Fall trends, observations from a fashion insider

Gregor Simmons

Gregor Simmons

Last week we enjoyed hearing about current trends from a fashion insider: Gregor Simmons from New York, who has worked as an independent buying consultant for the last 20 years.

I enjoy working with experts in a variety of fields, whether it’s a management specialist or a store designer. Gregor is one of those experts who challenge us to take our business to the next level.

Each year, she speaks at the Dallas Market and other markets, but she works in only a few trend presentations at stores, so we were delighted to have her visit Tres Mariposas. She understands what most women look for when they think of trends: “They want to look good: not cutting edge, but not dated.

“Trends transcend more than six months or a season,” she says. “And trends can be interpreted in different ways that are all age-appropriate.”

Illustrating her talk with dozens of examples pulled from two long racks of clothes, she looked at what’s happening in fashion this fall:

• Stormy weather: “It’s unclear to me whether the design community had a crystal ball, a secret Farmer’s Almanac or a groundhog hidden in a bunker,” Gregor says, “but the weather certainly had a huge influence of this fall’s fashions.”

Shades of gray can be found in the sky this time of year – especially during last week’s hail storms! – but also in jackets, sweaters, tops, pants and accessories.

You’ll see a variety of soft and cozy styles that conjure up comfort and warmth, no matter what the weather conditions are outside. Warm and comfortable fall must-haves include ponchos, turtlenecks and cowls, robe coats, chunky sweaters, fur or faux fur long scarves, leather or leather-trimmed leggings and quilted accessories.

Gregor Simmons with a ‘vegan’ leather and fleece jacket.

Gregor Simmons with a ‘vegan’ leather and fleece jacket.

• Pro-sport/tomboy: Think of all of today’s styles that have been influenced by physical activity, such as yoga, bicycling, skiing and working out – and you invariably think about stretchy fabrics and functionality.

“Active wear and athletic references are powered by technical fabric,” Gregor says. “Nylon, neoprene, fleece, cotton cashmere sueded ponte, jersey and elastine – all present.”

But this trend doesn’t mean grungy sweat suits. Hoodies in luxury fabrics, bomber jackets, drawstring pants and leggings are popular, along with what is known as the “two-fer,” a crop sweater layered over a shirt combo. She showed us some nice-looking quilted vests that would be good for our weather here and that fit into this sporty trend.

• Boudoir/retro chic: This trend doesn’t mean you’re dressing for the bedroom! It refers to soft, feminine looks in satin, lace, velvet, silk charmeuse and brocades. Inspired by old Hollywood glamour and luxury, this trend includes soft or flowy dresses, blouses and jackets embellished with fringe, bows and occasionally ruffles.

Look for glamorous details, such as a jeweled or pearl-trimmed collar on a simple blouse or a fur trim on a jacket.

An embroidered, Bohemian chic jacket.

An embroidered, Bohemian chic jacket.

• Folkloric/hippie chic: “It’s a mix of Bohemian and folk with some funk,” says Gregor. “Some of these pieces are a work of art.” This is where you’ll again find lots of fringe, plus appliqués, embroidery, beading, patchwork and prints from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Sheer print peasant blouses, with the little string tie at the neck, are back, as are long maxi-dresses.

After the fall trends presentation, attendees had the chance to chat with Gregor about such topics as which pants to wear with which tops, what women wear in different regions, and why it’s so darn hard to shop for men! Stay tuned for a future column on what Gregor has to say about trends for spring 2016.

Get insider secrets, fashion forecast at trend presentation

Trips to market in New York City are fun, exciting and adventurous. They also bring long and demanding days. Our research starts well before we step foot into a showroom.

It is my job to fill Tres Mariposas with a carefully curated assortment of trend-right, cutting-edge fashion that also fits the desires of El Paso women. But I most certainly cannot do that alone.

While giant chain stores and high-end department stores have their own buying offices, researchers and trend forecasters, small independent retailers rely on expert consultants to be on the ground for us in New York and other major cities.

It is impossible for our buyers to see every designer or vendor. That’s where a New York buying office comes in.Gregor1

For Tres Mariposas, we rely on a savvy observer of fashion and style, Gregor Simmons, and her team in New York to do the advance work and stay ahead of the curve.

Her mission is to keep a pulse on what trends and designers are performing well in the industry, forecast that forward, and tailor those findings into individual recommendations for specialty stores.

Independent buying consultants must keep an eye on the wider fashion landscape. They must be dogged in their persistence to source and search new resources. They also must have a natural instinct and talent for the aesthetics, cycles and trends of fashion.

Gregor is well known in the industry. She is regularly invited to present trend seminars to buyers at Dallas and Atlanta markets. Fortunately, Gregor is bringing her savvy to El Paso with a trend presentation this Tuesday.

Our El Paso Inc. family of readers is invited to a “lite bites” brunch and trend presentation at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. To attend, all that you need to do is RSVP before 2 p.m., Monday, Oct. 19, by emailing me at nan@tresmariposas.com.

Here’s a hint of trends to be covered in Gregor’s always-dynamic style presentation:

Illusion and lace

• Major trend lifestyle categories of rocker, pro sport, boudoir and folkloric.

Feathers go wild

• Colors of the season: stormy greys, yummy taupes and caramels, and rich wines.

Lace

 

• Details and textures: destroyed denim, laser cut-outs, feathers, lace and illusion fabrics.

Fur with illusion detail

 

• Silhouettes with a modern edge: long duster sweaters, two-fers, oversized chunky sweaters.

Sounds like we’re in for a fun learning experience!