For the fashion-conscious, the month of September means not only New York Fashion Week, but the arrival of the year's thickest and most style-saturated glossies in our mailboxes. "Fall will always be a time for reinvention... Fall fashion has purpose, direction, possibility," wrote Lucky editor-in-chief Brandon Holley in the September 2011 issue. Here, I thought, is a woman who gets it.
Every year, when the leaves start to change color and there's a definite nip in the air, I feel the unavoidable urge to do something different with my style. It's been several years since the arrival of fall has meant the start of a new school year for me, but my need to reinvent myself, even just a little bit, surfaces like clockwork.
Sure, there are women who know what works for them and stick with it. I can't remember ever seeing Jennifer Aniston or Taylor Swift looking less than fabulous, but it's the fashion risk-takers of the world like Rihanna that I truly admire, even if she occasionally lands on a worst-dressed list.
I'm a big believer in the transformative power of fashion: how a classic handbag and costume jewelry instantly makes a simple tee and jeans an ensemble worthy of a night out, the way the right leather boots and a blazer can turn the average woman into a glamorous equestrian, and that Cinderella feeling I get when I put on the perfect pair of embellished ballet flats.
It's that same transformative power that keeps us coming back season after season, ready to sift through the magazines, blogs, and runway slideshows, take a walk in someone else's shoes and ultimately make them our own. I study the September issues, tearing out everything that catches my eye, Pinterest be damned. There are the ads I like, looks I want to recreate, beauty products to try, the perfect designer handbag nestled in an elaborate editorial spread.
Burberry has come out with the most beautiful burgundy coat in a quilted velvet. I live for leopard print everything, falling head over wedge heels for Diane von Furstenberg's calf hair booties. I picture myself looking Ivy League-chic in Stella McCartney's black argyle sweater dress. Tory Burch is doing a beige sweater with a sequined fox on it. I want that, too.
Eventually everything must be divided into two categories: the wearable and the aspirational. Stacey Bendet's Alice + Olivia collection is gorgeous, but despite my best efforts, I am not Jennifer Lopez and I have never put on a fur vest that didn't make me look like a yeti. I am also not a part-time dominatrix, so studded Louboutins are out. I'm undecided about metallic jeans as my weekends are a little more Netflix than Nobu. My fashion fantasies are ultimately dashed by financial limitations. In other words, I'm on a budget. I've decided that I am ready to embrace the metallic studded sneaker trend a la Miu Miu. And by Miu Miu I mean Steve Madden.
In a 2009 interview with David Letterman, Anna Wintour pointed out that with a fashion budget of just $20, one could buy a lipstick. This season, YSL has released a new lip color in a deep bordeaux. It strikes me as editorial and begs to be paired with a Celine luggage tote. Still, the Rouge Pur Couture Vernis à Lèvres Glossy Stain, as it is called, has potential, and I decide I'll try it.