Like it or not, fall will be here sooner than you think. And while the current temperatures don’t quite have an autumnal mood, now’s the time to build your cool weather wardrobe’s foundation. A perfect place to start? The defining print trends of Fall 2022. From punky plaids to moody florals, patterns were all over the runways this season — and, bonus, they’re an easy way to inject your look with newness.
Taking a seasonless approach to of-the-moment motifs is also a way to create wardrobe longevity. “You’re buying these pieces that make you think you’re investing in fall, refreshing things that you’ll wear, but you can still wear them with summer accessories,” say Tanya Taylor, CEO and Creative Director of her namesake brand Tanya Taylor.
“I’m shopping and wearing secondhand almost exclusively these days, and a lot of things I’m drawn to are print-heavy,” Julia Gall, freelance fashion editor and consultant, tells TZR. In her experience, a mix of motifs is wonderfully fun — and simple — to wear: “They are surprisingly easy to match or clash.”
Color is key to choosing an autumn print. “The base color should be a rich bordeaux or emerald green. It just signifies that you’re ready for that season [fall], versus how you’ve been wearing white for the last six months or all these pastels,” Taylor says. Liz Lange, CEO and creative director of Figue, is also focusing on earthy and jewel tones. “Currently, our palette is filled with shades of rich neutrals such as caramels, chocolates, berries, blacks and blue tones,” she explains.
Fabric choice makes a big difference as well. “We were really concerned with what made our prints feel appropriate for fall,” says Taylor. “In spring you can do a lot of sheerness, a lot of floaty movement. For fall, we worked with really cool knit qualities.” Sweater-like textures, or more lightweight seasonal materials make for fantastic transitional items. A few things Lange is focusing on? “Richly colored whimsical prints, paired with beautiful fabrications chiffons, silks, cottons, velvets, and baby cords,” she says. “Shine is a huge trend this fall in all of its various forms: lamé, metallic threading and even sequins and sparkles.”
Lastly, let’s talk about cut, which makes all the difference in styling. “I have been gravitating towards more slim silhouettes,” Taylor says. “I think it’s an interesting experiment of how prints work, on stretch and slimness, versus against soft, floaty ruffles.” Right now she’s very into stretch knitwear. “We worked with print on ponté for more bodycon shapes that were printed.” These sorts of shapes that don’t necessarily feel married to summer or fall, and help the print to flow within the seasons.
Keep scrolling below to take additional inspiration from these experts and to start incorporating fall’s must-have patterns into your wardrobe now.
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Look for florals in darker, muted tones, which offer an autumnal vibe suited to the cooler months. “I feel like prints for fall feel more inspired by foliage versus bouquets,” explains Taylor. When it comes to styling, keep accessories summer-y or now. Taylor’s suggestion? “I styled [this dress above] with a blue Loewe bag and little Valentino wrap up shoes. It felt more summery with a pop of color bag and a fall dress.”
Pairing a deeper-toned dress with bright accents keeps things more warm-temperature apropos for now; you can easily swap in cozier pieces later. “Adding tights or a knit sock with a cardigan or a wool blazer are some easy ways to make a breezy print wearable into fall,” says Gall.
An angular retro-inspired print can feel playful enough for August, yet still in tune with the months ahead. And lightweight knitwear will transition the print between season. When it comes to the color palette, look for tones that can work throughout the year, like mustard or red, rather than pastels. Since it’s still toasty outside, you’ll want a shape that works with or without layers (love a sweater vest for this). Pair it with effortless track shorts in the heat, and a soft cotton rugby striped shirt to keep the sporty mood in check. Later on, these sorts of patterns play well with trousers, jeans and more.
An animal print is a surefire way to give your neutrals some personality. Try throwing a zebra or leopard motif jacket or skirt on with a simple tube top right now, swap in a turtleneck later. Of-the-moment knee-high black boots work wonders with either pairing.
Mad For Plaid
“It’s really hard to stay away from plaid this season — there are so many cool takes on it, and it’s a timeless option that can easily be refreshed and reworked,” Gall says. “I wear it with just about everything once the weather dips ever so slightly.” It also, she points out looks remarkably good with another timeless pattern: stripes. “A striped button-down is always a go-to of mine and it meshes so well with a plaid in a similar color story.”
A Date With Ornate
Jacquards and brocades, traditional fall fabrics, might seem trickier to style now, but it’s truly not impossible. Contrasting these heavy textures with soft, chambray denim items (think jeans and lightweight button-downs) and summer accessories (sandals and chain jewelry), will take them in a more casual, carefree direction.