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Autumn Winter Fashion Trends 2012
(Australia, NZ & Southern Hemisphere)

The over-riding trends I'm seeing for this autumn / winter fashion season are...

  • Skinny jeans in a whole range of colors from bright jewel tones to muted autumn tones -- just when I thought the skinny trend had waned and that we'd be seeing more wider legged styles!

  • 60s inspired styling: modernistic, quirky, blocky styles; colour blocking; clear, acid colors

  • American Indian and Aztec inspired patterns and materials (such as wood and feather) used as focal points in clothes and in accessories such as necklaces and bangles

Autumn Winter Fashion 2012: Main Style Elements

Pants, Trousers and Shorts

Skinny, Narrow, or Tapered?

If you're confused about the difference between the skinny, narrow and tapered styles this article explains.

  • The dominant autumn winter fashion trend is skinny, coloured jeans (as I mention above). These are great for the colour blocking trend. If you're in your 30s or younger I'd go for the brighter colours. If you're over 40 I'd probably stick with the more muted tones, especially if you did this trend the last time round. If you're not skinny yourself (both width-wise and front-to-back), translate this as narrow legs

  • There are also straight, narrow, pant styles. This style works well for many body shapes -- if you have large hips, avoid styles with obvious pockets, since they have a tendency to gape

  • And a few tapered styles -- some cropped (a very challenging style to wear without looking as if you've got really short legs!), and some with 1 or 2 pleats at the waist

  • And only very few of the wider legged styles, that I'd expected to see more of this season
  • Short shorts -- if you're in your 30s or younger with firm, slim legs and firm thighs, this is a fun style, worn with opaque tights, patterned tights, jeggings or leggings for autumn and winter. Styles include cut off jean-styles and slightly less short, 70s styles


There are still many dresses around the main styles are...

  • 50s inspired hourglass shapes -- around knee length
  • 60s inspired shift dress styles in fitted, semi-fitted and more boxy styles -- thigh length and around knee length
  • Tunic styles -- thigh and knee length
  • Glamorous, shaped, floaty styles, both short and around knee length
  • Thicker, knit dresses

Look for the styles that create flattering, hourglass-illusion shapes, from vertical panels of different fabrics or different colours. And you'll still find some flattering ruched styling details as well.


There's a greater choice in skirts this autumn/winter fashion season than there has been for a while -- good news if you have a pear shape body and wear a different size for tops and bottoms.  And good news if you prefer separates to dresses.

Skirt styles include...

  • 60s Mods-style short A-line shapes in bold colours (good for colour blocking) or panels
  • Knee length straight and pencil shapes. Some with panels of different fabric, or different colours -- the ones with darker panels on the outside, make you look narrower and taller; fun snake prints (more challenging to find tops to work with them, but worth considering. Unless you're tall and slim look for tops in the lighter, brighter tones from the skirt pattern)
  • Straight, or subtle A-line silhouettes with architectural styling such as ruching and layers of fabric
  • Fine pleats and subtle A-line with a single inverted pleat at the front.

Jackets &  Coats

  • Vests/gilets in fur, fake fur, and textured knits
  • Ponchos and blanket inspired styles for wraps, jackets and coats
  • American Indian fringing embellishments
  • Classic trench coat styles in zebra print, bright colours, or interesting fabrics
  • 60s Mod-style boxy coats
  • Duffle coats in camel and burnt orange
  • Bomber and biker jackets

Autumn/Winter Fashion Tops & Knits

  • Batwing styles -- take care with this style, it's not flattering for many body shapes, especially if you have a larger bust, but even if you haven't 
  • Neckline embellishments -- these create a high focal point, which is great for most people
  • A wide variety of knits -- fine knit; chunky, textured knits; short sleeved; long sleeves and vest styles; jumpers and cardigans
  • Plain shirts in soft fabrics

Autumn Winter Fashion Accessories 

The Finishing Touch

accessorizing the finishing touch

I know many of you need help with accessorizing...

  • Where to start?
  • What to choose?
  • How much is too much?

This is the ebook I now recommend to all my clients to answer these questions and more. See my review of The Finishing Touch ebook to find out why.

Shoe Trends

Shoes and boots are lots of fun this autumn winter fashion season...

  • Pumps -- in many colours and fabrics; many with fun embellishments on toes or heels
  • Flats -- ballet flats, brogues and loafers
  • Shoe boots and ankle boots: cowgirl style; longer, heeled, Victorian style lace ups
  • Boots -- riding style; chunky cowgirl styles
  • Evening sandals -- shiny, metallic. With bling
  • Heels: stilletto, still some wedges, plus blockier, stacked styles
  • Toes: mainly almond and pointed (though not very exaggerated points)
  • Soles: platforms, especially thinner platforms, and thin soles
  • LOTS of lovely texture: hair, suede, fish scale, snake, fur trim
  • Many different colours and patterns, including leopard print and snake


This autumn winter fashion season includes loads of choice in scarf colours, sizes and textures. Use the finer versions in place of necklaces, as well as for outerwear. As well as fun stoles, collars and neck muffs.


  • American Indian and Aztec inspired styles in necklaces, earrings and bangles. Look for turquoise, colourful beads, feathers, pseudo bone

  • Metallic statement necklaces


  • Coloured and textured opaque tights
  • Coloured and patterned sheer tights

Autumn Winter Fashion Main Style Themes

A wide variety of decades inform styles this autumn winter fashion season, including, but not limited to...

  • 60s Mod inspired styles
  • There's still some 50s influence
  • 70s inspired styles
  • Man-style suits and shirts, including tuxedo inspired styles and military styles

Autumn Winter Fashion Main Fabric Trends

Fabric Types

Current fashion trends include...

  • Mixing fabrics in the same garment, such as wool and leather, lace and crepe

  • Texture -- such as fur (both fake and real); textured wool fabrics, and wool fleece trims. Shoes and shoe boots, in particular, have textured surfaces such as suede and hair

Prominent fabrics include...
  • Many variations of wool, such as: fine, trans-seasonal crepes; flannel; suiting; tweed and merino knits
  • Silk
  • Leather -- in pants, skirts and jackets (not all at once please!), as well as panels, mixed with other fabrics in dresses and tops
  • Cottons, such as corduroy, and cotton blends

Fabric Prints and Textures

  • Tribal prints -- American Indian and Aztec inspired zig-zag patterns, including textured embroidery and beading embellishments 

  • What an artistic friend calls "oily" patterns -- they look sort of like oil on water: rich, muted, smudgy patterns of greeny blues, with hints of yellows and oranges

  • There are still many hints of animal print around too, though they're sometimes quite subtle in their interpretation: snake and crocodile; and leopard and zebra inspired prints

  • Quirky florals

  • Feminine dots and larger, quirky dots

  • Tartan
  • Lace -- especially used for one detail, such as sleeves or a neckline panel

  • Fur -- both real and fake

Fabric Color Trends

There are lots of fun colours around this season. And many navy choices for pants and skirts, so a good time to get out of the black habit, if that's you!

  • Lots of autumnal colours, especially: mustardy yellows; burnt oranges; teally greeny blues; rusts; gold, camel and caramel; browny-reds
  • Light to medium browns and beiges, both warm and cool based
  • Muted purples, mauves, burgundys
  • Pops of warm citric colors, such as acid yellow and clear, bright oranges.
  • Emerald greens
  • Blues include some cobalt, and lots of navy
  • Still some black (of course), but many shades of grey and charcoal as well

Current Styling Fashion Trend

As you can see above, there are plenty of choices in styles and colours of clothing this season.

At the AICI (Association of Image Consultants International) Australia conference this year we had a great trend presentation from Sarah Gale (famous from the TV show Project Runway Australia). She made the observation that the current fashion trend in styling is to mix and match trends like never before. It's all about finding and expressing your own personal style. 

It's a rising trend that comes from social media and fashion bloggers. Since hearing Sarah say this, I've seen it mentioned in fashion magazines as well.

While this is good news, it's also a challenge for many of you. It means it's more important than ever to understand what it takes to look good and to understand and develop your own style personality. For help with this see my articles on...

Have A Current Fashion Trend You'd Like to Share?

If you've noticed a trend that I haven't mentioned feel free to share it here.

Or, if you'd like to talk about a current fashion that you love or hate (regardless of whether it's mentioned on this page already) this is the place to do it.

Tell us what it is about the item or outfit that you love or hate. For example...

  • Do you love the way it flatters your body shape?

  • Do you hate the way it looks on you, but love it when you see someone else wear the style?

And if you have a photo to upload to illustrate your observation that would be great.

Fashion Trend Contributions From Other Visitors

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

60s hair and makeup - Brigdet Bardot fringes everywhere. And 80s relaxed fit big blazers with shorts 
Its all over the place 60s, 70s, 80s. Most fashion chains seem to have a fairy definate approach to one theme or another - its less age specific and …

Trends, Really 
I think someone in the fashion world needs to get real. They come out with a plethora of combinations that often conflict and call them trends so someone …

Click here to write your own.

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