Out of the Closet

Thu. September 13, 2007 12:00 AM
by Isaiah Freeman Schub

For many Chicagoans the thought of fall is utterly abhorrent. Giving up the freedom and gaiety of summer for cold, fickle autumn days and fear of the perpetually encroaching winter is hardly appealing. The inevitable exchange of warm weather attire for long trousers and thick sweaters only worsens the pain for those who relish in the fleeting moments of summer. For some changing the contents of one's closet to prepare for cooler weather has even come to signify the onset of a wistful, subdued state of mind. As each gossamery piece gets stashed away, the rampant glee of summer seems to be carried with them, folded between the linen shirts and khaki shorts only to be replaced with wool and sullenness.

Such a process should not be nearly as dejecting as many make it. In fact, it is possible to make the commencement of fall and the corresponding wardrobe alterations joyous experiences. Colder days offer significantly more style opportunities than the sweltering, sauna-like spells of July and August where donning even the tiniest iota of clothing sacrifices comfort. Options abound during the chilly months when one can layer beautiful shirts, sweaters, skirts, and scarves until optimal stylistic expression is achieved. Not to mention the infinitesimal jacket choices in all different materials, lengths, and weights. How could the prospective feeling of being wrapped in soft cashmeres not incite a state of elation? Autumn need not be a transitory period to longingly muse over more carefree times, but rather a season to embrace in its own glory, especially sartorially.

There are a multitude of appealing trends on the horizon for fall outlined below. Be careful not to become a victim of these trends, but rather to interpret them in a well-defined style of your own. Revel in the bounty of fabulous ensembles which await!


The Oxford Pump

Call it what you will – the ankle boot, lace-up heel, or "bootie" (the most unfortunately infantile designation), these menswear-inspired shoes will be ubiquitous this fall. Opt for unique features such as patent leather trim, perforation, or a peep toe to differentiate yourself from the pack.

Marc by Marc Jacobs $450
Available at Saks Fifth Avenue

Jewel Tones

Nature vs. Nurture? Well it's no debate that the naturally rich hues found in gemstones will bring a punch to this fall's color palette. Opaque tights (arguably a trend on their own) or silky frocks in shades like amethyst and tanzanite are fantastic ways to complete an ensemble. Beautifully crafted hats are a great means to introduce a little color as well.

Tights by Hue $11
Available at Nordstrom

Dress by Miu Miu approximately $1,550
Available at netaporter.com

Wide Leg Trousers

If you reluctantly surrendered to the skinny jean revolution, you may find this new silhouette somewhat easier to adopt. Roomy but tailored trousers like these from Valette (Nordstrom's new chic in-house line) can bring simple sophistication to a fall wardrobe, especially when paired with this season's stylish knits.

Valette Wide Leg Pleat Pants in Olive $198.00
Available exclusively at Nordstrom


Sweaters may seem like a no-brainer for the colder months, but this fall designers have embraced knitwear wholeheartedly, offering variations on classic shapes like the double-breasted cardigan shown here. Pair them with anything and everything in your closet and remember: once you go cashmere, you can never go back.

Double-breasted cardigan with cabling by 3.1 Phillip Lim $445
Available at shopjake.com

Long Gloves

Dramatic luxury teems from these splendid gloves. Enjoy living up to the elbows in extravagance and go for a pair in a unique material or finish.

Python Long Gloves by Burberry $750
GIM Patent Gloves in Black $175
Both Available at Neiman Marcus


Menswear is inherently less variable than women's fashions, allowing for even subtler integration of trends into a smartly-constructed wardrobe. Let fall be a time to ensure you have staples of the highest quality – something to hold on to as the fads blow by. Some pieces below are essentials for every man's fall wardrobe, some are more transient for this particular season, but still maintain classic airs about them. True style is about the proper pairing of trendy and foundational.


Many variations on the classic pattern were evident in the fall collections. Designers such as Alexander McQueen tender their tartans, showing a misty plaid button down, while Phillip Lim offers his take on an English hunting jacket in a bold red hue. Conveniently, flannel shirts are also a must this season.

From left to right: Adam Kimmel "butch" shirt $300 available at Jake, Alexander McQueen Plaid Button Down approx. $460 available at oki-ni.com, 3.1 Phillip Lim English Hunting Jacket $595 available at Barneys CO-OP.

The Techno Pant

Lest some readers be confused, these trousers are not intended to stash contraband while writhing to the digital beats of techno music. Rather, the name comes from the luxe techno-fabric construction which echoes the current wave of futurism in fashion. Pair them with sleek but rugged boots and you will have the proper silhouette should life end as we know it.

Prada Techno Stretch Pant $435 available at Barneys

Après-Ski Sweaters

Just because the closest you will ever get to après-ski festivities is staring at a can of Swiss Miss while waiting for the mini marshmallows to swell, doesn't mean you can't partake in the snappy style of the most avid skiers. Dale of Norway, the largest manufacturer of traditional Norwegian knitwear, has supplied numerous Olympic teams with their high quality sweaters and is a clear choice even if you are more about the après than the ski.

From Right to Left: Stoneham Sweater $269 and Otra Cardigan $299 both by Dale of Norway
Available at select ski shops

The Classic Gray Suit

With notes of Cary Grant in North by Northwest, less is certainly more when choosing a staple like a charcoal suit. A slim shape, subtle zigzag pattern and shorter jacket make this suit streamlined and modern without looking too trendy. To complete the natty ensemble, pair it with a narrow belt and some of fall's smart looking brogues. Vest and bow tie are purely optional.

Band of Outsiders Classic Suit $2,050
Available at eluxury.com