Silver Chips Online

Fall fashion preview

A guide to this year's biggest trends

By Alex Hyder, Online Op-Ed Editor
October 26, 2005
As fall arrives, the styles found in stores and on students are changing almost as quickly as the leaves on the trees. This, however, does not stop one fashion icon - yours truly, Chips' best-dressed staffer - from looking good. With these latest trends everyone can stay warm and look (almost) as good as me…

Khakis

Comfortable, sharp and most importantly, cheap, khakis will be "in" this fall. As was the case last fall. And the fall before. And the fall…well, you get the picture. Hipsters in khakis will find themselves in good company; Nobel Prize recipient Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest writers in American history, loved the smooth, tan slacks, as do nine out of every ten Leisure World residents. But khakis aren't just for dead and aging white guys. Playas, homies and pimps like me can look good in them too. In his song, "From Tha Chuuuch To Da Palace"[sic], Snoop Dogg brags, "I still got my khakis creased." Take it from a reporter whose rendition of "Drop it Like it's Hot" has become Blair legend: Snoop and his crisp, unwrinkled khakis epitomize the life of a gangsta. And this year, pimpin' is in, mah dawg.

Velcro shoes
A spiffy pair of Velcro shoes will have even the dullest person looking smooth and snappy in no time. Ariana McLean
A spiffy pair of Velcro shoes will have even the dullest person looking smooth and snappy in no time.

No longer the turf of kindergarteners and the Social Security crowd, Velcro shoes have made their way onto the feet and into the closets of the world's fashion elite. Christian Dior would wear them, were he not dead. Giorgio Armani should wear them, but he, unfortunately, just doesn't have much of a sense of style. Valued for their practicality, their ease of use, their low price and that wonderful "rrrippp" sound they make when you undo the Velcro straps, a spiffy pair of Velcro shoes will have even the dullest person looking smooth and snappy in no time.

Button-down shirts

Button-down shirts have been a staple in every gent's wardrobe for the past couple of centuries, and this year, they will be hotter than ever. So get set to party like it's 1899 and throw on a solid or striped shirt. Button-tab collars are this year's style, as is any color that my mom doesn't scream "looks just plain awful on you!" Button-down shirts have the added advantage of being able to go from casual to formal by simply tucking them in and throwing on a tie. Wal-Mart is this year's hot label, unless my mom starts getting them at Sears instead.

Hawaiian shirts

Quagmire, the sleazy bachelor from Family Guy, loves them. So does that fat uncle of yours who always shows up uninvited at family reunions…with a hangover. But this fall, women will be queuing up to meet those stylish enough to wear Hawaiian shirts, instead of avoiding them as they would less pleasant things, such as the Ebola virus. That's because those rayon rags, each its own cacophonous amalgamation of swirling hues, are this year's de rigueur fashion statement. Vintage ones, like the flamboyant, patterned garments from the mid-70s to late-80s that have earned me a place among Blair's fashionista, will earn you props on the street. Who cares if they're not really made in Hawaii? Taiwan is an island too, right? A note for wearing them: tuck them in ¬ it's the latest craze among those in the know. But watch out; by wearing a Hawaiian shirt, you may find yourself surrounded by more attractive members of the opposite sex than you can handle-I'm living proof of this.

Pocket protectors
Sleek and chic, pocket protectors are a must-have fashion accessory. Ariana McLean
Sleek and chic, pocket protectors are a must-have fashion accessory.

Sleek and chic, pocket protectors are a must-have fashion accessory. The little plastic pouches, which can be found at Staples in three-packs that cost just $1, can save you from loads of embarrassment should one of your pens spring a leak. Throw five or six pens in (Bic and PaperMate are "hott," as Paris Hilton would say if she wore a pocket protector) and you'll be the envy of the whole engineering department. Pocket protectors make an excellent mount for IDs and should be worn, well, in your pocket. Just staple the oh-so-trendy little plastic card to the front flap your pocket protector and never be harassed by an administrator again.

Keeping warm

The trouble with fall is that it invariably precedes winter, and the trouble with winter is that it brings some nasty weather. Snow, sleet and frigid temperatures are just beyond the horizon, and the enterprising hipster is left with two choices: freeze one's behind off trying to look cool without a jacket or throw on one of these hot, and most certainly warm, must-haves:

Corduroy coats

This classic has been making a comeback in recent years. Warm, soft and often lined with something that would make you a pariah at Animal Rights club meetings, the appeal of corduroy coats is undeniable. They keep out the cold just as well as an overpriced North Face jacket and have the added advantage of making you look good. North Face, I am sorry to say, only makes you look dumb enough to pay a couple hundred dollars more than you should for a coat. I am fortunate enough to have the corduroy coat my dad wore in college, back in the early 70s. For those of you who aren't lucky enough to have whole closets full of your parents' old clothes, I'd recommend hitting your local retailer of distinction, such as the Goodwill shop or the Salvation Army Store.

Trench coats

Go for the CIA look this year and try on a trench coat. Who doesn't want to look like a spook, a fed, a Mafioso or a poorly paid private eye from a 1940s film noir? Besides looking cool, trench coats repel water and cover the entire body, from the shoulders to the knees, making them the perfect weapon against foul weather. As a matter of fact, the first trench coats were designed for soldiers in World War I who, aside from dodging bullets and lobbing shells at the Kaiser's men, had to put up with howling wind, driving rain and grueling chill of European winters. Trench coats can be worn any number of ways-they can be buttoned or unbuttoned, the belt can be tied around the waist or allowed to dangle, and the collar can be worn flat, like Humphrey Bogart's, or "popped," like Count Chocula's. Be warned, though, that if you choose to wear it popped, not only are you showing an amazing lack of class, but someone might surreptitiously decide to beat both you and your collar flat. The best trench coats have removable linings, so they can be worn in a wide range of temperatures. Tan is the customary color, but black and gray ones can look just as sharp.

Windbreakers

As we are not yet in the full throes of winter, there is still time to look dapper in a windbreaker. These light, waterproof coats will shield you from wind, rain and the danger of not looking cool. They are also great for staying warm while jogging or playing sports. I have been known to wear one on the golf course, and it has my buddies wondering how I can look so good yet have such an ugly swing. Dark blue, beige and black are all excellent colors for a windbreaker, and nylon and polyester are pretty much the only materials worth considering.

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