Editor's note: This article was published in Grand Traverse Scene magazine's Fall 2019 issue. Pick up a free copy at area hotels, visitor's centers, chambers of commerce or at the Record-Eagle building on Front Street. Click here to read GT Scene in its entirety online.
A glance through the pages of fall fashion magazines like Vogue and Bazaar shows models wearing denim, pleated materials, bomber jackets, capes, over-the-knee boots and plaid — lots and lots of plaid.
And while northern Michigan is far removed from the fashion capitals of New York, London, Milan and Paris, many of the season’s trends will hit the ground running “Up North.”
“We have quite a bit of plaid coming in. Plaid in combination with fall colors,” said Laurenn Rudd, manager of Cottonseed Apparel in Glen Arbor.
Fall colors at Cottonseed this year include gem tones, purples and yellows of all stripes.
“We have some mustard yellow. That trend has been hanging on the last few years, so we have a little more of that coming,” Rudd said. “And, of course, black and gray. You can’t have enough black and gray.”
Fashionistas in big-city fashion capitals are wearing clunky Doc Martin-style boots with thick, chunky-treaded soles, but in northern Michigan the boot style remains a little more tame, with classic over-the-calf boots and booties with little to no heel.
“Boots are always popular. In Chicago they wear boots before the weather turns. You see those little booties with the toes out. We usually wait until colder weather here because we have six months of boot weather,” said Annie Hill, owner of Cherry Hill Boutique in Traverse City.
Like Rudd, Hill has seen fashion trends come and go over the years, though many hang on in slightly different variations.
“Open cardigans, little bomber jackets, we’re seeing a lot of that,” she said, noting that she always tries to bring in brighter colors for the fall, giving her clientele a boost of color.
She’s also seeing geometric prints, plaid — of course — and leopard prints, too.
“Leopard is really big this fall, for print. I have a blush cardigan with leopard print,” Hill said.
Capes, big blanket scarves and ponchos made their way back into fall fashion this year, she said.
Not far from Hill’s store, Daisy Jane owner Molly Hyde is enjoying the explosion of fall fashion colors.
“There’s a lot of chartreuse greens and golds, which add some brightness to the fall,” said Hyde, who also owns Molly’s clothing store in Leland. “I’ve got some pinks and turquoise. A little bit more colors for fall than all the dark colors.”
Classics like sweaters and cashmere are store staples, along with ponchos that add a fashion statement to any outfit, she said.
“We always sell them. They’re a great layer, they’re great for travel,” she said. “We have some that are lighter-weight that are easy to pack and are so good for travel.”
Consumers can also expect to see vests on the retail floor this season.
“We have some really nice vests coming in. They’re longer, they actually cover your butt. It’s more like a tunic vest. Those are really warm. You can wear them with leggings,” said Rudd.
The ever-popular tunics tops also are back in full force this fall. Their length is a perfect fit for chilly northern Michigan fall days, and they cover backsides on cold bleacher seats.
“We’re seeing that tunics and leggings are still a very popular look, because it’s a slimming look,” Hill added.
And don’t forget denim, from jeans and skinny jeans to jean jackets and jean button-up shirts.
“Denim is big for us in the fall — denim with embroidery and denim with fraying; any kind of denim,” Rudd said.
For men, the fashion forecast calls for casual suits, bomber jackets, baggy sweaters, felt jackets and skinny ties.