slits, pleats, and flared hemlines. Pants are cut fuller. (Yes, you can still wear leggings to yoga and brunch) Lengths are all over the place: mini, midi, maxi. But, really, who wants to schlep all over town in a coat that grazes the sidewalk?


Above: Remember that faux sheepskin jacket you wore in junior high? They are back with a vengeance at all price points from couture to H&M. They’ll look adorable on your grandchildren. But don’t even think about it. Same goes for mini skirts, leather leggings, leopard prints, faux fur coats in colors not found in nature and vinyl raincoats. Been there, done that!

The new basics

Denim never goes out of style. It just changes fit and fibers. Above: Chico’s Basic Denim Shirt isn’t your old stiff cotton work shirt that took months of washing to soften and fade. This baby is made of Lyocell, a lightweight, super soft, natural fiber. Note the concealed button closure and tabbed sleeves. $89.50.

Or slip into a Denim Fringe Shirtdress with rolled-sleeves, frayed shirt-tail hem and button front. Wear it loose or belted. Made of Tencel, another soft, machine washable, natural fiber in washed denim blue, $119. Out of stock at Chicos, but try these denim dresses.

Short denim jackets are still hot, but they cut you off at the waist. For a longer, leaner look, try a hip-length Long Denim Jacket with three-quarter sleeves. Wear it open over a midi-dress or with pants. But try not to pair it with jeans, unless you’re headed to a rodeo. Denim looks best when it’s an accent, not an ensemble. On sale for $34.99 at H&M.

Above: If you buy just one blazer, make sure it’s the new wider shoulder, longer cut for a slimmer, trimmer look. Sometimes called the Boyfriend Blazer, it has a roomy fit and covers your butt. Great with skinny jeans. We like the Zara Long Blazer for its length, loose fit and price, in black, $129. Same goes for the extra long Ticking Stripe Boyfriend Jacket with silky lining in black with white stripes at Express $168. Kasper’s Herringbone Blazer, without lapels or closure, drops all the way to mid-thigh for a super-slimming look, $149 at Macy’s.

Skirting the issue

Skirts have never had as much variety: pencil, A-Line, pleated, ruffled hems, sarongs and a revival of that god-awful 1960s “bubble.” Want to stay sane? Choose the style that is best for your figure.

Above: If you are tall and willowy, Donna Karen has your number. Her High-Rise Wrap Midi Skirt in draped black rayon polyester is a contemporary twist on a classic sarong. Very sexy. $175 at Saks.

Fuller figured gals will want to stick to A-Line skirts and those with flared hemlines. Alfani’s A-Line Skirt provides just the right amount of ease and flare. In Malbec, black or grey. $49.99 at Macy’s.

If you fall somewhere between, we suggest a Pleated-Hem Wool Skirt which combines a classic straight skirt with kicky pleats, $109. In grey, black or navy at Talbot’s.


Above: The newest trend in the Little Black Dress is the dramatic, bell-shaped, ruffled sleeve, conjuring up flamenco dancers, hippies and Morgana from the Adams Family TV series. Case in point. Vince Camuto’s Bell Sleeve Midi Dress in stretch jersey polyester, $99. Warning: Those sleeves could dip into your salad dressing! A more subdued version is 1.State Bell Sleeve Midi Dress with high side slit in black and heather, $89.

Want to make an entrance? Put on your best push-up bra and slip into the crisscross plunging neckline and snug fit of Ava Bell Sleeve Dress by Bardot. The flared sleeves, minus any ruffles, stop just short of dipping into your dinner. Sale $77.40. All of the above at Nordstrom.

Above: Although they come in black, we think it’s important to give a nod to two LBDs that also come in red. We love Eileen Fisher’s Jersey Shift Dress in Claret. Also in black, blue and grey in stretchy, breathable viscose spandex. $71.20 on sale at Nordstrom. Want the same look in a brighter red? Hop over to Chico’s for their scooped-neck Trapeze Dress in Vintage Red or black polyester/spandex. Just $89.  Above right: Turn heads in a body-hugging, V-neck Bell Sleeve Sheath Dress by Alex Evenings in Apple Red with Empire waist, hidden back closure and three-quarter flared sleeves, at Nordstrom’s $149.

Don’t sweat it

If you buy just one sweater, make it cashmere. There are some great private label deals out there. Above: Show some skin with a Cashmere Cutout Turtleneck in burgundy or black. This coy pullover features a discrete but sexy, asymmetrical keyhole opening. Exclusively at Bloomingdale’s, $198. Sweep through your day in a knee-length Charter Club Cashmere Duster in Crantini, black, heather or mocha. Exclusively at Macy’s, $159. Or snatch up a classic Halogen Crewneck Cashmere in caramel, black, blue and pink at Nordstrom, $89.


Leather and suede are making a statement. However, there are some gorgeous fakes out there which will score points with animal lovers, your dry cleaner and your accountant. For instance, compare Theory’s Leather Trench, $1,895 at Bloomingdale’s to Via Spiga’s Faux Suede Trench at Nordstrom Rack at $117.

Speaking of trench coats, they are hotter than ever in every length from hip-grazing to maxi, and in every fabric from vinyl to wool. The newest fit is loose and long. Above center: We like Zara’s Loose-Fit Trench in dark khaki, $119. Below left: And you can never go wrong with London Fog Classic Long Trench Coat in stone or black, on sale $110.

In contrast to long coats and jackets worn tightly belted or loose, there’s a new voluminous shape reminiscent of the 1950s. Above center: Contrast and compare Zac Posen’s Ombre Cocoon Coat for $990 at Neiman Marcus and the same look in Zara’s Coat with Full Sleeves $119. Makes you want to wear a pill box hat!

Bag it

An easy way to add a shot of red to your Fall wardrobe is with a new bag at whatever price point fits your budget. We took note of Elizabeth and James Market Suede Tote, a roomy 16×17″ tote with shoulder strap or hand grip in plum or black. $545 at Bloomingdales. Or how about grabbing a Knotted Bucket Bag with single handle and cross-body strap in red or black. Just $29.90 at Zara.

Personally, I think the predominance of red across the entire fall fashion spectrum is timely. Red is the color of life, the color of love, the color of courage. Given the threat of nuclear war and political mayhem, couldn’t we all use some of that?

Stacia Friedman is an award-winning Philadelphia-based journalist who writes on health and lifestyle for regional and national magazines. She also contributes humorous essays to NewsWorks.org and PurpleClover.com.

Share Button

2 Responses to “Fall Fashion Forecast: Seeing Red”

  1. Barbara Hammond Says:

    I love red! And, since about 2/3 of my wardrobe is black it’s the perfect compliment. Love the longer blazer, too. I still have one, believe it or not. Nice post, Stacia!

  2. Marylfloyd Says:

    You talk about a splash of red but a lot of looks are total red outfits like the ones at the head of this article. Which is it or both? Can you share some examples?

Michael Tilson Thomas

Michael Tilson Thomas: An Appreciation of the American Conductor

Basilica Farm & Flea

Eight Surefire Strategies for Giving Really Good, Inspired Gifts

A Curtain of Coupons: Is it Art, Decor, or Just Plain Eccentricity?

Le Cafe Arnold

Edible Memories: At Le Café Arnold, Chicken Flambé and V8 juice

R. Gross Restaurant

Edible Memories: R. Gross, a Garment Center Mainstay

Ella Fitzgerald by Wiliam P. Gottlieb

I’ll Never Forget … Ella Fitzgerald’s Final Concert at Carnegie Hall, 1991

Cour des Vosges

Rooms With a View in France: Aligned by the Stars

Edward Elgar

I’ll Never Forget … Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations

George Gelles and Seiji Ozawa

I’ll Never Forget … My Friendship with Seiji Ozawa


Edible Memories: Lunch at Lüchow’s with Lauritz Melchior