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Fall trends are all about comfort

Ditch the sweatpants for earthy colours and soft fabrics

A lot has changed in the last seven months with the COVID-19 pandemic, and that includes fashion and beauty trends. 

Sweat pants and sweaters became the go-to outfit for a season spent indoors, away from family, friends and social events. Sacrificing comfort for fashion didn’t make a lot of sense when home was our office and our kids became our rather noisy coworkers. 

Now that school is back in session, businesses are reopening and people are heading back to the office, the Gazette spoke with a few local fashion experts on fall trends that may actually get us out of sweatpants this season.  

Cosy and casual

Jenna Hill is the owner of Frock Box in Riel Business Park. Frock Box is a personal styling service offering hand-picked outfits each month from hundreds of brands delivered to your door, a business model that adapted well during the pandemic, Hill said.  

Comfy clothes and sweatpants became hot-ticket items, but now stylists are seeing that attitude shift as restrictions relax and people venture beyond their front door.

“As we transition into fall, life feels a little bit more normal now with kids going back to school. We are seeing people asking for those business and professional items again,” she said.  

As more people ditch the sweatpants, brands are moving toward creating fitted, structured and beautiful looks while still keeping it comfortable, Hill said. 

“It's a great trend to see more comfortable fabrics, but I think we're also looking to feel good about ourselves again,” she said.

Slouchy cardigans, basic tops, and tunics with leggings are really popular, she said. And of course, so are comfy, cosy sweaters.

Denim is also making a comeback. The reign of the skin-tight skinny jean may be coming to an end, she said, and that's not a bad thing. Instead of tight-fitting pants, people are reaching for more denim, stretchy leggings and a flared pant leg.  

Now structured blazers have more of a relaxed fit, making for a more casual jacket that can easily be dressed up or dressed down. 

“Even the Moto jackets that we're getting in, you'll notice that a lot of them are made of a sweatpant material. So they have a different kind of look, but super comfortable.”

Earthy tones, like maroons, yellows and hunter greens, are popular colours this fall, she said, and they can easily be paired with more spring and summer shades.

Hill suggests pairing a blush pink denim jacket with a pair of army green joggers and a basic striped top. Black pants are great, but navy blue denim can take the look to a new level. 

Not a fan of earthy colours? Jewel tones, like emerald green or ruby red, pair beautifully with white pieces, she said. 

"Bringing your white into fall, like a white blazer with a bold coloured pant, either emerald green or wine, is beautiful."

Aside from being a tool to protect against virus transmission, masks are almost becoming part of the outfit now too. 

Hill said she's seen some vendors selling an outfit with matching masks, or face coverings built right into the top. 

“We're gonna see lots of turtlenecks, mock necks, and cowl necklines with sweaters where you literally pull it up and the neck turns into a mask,” she said, though Frock Box is going to be waiting to decide whether to bring these sweater-mask hybrids into their collection.

Mona Handous is the owner of Flash Fashions off St. Albert Trail. The clothing store has been at their location near Sobeys for the past 35 years in St. Albert. 

For Handous, her loyal customers are what’s kept her going through the pandemic, she said. Whenever someone comes in, she makes sure to help them pick out an outfit that will make them look their best. 

“This is the service I provide, and that's why people like my store a lot,” she said.

Loose and comfortable patterned blouses paired with a solid coloured legging is a popular look, she said. Soft sweaters can be mixed with designer jeans laced with hints of sparkle.  

Handous also noted warmer, darker colours are on trend this fall. 

“Popular colours this year are burgundy and mustard. You’ve got lots of nice reds, and hunter green is a beautiful colour,” she said. 

Beauty at home

Debra Van Dyke is the founder of the Frilly Lilly company, whose boutiques offer waxing, nails, lashes, accessories and beauty products.

She said their location at Shops at Boudreau has actually seen growth in comparison to last year. Once personal beauty salons were allowed to reopen, there was an influx of people in need of pampering after months of uncertainty and stress.  

"Whether it's just the maintenance with their waxing, manicures or pedicures, we're finding people just want to be pampered and they're coming out to support us. We're really excited about that," she said. 

Minimalistic jewelry, like delicate gold chains with a simple heart pendant, are more popular than oversized costume pieces, she said. Hats and scarves also add another layer to any fall outfit.

Whenever Van Dyke said she feels anxious about COVID-19 headlines in the news or the uncertainty of the pandemic, she makes sure that she's taking the time to invest in herself as well. Beauty and self-care can go hand-in-hand with meditation, reading, or other activities to help wind down. 

One of their most popular retail items is their lavender line, which comes in sugar scrubs, bath salts, body lotion, and shower gels. The lavender room spray is one of her own favourites, Van Dyke said.

"I'll do a little spritz on my pillow before bed, and I also love the salt for my bath," she said.

The boutique's signature Sugar Lilly fragrance, a playful blend of warm vanilla, sheer floral and a touch of sweetness, has also been doing well, Van Dyke said. 

With more people invested in their health, Frilly Lilly is now working on developing new product lines with a focus on organic and vegan ingredients for self-care and pampering, she said. 

"We're going to do some organic and vegan lip products and body massage oil, just inspired by people thinking a little bit different."

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