After several seasons of frilly, feminine, girlie clothes, "strong, sophisticated and grown-up" are the buzzwords emerging from Fashion Week for fall 2012.
"It's the opposite of last season which was uber-feminine," says Cindy Weber-Cleary, In Style magazine's fashion director. "There's a more covered up aesthetic, more sleeves, collars and not a lot of skin," she says. "Outerwear is strong, there's a lot of texture and shine. These are clothes for grown-ups."
Bloomingdale's fashion director, Stephanie Solomon, says, "It's a season about new fabrics and a return to sportswear after the dress has starred for so long." Solomon adds that next fall, "revolves around leather in the form of new items -- T-shirts and skirts -- in new colors like oxblood, and textures like shiny or pebbled."
Oprah magazine's creative director Adam Glassman calls it a "fascinating season. It's all about strength and power, but it's not about the power woman of years ago. This woman's eclectic and self-assured, and guaranteed she'll be wearing a military trench next season."
Probably true. Here's a look at some of the trends.
BORROWED FROM THE BOYS
Menswear -- especially some of the strongest suits we've seen in years -- was a major theme for next season. For evening, a perfectly tailored tux might do it.
SALUTE THE TROOPS
Marching down the runway all around town, strong military silhouettes were adorned with brass buttons and epaulets.
Designers worked materials into new states, creating unusual surfaces that ranged from sleek and patent smooth to pebbled. Buttery glove leather was used all over, and in the shine department, many designers used gold for day and evening looks.
As strong and aggressive as clothes were this season, there was still ample bejeweling and embellishment, and designers who went that route didn't hold back.
Red was the exclamation point in a sea of black, gray and white. However jewel tones such as burgundy and hunter green were popular, too, with an occasional pop of chartreuse, orange, cobalt and fuchsia.