STYLE

Big, bold, bright: Rich hues, ornate jewelry, graphic prints in fall accessories

09/25/2012 11:26 EDT | Updated 11/25/2012 05:12 EST
TORONTO - Fashion wallflowers keen to emerge from the style shadows will find an abundant array of accessory options for fall designed to lend a touch of sweetness or dollop of spice to their wardrobes.

"It's kind of a 'Go big or go home' message in clothing and in accessories, with a very big emphasis on graphics and bold graphics. So if you're wearing a very fine little piece of jewelry with that, you're not going to make the impact, " says Susie Sheffman, fashion director for eLUXE.

"We're very much behind big, bold, graphic statements, whether it be in a colour-blocked shoe or a statement necklace that's quite graphic and strong; a big bangle in a bright colour, something to just kind of really make very simple, strong, emphatic messages."

Colourful watches present another way to have fun with the wardrobe, inexpensive additions offering a "quick hit" way to tap into the trend, she notes.

For those with more conservative sartorial leanings, Sheffman says they can best incorporate the trends by selecting a piece that is already familiar to them.

"It could be a colour-blocked bag or a bag in a bright colour; but it's probably something that's in a classic, understandable shape so you're not feeling like you're going way out on a limb too far."

Oversized clutches are still big for bags, which will also see a continuation of more structured handbags spotted during spring, noted Winners spokeswoman Colleen Uncao during the retailer's fall preview.

Reina Meucci, VP of Gap Accessories, says the brand has an eye towards designing essential classics with a twist, allowing those who may be style-shy to personalize their look without taking huge risks. It's a continuing thread as the weather cools with staples like leather totes and ballet flats saturated in colourful hues and prints.

Meucci says another emerging standout for fall is the smoking slipper. The sleek loafer is often seen as a transitional shoe from warmer to cooler weather, and is typically distinguished by its distinctive rounded toe and piping trim detail.

"I'm really loving how it looks with a pair of shorts early in the season and then moving to a skinny (jean)," the New York-based Meucci said in an interview during a recent visit to Toronto. She also suggests pairing the slipper with a shrunken boyfriend blazer to round out the ensemble.

Aside from a "big emphasis" on the slipper in leather and suede varieties, Sheffman points to stacked-heel ankle booties as another popular fall footwear item.

The high-shaft, knee-length boot is one of the key styles in the category this season, says Uncao. In addition to chunkier heels, they aren't immune from a touch of embellishment with prints and colours, she notes.

Cocktail rings and bib necklaces typify the emergence of more ornate jewelry, but there are other less ostentatious options, Meucci notes.

"It would really be more about a beautiful-coloured scarf — it's almost like your daytime necklace in a way," she says.

Scarves are among the fashionable canvases flaunting another accessories trend — animal prints. But the all-too-familiar wildlife-inspired patterns are getting a reboot.

Sheffman says you can expect to see the patterns in unexpected colour combinations, noting that they are expecting new scarves in leopard print featured in purple, yellow and acid green hues.

"It's taking something that is becoming maybe more familiar to the eye — animal print — and really amping it up in terms of colour," Sheffman says. "It's funny, because when you talk about accessories, colour this season is really an accessory."

If there is any one colour that could be defined as "the new black" for the season, Sheffman says burgundy is the standout.

"What's fun about it is that it's a very classic fall hue, but you can wear it this season in very unexpected ways," she says. "I'm loving it mixed with orange and red; so it's staying in the tonal family but it's giving it a little bit of a shock treatment."

The rich, reddish-brown colour also "looks phenomenal" paired with black, charcoal grey or camel, Sheffman adds. Other wine-coloured shades like oxblood and merlot are emerging in every product category including key accessories such as boots and bags, she notes.

Ultimately, it will boil down to the individual to determine how — and how many — of the stylish add-ons to weave into their fall ensembles. Sheffman says that's part of what makes the diversity of fall offerings wonderful.

"You can go head-to-toe, monochromatic in an all kind of burgundy red ensemble, or you can shake it up and just throw it on top of animal prints and snake prints. It's really individual," she says.

"That's what's so much fun about accessories right now. That's why accessories are so important right now, because they give your wardrobe so much play.... You can go different every day."

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