Last month I attended quite a few shows at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. While there is always a variety of trends from the tents, the overriding theme for fall was the timeless marriage of black and white. Whether concentrating on one of these neutrals head to toe in a mix of materials, color-blocked together or in graphic patterns like houndstooth, the perennial classic is back big time for fall. The good news about knowing what lies ahead is that you can plan what in your closet you might want to keep or donate as well as take advantage of current sales that might complete a look for the season. Let’s take a peek at a few of the looks from designers whose creations will be serving as inspiration for many of the more reasonably priced lines.

Here Ralph Rucci combines fabulous leather lace and cashmere in this elegant ensemble. The mix of luxurious materials was a hallmark of many collections and easy to replicate within your own closet.

Ralph-Rucci

Sheer fabrications continue to trend for fall, as seen in the elegant back of this Ralph Rucci confection.

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When it comes time to consider fall entertaining and holiday affairs, be sure to pull out or purchase any flowing silks or chiffons with sparkle aplenty—a look seen at the beautiful Jenny Packham show.

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While few of us can afford the extravagance of J. Mendel, we can certainly be inspired by his exquisite collection. Be on the lookout for examples of beautiful beading . . .

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. . . and the pairing of sumptuous fabric—a wonderful idea for any black-tie event.

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Winter white is an elegant option, as seen at Carolina Herrera. Whether you are sporting separates or wearing a gown, there will be a plethora of pretty examples by the end of summer as the collections start rolling in.

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Fur is here to stay for another year. Whether real or fun fake, it was featured in almost every show as an outerwear option or trim. And don’t forget to consider it as an accessory—a scarf, muff, or hat is a great way to get in on the action. This knitted fox vest at J. Mendel is a perfect example of how to combine two trends at once, and a perfect example of how to dress up classic basics.

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Graphic pattern galore was seen across the board, including versions of haberdashery staples such as herringbone and houndstooth. Here, a blown-up version at Michael Kors made a dramatic statement. Consider even shopping the men’s or boy’s stores if you don’t find great examples in your department.

Michael Kors houndstooth

And in closing, while these high-end designers provide the direction for the season, you will be able to find these trends at all price points. J. Crew, who for the last few seasons has made a presentation at Fashion Week, showed a fantastic collection. With a broader range of customers in mind, it offered many fabulous classic-with-a-twist selections to choose from. These two looks show the black-and-white theme in casual-chic mode. 

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I am seriously considering the wonderful coat, which could easily transition from day to evening and has that mildly ethnic appeal that is also continuing through the season. Don’t forget to check out J. Crew’s wonderful line of accessories, even wearing two necklaces at once, as shown here,  for statement allure.

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Even the smallest additions can make an outfit sing like this charming minaudière.

J. Crew

So just remember—black and white is always right, especially for the coming fall/winter fashion season!

Photos by Stacey Bewkes for Quintessence.