In many arenas these days, it’s—to borrow a phrase from Beyoncé—girls who run the world (and where they don’t, perhaps they should). So what more appropriate message to see on fall’s runways than that of empowerment, with the best designers in New York, London, Milan, and Paris offering strong, chic, individual women new ways of dressing. The mood is adult and polished, with major embellishment, geometric prints, rich color, and lots of wonderful statement coats (that sometimes aren’t coats at all, but dresses or the like). In fact the shows effectively captured the extremism, wit, color, and imaginative spirit that will be celebrated this spring and summer when the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art displays the work of Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli—two of fashion’s strongest women if ever there were.
As they say, the devil is in the details. The Fall 2012 runways brought a moody elegance to accessories, with broody hues on the new high boot, work-ready portfolios, oversized totes and more — all topped off with the season’s metal of choice — silver.
There are approximately one million fall trends this season (we’ve been keeping close track), and separating the wheat from the straight-to-sale rack can feel like an effort in futility. What new purchases will really last you your whole life…or, at least, the next five years? Which trends are actually worth investing in? What pieces will make you look like a tuned-in woman, and which will make you look out of touch?
To help a sista out, we’ve edited it all down…and then edited some more, distilling it down to just 30 gems we think are worthy of your well-earned cash right now. Whether you’ve already got your basic fall wardrobe on lock and are looking to jazz it up with a few, inexpensive pieces or you’re starting from scratch and want to know which items to save up for, we’ve got the ultimate fashion field guide to plotting your cool-weather wardrobe. Okay, ladies, notepads out! Click through for Fashion Style Magazine’s picks for the season’s top trends in bags, shoes, and jewelry, plus explore all of the ready-to-wear trends spotted on the runway.