Black is the new black.
As the leaves begin to turn, the chicest women of them all will be wearing skinny pants, high-necked, ladylike tops and, yes, lots of black.
"The return of black is huge. It's not just black as simple and smooth, it's embellished black on everything from boots to fur," said Tracy Taylor, a fashion director for Marie Claire.
But it's not good enough be shrouded in darkness this season. Modest femininity is also key.
"One of the overall themes is covering up in a very ladylike way," said Elycia Rubin, author of "Frumpy to Foxy in Fifteen Minutes Flat."
Aside from not-so-basic black, fall's clothes are popping with warm, rich colors that mimic nature. Rattan, burnt orange, moss, olive and wine are colors that are showing up in a variety of breathtaking styles.
One of the most exciting trends is the triumphant return of high-rise jeans and pants. Low-rise plumber pants are fading out and pants are looking much slimmer, even tapered at times.
"Tapered jeans are definitely in, as well as a slim-cut in general, but you need a smaller frame to pull off that look," said Rubin.
Rumor has it that the cast of "The O.C." loves the clean lines of Lacoste's new slim-cut jeans (search).
"Although a slimmer silhouette can look great in leggings, don't do it," said Taylor.
For the rest of us, embellished jeans are also going to be huge this fall.
As for shoes, one of the essential items is a pair of round-toe pumps, especially those with peep-toes.
Another favorite is the flat boot, especially if it's crocodile. Look for flat boots with studs and grommets, fur cuffs or fur up the sides and moccasin slouch boots with detailing or embroidery.
Ballerina flats are still popular with celebs like Barton and Kirsten Dunst (search). Barton wears hers with leggings and skirts; Dunst favors dresses.
Shrunken cardigans and blazers are also still a staple. A fitted wraparound or buttoned-up, cropped cardigan looks great over a sexy camisole, and can bring together a pencil skirt, dress or tailored pants.
The Status Bag
Bags this season come in a variety of styles, but the best ones are those that match the lavishness of the season.
Hollywood's hippest girls are carrying the new Chloe Paddington bag. Barton, Kate Bosworth, Nicky Hilton and Nicole Richie are just some of the celebs that have been seen with it.
While this bag may out of price range for most of us (and out of stock for the rest), it can still serve as an example of what a great bag needs this fall: a top handle, luxurious material and some extra flair with locks, grommets or tassels.
Leather bags with gold hardware, velvet bags, bags with fur detailing, cashmere bags and luxe tweed bags — no matter which material you choose, make sure it's decadent.
Women love a man in uniform, but this season, men may love a woman in uniform. That's because jackets and dress shirts with a touch of military flavor are very hot right now.
Brave New World
There's a new spin on the hippie, bohemian trend that the public so dearly loves.
Instead of the summery tunics that have been dominating department stores for months, fall is influenced by colder countries — think ancient and Arctic.
"I'm happy to see the demise of the quintessential hippie look and the movement to a more worldly hippie," said Taylor.
Russian, Scandinavian, English and Peruvian detailing beautifully adorn fall and winter clothes. The eclectic ethnic style has some Tibetan influence as well, especially on knits and prints.
Rubin said the embellished, beautiful clothing has a worldly influence but is very refined. Expect imperial tailoring, fur trim and magnificent embroidery. There will also be some embroidered wool clothing inspired by the peasants of the Russian Steppes.
The prim and proper Victorian theme will be an undertone all over the racks, with high necks, ruffles, velvet and ladylike lace.
"Lizard and exotic leathers make it a very high-society season," said Rubin.
This style may be a bit too formal for most women, however, the overall trend toward the refined and sophisticated is not.
Fashion consultants expect ladylike chic to creep into wardrobes very subtly with elaborate fabrics and a less revealing style, rather than as a full-blown revival of corsets and hoop skirts.
"I'd like to keep lace and ruffles and lose the covered-up thing — no one wants to look like a grandma from the turn of the century," said Taylor.
But Rubin thinks the ladylike look is a step up from belly-baring, butt-cleavage revealing trends of yesteryear.
"I love the richness of the season and the velvet — not at all trashy — more refined, which is a welcome change," she said.