The end of the summer has always evoked a certain sadness. The last days of August bring goodbyes to the beach, patio drinks, flip-flopped feet and warm weather. However, I’ve found that September’s arrival also births a great sense of renewal.

Fall 2008 fashion is reminiscent of this nostalgia for the past, while also managing to be brilliantly independent from previous season’s trends. The styles, accessories and attitude of autumn’s 2008 look make the end of the summer less painful, and the season ahead much more attractive.

As the harsh economy lightens our wallets and puts a damper on extravagant spending this year, fall fashion stirs up visions of the past and reminds us of a time when money was tighter. Evocative of the late 1920’s and 1930’s Depression Era, feminine ruffles, structured shapes and a romantic elegance lend a vintage feel to many designers’ fall collections.

Both fashion legends like top designer, John Galliano and moderately priced lines like H&M, Banana Republic and The Gap are spinning their threads with flashback styles that emphasize Depression era chic. A point in history that defined fashion is again influencing men and women’s styles of today. It was this era that welcomed Coco Chanel, the definition of a woman’s waistline and curves, bias-cuts and the newsboy look for men.

While summer fashion saw floral patterns and light chiffon fabrics taken from the Depression era, the resurgence of ruffled tiers on shirts and dresses, lace and costume jewelry will headline this fall. According to Retro Radar at, Neiman Marcus is showcasing many 1930’s inspired accessories this fall, while even the more urban labels like Baby Phat have incorporated glamour into their runway collections.

The 1920’s and 1930’s trick to dressing on a tight budget was to buy colors and patterns that were timeless and could last for more seasons than one. Muted and classic colors like soft pinks, grays, creams and blacks were practical choices. This year, designer’s have incorporated these basic colors into their lines, while reviving vintage styles with brighter tones of deep plums, mustard yellows and dark blues that aren’t quite navy.

For women, layering is the key. Pencil skirts paired with a silk, ruffled blouse under corset tops, vests, and slim cardigans make a statement when accented with a skinny or thick belt. During New York Fashion Week, designer, Nanette Lepore, chose to feature cropped jackets and trousers in a menswear brown plaid fit, while designer Carmen Marc Valvo focused on sensuality with transparent, lingerie-inspired blouses and tailored pants.

For men, the newsboy style and look of urban simplicity is cutting edge. Baggy trousers, pinstripes, lace-up shoes and newsboy caps seem to be re-entering the fashion scene. For everyday, corduroy and velvet blazers paired with a collared button down and jeans gives a relaxed yet fashion forward look to a man’s style. On the edgy front, stores like Old Navy, INC- International Concepts from Macy’s and The Gap have incorporated more of a trendy vibe into their men’s collections. Printed t-shirts with flashier and intricate designs provide cheaper alternatives to styles produced from lines like Ed Hardy’s vintage tattoo wear.

While Depression era glamour has authority over the tone of 2008 fall fashion, there are many separate style components that have also found themselves on fall’s front line.

While everything that glitters may not be gold, the distinguishable mustard gold color of this fall definitely stands out. It seems that no matter where you shop, from the sophisticated prep of J.Crew to trendier, sleek French Connection, this color is making an appearance everywhere. In cozy cashmere, sexy silk, crushed velour and corduroy, this yellow is the color of the season. A warm hue on blondes, this yellow pops against brunette hair. The best part about this monochromatic color is that pairs great with many different colors making is a versatile staple in any wardrobe.

With basic colors of gray, black and cream headlining this season, Women’s Wear Daily reports that patterned tights and costume jewelry are accenting the trend. Printed, patterned and colored tights add a flashy, fun texture to your wardrobe. Animal prints, argyle patterns, bold hues of orange, yellow, and crimson as an extension to the legging trend spice up any outfit. Costume jewelry composed of chunky beads, rhinestones and pearls also enhance clothing this season. Bold cuff bracelets, dazzling cocktail rings, layered bangles, and pendants define accessories with the motto the bigger the jewelry … the better!

Another trend for fall is ombre clothing and accessories. This term refers to the graduation of color from a light to a dark shade. Club Monaco features ombre scarves while shoe stores like Aldo have ombre flats in a variety of colors. Incorporating ombre pieces into your wardrobe provides an easy way to stay on top of a trend and add interest to an outfit.

2008 fall fashion’s invigorating blend of the old and the new creates a diverse runway of colors, cuts and accessories. Every personality has a way to shine with the must-have looks of this season. An incorporation of personal style into each of these fads will make you stand out amongst the rest. It’s all how you wear it and pair it.

Saying goodbye to summer never looked this good.

About The Author

Alyssa Gugliotti is a Blast Magazine contributing editor. She's been with us since the beginning.

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