Ahh, autumn. It’s the biggest time of year for fashion, probably due to the fact September has always been the time kids start back to school and ultimately need a new wardrobe after outgrowing last year’s gear. But even if you’re not in school, it feels like a fresh start each fall, and what better time to invest in some new sweaters, jeans or a jacket?
As a devoted reader of September issues, I’m well aware that there are not a ton of options made available for women with a.) androgynous or more masculine-leaning tastes, b.) different size needs and c.) strict budgets! So what you’ll see here is an attempt to give you ideas for things you can find in a wider range of these things. But my strongest suggestion is this: Hit up thrift and consignment stores. Seriously. (Just not anti-gay Salvation Army, please!) The trends that are here and now are often recycled from years past (riot girl! punk! ’90s!) and I’m not kidding when I say people recycle clothes frequently, even after barely a wear (guilty!) and one person’s donated shirt can be your new score. There’s no need to pay top dollar for something you can find for less if you’re willing to put a little time and effort into looking for it.
If nothing else, use the items you can’t afford for inspiration when looking for those you can. Oftentimes stores like Forever 21, H&M, Old Navy and Target are biting off the trends and creating similar looks for less. No one will know the difference and you’ll still look on trend, if that’s what you’re going for. (For instance, this Joy Division T-shirt at Sandro for $130? It’s $15 at Hot Topic.)
LEATHER & LACE
Just like the Stevie Nicks and Don Henley duet, rough and tough meets soft and sweet in this fall’s fashion. You can choose one, the other or a mix of both if you’re an in-the-middle-kind of girl. A lot of new pieces have just touches of black leather on the trim or as a block. (Never fear, vegans: Faux leather is frequently in use!) But if you’re ready to commit, go for a leather bomber jacket or skirt.
For the femmes who want some frill, lace is the season’s sexiest trend. It’s a way to show of some skin without freezing your ass off, a major plus. If you aren’t trying to play peek-a-boo, you can find lace print, too, like on jeans or a sweater.
Alison Mosshart of The Kills is shilling for Equipment this fall and they have an incredible selection of oversized button-downs and blouses in all the hot colors this year. That includes jewel tones (deep rich blues, emeralds and ruby reds) and black/white combos. Challenge yourself and try something you haven’t before, like a pair of purple pants or a black and white gingham shirt under a green leather jacket. (That’s the great thing – a lot of these trends work together well!)
RIOT GRRRL RESURGENCE
The ’90s are back which means baby doll dresses and grungy punk styles are an easy go-to, especially if you like flannel or floral. (For baby dolls, American Apparel has 11 different prints available in that Courtney Love-inspired style as well as a basic black for your layering needs.) Put a rad feminist T-shirt over a pair of jeans and under an open plaid shirt or on top of an A-line skirt with black boots and you’re perfectly suited for either era. This style is so easy to thrift, you could get an entire wardrobe for under $100.
Androgyny has been touted as a hot new thing every once in a while, but it’s noticeably more popular in this September’s offerings. Wildfang’s Nothing But Business Blazer is gorgeous in graphite and it’s even better paired with the matching pants for a super suave suit. Vince has a black and blue tuxedo blazer that’s perfect for any kind of dress up occasion. Speaking of suits, Dsquared2 is making some rad ones for women. (Purple! Tweed! Velour!) And sure, we don’t all have three grand to drop on a top, but this Saint Laurent metallic blazer can serve as some inspiration.
AG Jeans has fun colors like Destroyed Plum, or basic blacks and greys if you’d rather stay neutral. I’ve seen many a gay woman wearing G-Star Raw. Check out their Arc 3D pants for more room in the crotch. I’m a huge fan of Paige denim, which you can frequently find at Nordstom Rack for less than full price.
TEES THAT SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE
Band Ts are becoming way nicer lately, have you noticed? Softer material, cooler colors and just all-around sweeter designs. The best place to find these? Shows, duh! But if you can’t wait until your favorite band comes to town, try their website or Ebay for some vintage scores.
But you knew that already. This k.d. lang Vanity Fair cover T-Shirt from Otherwild is desperately needed in your closet. (I have one myself.) I also love the one with Sara Gilbert and Drew Barrymore from their movie Poison Ivy or the Queen Latifah. There’s also this fun one of Selma Blair and her wild hair. BOY London, Out of Print Clothing and Topshop are always great places to find cool tees. (OK, fine, one more music one: THIS CIARA SHIRT.)
Lastly, some fall failsafes: Military, button-downs and Frye boots.