How to Wear It: Neutrals for Fall

Cropped trench

The word on the street is that neutrals—shades of tan, beige, sand, ecru—are the new black. And indeed, magazines and fashion blogs are rife with galleries of neatly turned out women strutting their stuff in camel coats, winter whites, and monochromatic shades of pale that look at once elegantly considered and effortlessly chic. But I've always had trouble with that palette. It makes me feel either like an army recruit, a prep school co-ed, or a cavalry cowgirl. Never mind that if I wear anything lighter than charcoal or navy, I'm basically a walking salsa stain waiting to happen.

Neutral outfit inspiration

But I'm always up for a challenge, so here's my take on this fall's neutrals trend. Olive green is like the moodier cousin of camel, so I used that as my starting point with a midi skirt that has a bit of fullness for a demure retro secretary vibe. (Also it has pockets, which is just plain awesome.) A cropped trench came next, its body really more of a sandy grey than a warm beige to diminish the risk that I'll be mistaken for a Campfire Scout circa 1940. 

Midi skirt

Sturdy platform sandals with wide straps balance out the volume in the skirt and jacket, and a woven attache adds graphic texture to offset the drapes and folds of the outfit. The resulting look checks all the boxes for the classic appeal of neutrals, but it also feels modern too. (Dare I say even a little avant garde?) Best of all, if I wear this out to a Mexican restaurant I can order chips and dip—and if I spill, it'll blend right in!

P.S. I've had this cropped trench for years. See how I wore it in 2012! Shopping Guide: Cropped Trench, Mason Michelle Mason (old, similar here). Midi Skirt, Zara. Leather Laptop Bag, Clare V. Platform Sandals, MICHAEL Michael Kors (old, similar here). Photos: Bryan Dale.