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Fashion Week is inching closer, but before diving into fall, let's talk pre-fall. Because store racks can't go bare (or, worse, stale) between spring and fall collections, pre-fall sweeps into stores around May with pieces to transition between seasons. These collections, which err on the side of commercial (otherwise known as wearable), stay on the selling floor for the longest, too, around six months in total. "It has become the season you sell the most clothes," Michael Kors explained to Vogue.com. This direct translation to sales has made the in-between season increasingly important to designers, stores, and, in turn, you the shopper.
We've sorted through the extensive offerings to pull out eight key items to put on your wish list, including the evolution of culottes and the outerwear piece that actually makes sense for that tricky weather spot that is, truly, pre-fall. And, if you just can't wait, we've included a few items from each trend for you to shop right now. You're welcome.
Ankle-Grazing Wide Leg Trousers
Clockwise from left: Stella McCartney, Samuji, The Row, Oscar de la Renta, Tibi
Trousers are falling somewhere between bootcut and full-on flare, but hemmed just above the ankle—think of this as the seasonal evolution of the culotte. Skirts, too, are surpassing midi but not quite hitting maxi, abbreviated between lower calf and upper ankle (Proenza Schouler showed a number of convincing examples).
Clockwise from left: Chloe, Erdem, Sea, MSGM, Sonia Rykiel
The dress of the season is the heavily '70s-influenced folk dress. Typically long-sleeved, these dresses fall away from the body, sometimes with flouncy drop-waists and often embellished with neck ties. We've highlighted mini-length styles above, but this look rippled through to midi and even full-length evening.
Clockwise from left: Carven, Alexander Wang, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Altuzarra, Rachel Comey
Pre-fall is full of outerwear to get excited about, but this is our pick to actually plunk cash down for. Long vests have been brewing for a few seasons, but really make sense for pre-fall, given the late summer delivery: They're wearable on their own in September, with a sweater in October, and layered over a close-fitting jacket come November.
Clockwise from left: The Row, Tory Burch, Givenchy, Opening Ceremony, Kenzo
Consider matching your bag to that vest while you're at it; a new interpretation of camouflage if you will. This can be as spendy as investing in a dress and bag from the same designer (Chanel, Givenchy, and Kenzo can all accommodate), or as simple as picking up something in the same color family, like The Row and Opening Ceremony show above.
Because you can't wait: Go forth and match. Right now.
Clockwise from left: Fendi, Valentino, Dior, See by Chloe, Carven
Boots with wide shafts and block heels are rising up just south of the knee. They'll pair well with that folk dress and long vest and act as the perfect finisher for this '70s look.
Clockwise from left: Lanvin, Dior, Proenza Schouler, Derek Lam, Tory Burch
For something a little less boho romantic, check out (sorry) grid prints. Designers used squared-off patterns on their own or as the anchor for plaid, largely in black or navy coupled with white or cream.
Red & Blue
Clockwise from left: Erdem, Mary Katranzou, J.W. Anderson, Dior, Carven
Impossible to ignore was the collision of red and blue, most notably the families of burgundy and navy. The two were paired in stripes, chevrons, houndstooth, and other patterns. We also saw the colors on their own in head-to-toe tonal dressing (see Tibi for some fresh ideas).
Left: Tibi, top: Suno, bottom: Valentino
Pre-fall's lace-up flats and heels take the energy of the undying gladiator sandal and pirouette them into dainty-hood with a ballerina makeover. Suno's take is tough, done in patent with grommets, while Tibi's are sweet and pointed in black, nude, and burgundy. Valentino showed contrasting black straps with cornflower and cream pumps, as well as an update to their best-selling Rockstud style that swaps studs for grommets for a sort of dominatrix-ballerina effect.