Among starlets like Barton, Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, straight-leg pants, headbands and jumper dresses have joined forces with patent leather ankle boots, leopard trench coats and fingerless gloves to make fall fashion a cross between 1960s London and 1980s excess.
"Fall is such a mix this year. One of the earliest trends we’ve seen this year is the ankle boot. Mischa Barton and Ashlee Simpson have been seen wearing them,” said Ellianna Placas, fashion director for Life and Style Weekly magazine.
“I myself just bought a beautiful pair of black patent [leather] round toe heels. It's [such] a strong trend that even companies like Nine West are making patent accessories,” she added.
At the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, Hilton hyped this trend by strutting down the red carpet in a demure white dress with an oversized, waist-cinching black belt, black ankle boots and gloves.
For a less rock 'n' roll look, the boots can also be paired with a jumper dress or a straight-leg pant, two of the season's other red-hot looks.
“I for sure would wear a jumper dress,” said fashion-consious 20-year-old Erika Steil, of Boca Raton, Fla. “The whole idea of a jumper is very cute because you can dress it up or down. It either fits or it doesn’t, so it’s easier than having to put a whole outfit together.”
Steil is also a fan of the current '60s schoolgirl look, which aside from the jumper includes vests, headbands and plaid skirts.
“I like the 1960s style. It's very classy,” she said.
Eighties-style high heels, micro-minis and patent leather bags, however, are not on her list of faves.
“The '80s were like the worst time for American fashion. Pretty soon Scrunchies will come back into style … as for spiked heels, there was a reason they initially went out of style," Steil said.
Placas agrees there are limitations to the retro look.
“If you wore these things the first time around, you should probably skip it this time,” she said. “Also, the number one rule is don’t go head to toe in anything. Don’t mix the trends. We don’t want to see the plaid mixed in with a leopard print and then with an ankle boot.”
Eighties fashion has been going strong for a while, thanks in part to celeb fashionistas like Nicole Richie and Lohan, who have perpetuated the decade they were born in by donning leopard shoes and fingerless gloves.
The proponents of the 1960s style are far less obvious. In fact, many speculate that British actress Sienna Miller, the star of the upcoming Edie Sedgwick biopic "Factory Girl," is responsible for this revival, as she has been wearing pageboy hats, mini-dresses, black-and-white tube shirts and, of course, liquid liner since early 2006.
In fact, in its latest catalogue, Delia's, a juniors clothing retailer, features an A-line mini called “the Edie Dress” and an Andy Warhol-inspired purse called “Factory Girl Bag" in its “A La Mod” and “Dandy Warhol” fashion spreads.
“Mod is definitely back right now,” said a Delia’s representative. “You are seeing a lot of black and white and red graphic prints, clean shapes and patent leather. We are also showing a lot of cooler-looking plaids.”
While most people don’t have an endless supply of money to spend on revamping their wardrobe, experts suggest investing in a few key accessories and current makeup, like dark nail polish and red lipstick.
“Unfortunately we’re not all celebrities with an unlimited resource for clothing,” Pascal said. “The best way real women can update their wardrobe is through a nice handbag. Even stores like H&M have fun plaids for around $20.”
As for beauty, Marcus Monson, the national makeup artist for Givenchy and Guerlain cosmetics, advises women to lash out and glam it up this autumn.
“The hot colors right now are chocolate browns. For a long time people have worn very light, nude colors, and now it’s more about speaking with the eyes. Eyeliner is back, thank God. Lashes are in,” said Monson, who has worked with Hilary Swank and Liv Tyler.
Last winter’s red lipstick still has cachet, except now it's being paired with more dramatic eyes.
“Some of the makeup application methods are very 1960s,” said Monson. “People are wearing a more drawn-on eyelash. It's not that cat-eye look, but it is very Twiggy.”
If you plan to update your look with makeup, Monson suggests a more toned-down outfit.
“If you are wearing mod clothing, go with more conservative makeup. The world has already had Twiggy."
But there are some retro looks that should stay in the vault, Pascal warned.
“I was in a high-end department store the other day and they had stirrup pants and I just gasped. I don’t see the need to go down the stirrup pants road again, especially with 3-inch pointy toe heels."