Fashion Week Must-Haves for Fall in Chicago

Peter Duhon | FlickrModels walk up and down the catwalk at Toni Maticevski's 2007 New York Fashion Week fall showcase.

Layer up, Loyola, because fall is here. Dressing for fall weather in Chicago can sometimes be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. While shows for the spring/summer collections at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) just ended Sept. 16, here is a look back at the fall/winter collections launched in February for inspiration.

Elevated Tailoring

Looking back at fall/winter 2020 NYFW, one prominent trend was various renditions of the classic tailored look — familiar preppy and professional attire including blazers, pantsuits and pleats. One designer at the forefront of this trend was none other than Marc Jacobs, who’s no stranger to blazers and straight-leg pleated pants. His collection consisted of a wide array of blazers and pea coats, channeling a sort of preppy 1960s aesthetic.

Another household name, Michael Kors, also hopped on this trend by creating several tailored looks channeling equestrian vibes. Both designers tended to use a lot of neutral and earthy tones, such as black, deep browns, burnt oranges and tans. Blazers, overcoats and pleated pants and skirts are perfect additions to the closet this fall, and can be used in incredibly versatile ways. Dress up a favorite pair of jeans with a sleek wool blazer, or put a cozy sweatshirt over a polo and pleated tennis skirt for a preppy-yet-comfortable layered look.


The classic material that always seems to make its way into NYFW made another strong appearance this season at the fall/winter shows. There was a strong presence of adding pieces of leather clothing items in order to add dimension to a look. Coach had an array of leather items, from pants, to skirts to jackets. A simple leather jacket is a great way to add polish and shine to this fall’s wardrobe, as well as to protect from the harsher weather. Faux-leather is also a more cost-effective (and more environmentally-friendly) way to go as well.


One of fall’s biggest trends is none other than plaid, which seems to come in waves every few years. Plaid as we know it first originated in the Scottish Highlands hundreds of years ago, but it was actually called tartan, as documented by a Scottish transcript from 1538 regarding clothing for King James V. Different clans would wear specific colors/patterns on their tartans to distinguish who they were. Since then, it has grown wildly popular all over the world. From ‘70s pant suits to ‘90s grunge, plaid tends to go in and out of fashion, but still remains a classic staple. This year, Chloé channelled those ‘70s vibes including plenty of plaid, as did Victoria Bekham, who utilized bold plaid patterns on slacks and overcoats. Adding a pop of plaid to an outfit over a neutral top is a great way to integrate one of fall’s biggest trends into the wardrobe.

Show Me Some Shoulder

No, this isn’t about off-the-shoulder tops (although Proenza Shouler might argue otherwise). This season is about big shoulders and big sleeves. This year, fashion week saw a lot of shoulder pads and spacious sleeves a la the ‘80s and early ‘90s. At Paris Fashion Week, Chanel’s signature tweed coats included padding and wider sleeves this year, as designer and creative director of Chanel, Virginie Viard, drew inspiration from a late-80s photograph of former director Karl Lagerfeld and his muse in this type of style. 

Chanel also included the leg of mutton-sleeve into many of their items, channeling the Edwardian era in which this style was popularized. Brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Marni and Acne Studios also followed suit with this trend.

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