Fall Fashion Trends and its Effect on Personal Style

October, 2023
Avery McDowell

As fall is beginning, numerous fashion trends are becoming popularized. But do these fall fashion labels motivate us to cultivate better taste in style, or do they limit ourselves to only one type of clothing?

Throughout any fashion season, it is easy to get stuck in the downward spiral of not knowing what to wear, or of being bored of one’s wardrobe. Specifically for fall, many people feel limited in thinking the only option is sweaters, jeans, and hoodies. However, a way out of this mental fashion block can be through clothing aesthetics, which provide nuanced outfit ideas that people may not think of on their own. By using social media platforms to their benefit, especially those such as Pinterest, people can see that there are certainly many seasonal styles to choose from. As society has become more technology oriented, most of the fashion the public views is online, therefore anyone is able to explore multiple styles, and save the posts with inspiration they want to refer to later.

One of the most popular styles for this fall is the “downtown” aesthetic: dressing like a local New Yorker in Lower Manhattan. It typically follows the outfit of dark wide pants, a tight black top, a heavy fleece or leather jacket, and a scarf. Accessories may include chunky sunglasses, earbuds, or even a cup of coffee to add an “on-the-go” element. It focuses on layers and primarily dark colors, giving a mysterious and powerful aura. Parts of the look are more rough, such as worn out jeans. Other parts are more sophisticated or high end, such as silver heels or loafers, which are sleek slip-on shoes with a low cut and are usually made of leather. These types of shoes were very popular in the 1990s and have circled back into today’s taste in fashion, as with many other trends that seem to cycle every 20 years. Two large factors that have influenced the popularity of this style are characters Rory Gilmore and Elena Gilbert from the classic shows “Gilmore Girls” and “Vampire Diaries.” Both characters embody the core of effortless yet extremely fashionable fall outfits, with their jean-based looks including heavy cable neck sweaters or tight long sleeve button downs. Brands that carry clothing following this aesthetic may include Djerf Avenue or Zara.

If the “downtown” style doesn’t quite resonate with you, you could consider balletcore, which is much more delicate compared to the city-local aesthetic. It is based on very light or pastel colors, such as baby pinks, whites, yellows, and blues. A typical outfit may follow a skirt, a babydoll top, a cardigan, and Mary Jane heels. Besides Mary Janes, the most common shoe found in this kind of wardrobe would be ballet flats which provide the graceful and dainty touch to any balletcore outfit. In high fashion, the Miu Miu ballet flats seem to be the most coveted, along with the Repetto collection of ballerina heels. What really matters is the details. There is a traditionally feminine touch added with lace patterns, leg warmers, hearts, babydoll socks, corsets, and an infinite amount of bows (in hair, on sleeves, shoes, and even bags). The balletcore style is commonly associated with romantic visuals like Victorian paintings, ballet, or flowers. When shopping for this style, you should look out for brands such as Fenity Fashion and Kitteny.

Another way to dress in cooler weather that is timeless, stylish, and easy is by following streetwear aesthetic. This fashion label is so versatile because it encompasses multiple interpretations of clothing that is influenced by components of urban culture primarily geared to the younger generations, such as skateboarding and hip hop. It can be easily personalized to each individual. A more casual streetwear outfit may involve sweatpants, baggy tee shirts, and sneakers. More formal streetwear attire may consist of jeans or khakis, a sweater, a large jacket such as a carpenter or corduroy jacket, and boots. In any of these streetwear outfits, you could accessorize with a baseball cap, rings, or sunglasses. High-quality brands that help cultivate this style may include Carhartt and Dickies, which are both workwear companies that provide the thick and baggy pants or jackets that really make the streetwear look. Emerging especially from the bustling streets of New York and Japan in the 1990s, this style focuses on low effort yet put together ensembles. With mostly loose fitting clothes, it is very comfortable.

Finally, the fall fashion season would not be what it is today without the “thriftcore” aesthetic, which is shopping for clothes previously worn at second-hand stores or vintage shops. Outfits following this style are effortlessly cool and unique with clothing that cannot be found anywhere else. There is a certain sense of coolness being able to tell other people you thrifted a clothing item, or knowing that it is not from a mainstream brand. They usually capture the chicness of past decades, like the 1990s or early 2000s. An outfit of this style may consist of washed out jeans, an old band graphic tee, vintage Adidas sneakers, and a varsity jacket from a random high school. While there are many thrift stores located in NJ, such as Red White and Blue in Hamilton, New York also has many great ones such as 2nd Street, and my personal favorite, L-Train Vintage. At many of these stores you can even find old items from designer brands such as Saint Laurent, Dior, or Bottega Veneta.

When picking outfit inspiration from trends or aesthetics, you don’t have to be tied down to just a specific style. It can be easy to feel limited to specific articles of clothing when you are heavily interested in an aesthetic. While people may want to stick to one specific style, people also have the option of picking out what they like from each style and morphing those elements into a style of their own. For example, individual items from each fall style such as bows, the color cherry red, art prints, and metallic footwear can make the staples of someone’s wardrobe and inspire them to cultivate a style made up of what fashion personally speaks to them. In fact, fall style labels may encourage people to step outside of their fashion bubble by giving them inspiration for clothing they wouldn’t normally wear. This helps people to discover what defines their personal style even more.

As mentioned in the thriftcore aesthetic, many trends also encourage the use of thrifting. Thrifting is not only eco-friendly and cheaper, but it also allows people to wear clothing that is rarer since they are not in the circulation of fast fashion or highly demanded brands. People can often find older items that are more unique and involve more vintage looking trends from that past, since it is likely that no one else has the same item.

The popularization of labeled fashion trends has allowed people to gain new knowledge of tasteful fashion through deciding what styles resonate and building off of them. The list of fashion trends will be constantly added on as people discover more elements of fashion that express who they are and make them feel chic. This fall, you should develop and personalize your style through exploring these trending fashion labels.

In my experience learning about other clothing trends has helped me to decide what I personally like and dislike, encouraging me to try out different styles until I create my own personal aesthetic that makes me feel chic and comfortable. I also believe that fashion does not always stay the same and instead usually comes in phases, just as my style has changed to represent eras of my life. As of now, I consider my personal taste in clothing to be a combination of the downtown and thriftcore aesthetics. I love the chicness of downtown outfits through dark, sleek, and more modern clothing, however I love the uniqueness of vintage clothing that gives more edge to ensembles. I like how sleek and modern clothing makes me feel like I’m walking the downtown streets of New York City, yet I also like putting together more unexpected and unique vintage outfits that give my style a little more edge.