Autostraddle 2010 Fall Fashion Guide for Various Shapes, Sizes, Gender Expressions

Fashionista Lily:

I have a confession: I don’t know much about fashion. But I love clothes, I love contributing the Autostraddle’s fantastic style posts, and a lot of gay people complimented my outfits during NYC Pride. What I mean to say is, picking out clothes can be scary and stressful but in all honesty you don’t have to know anything about fashion to still look spectacular! I promise!

After spending a whole school year in the northeast, I’m still not sure I understand the concept of “Fall”, much less what I’m supposed to wear. All I remember about the fall was that for about a second there were a bunch of pretty leaves and then BAM, it was too cold for me to even thinking about leaving my room.

I’ve managed to compile a list of clothing items that I’m pretty sure work for  “Fall Fashion” but then again, I’ve spent most of my life in a Fall-less existence so  some of these clothes might not keep you warm but they will keep you awesome.

1. Coats

I’m a big fan of both of these coats because of their length, color, and buttons. Both of these coats hit the leg at the perfect midpoint between the waist and knee, which looks really look with skinny jeans and wedges.

The navy coat from shopnastygal.com has a cute little hood for when your ears get cold or for when you are having a bad hair day! The coat on the right, by Tulle looks really good in khaki but can be found in white and black as well, plus it is priced fairly decently for a well made coat.

2. Jackets and Blazers

This Military blazer by Tulle has super cute buttons and would definitely be something I would wear if I were in the military. Too bad I’m gay. Take that DADT, you could have had a really well dressed lady who looks crazy adorable when she does army stuff. You’re loss.

3. Dresses

You can still wear dresses in the fall!

This Free People dress would look amazing with the above mentioned military blazer and a pair of black tights.

4. Tights

Speaking of black tights!

These opaque tights from Forever 2 ($6.80) are a staple to have in you closet like a school sweatshirt or a brown belt.

5. Bottoms

I’m really glad that high waisted pants have made a comeback because honestly, I’m sick of seeing people’s cracks when they bend down…like really, is that necessary?  I’ll take mom jeans any day.

High waisted woven pants are the perfect little gateway pant from summer to fall. They are light enough to wear in the heat but are long enough to continue wearing into the colder months.

a. American Apparel Linen High-Waist Pleated Pant

b. ASOS Paperbag Waist Pyjama Peg Leg Trouser

c. Gap Cropped slouchy trouser pants

d. J Brand ‘Houlihan’ Skinny Stretch Cotton Cargo Pants: If you aren’t totally sold to the mom-jean craze, J Brand makes these pants that sit a little lower on your waist and always look good.

These J Brand pants found on needsupply.com have pockets that suggest you are outdoorsy and/or collect stuff. I am not outdoorsy but I love to think that I could be mistaken as such. If you have similar feelings regarding the outdoors, then you will love these pants! (I’ve used a lot of clothes from needsupply.com because their model is hot and I’m really attracted to her. I look at this website because of her. I love her tattoos. I love her hair. I love her face. I love everything about her.)

6. Bags

Crossbody bags seem to be a big deal right now so I’m sure they will be a big deal in the fall! This Free People bag is more just a part of the outfit than something that holds all of your stuff but really, who needs more stuff when you look really good?!

Forever21 makes similar style bags (and awesome bags in general) at a third of the price!

a. Canvas Satchel Bag

b. Chain Trimmed Leatherette Bag

c. Distressed Faux Leather Shoulder Bag


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Special Guest Writer Nicolette:

The Fierce Femmes Guide to Fall Fashion
Nicolette Mason is a Brooklyn-based queer femme who makes a living as a freelance design strategist, contributing fashion writer for Vogue Italia, and lifestyle blogger.

1. Animal Printed Outerwear

It’s hard to admit a weakness for leopard print because it conjures up images of Atlantic City, the Golden Girls (okay, yeah, they’re awesome – but not many people actually want to look like Blanche Devereaux, bless her heart), and JWoww, but I guess I’m lucking out that it’s actually on trend this fall.

One of my absolute must haves is a leopard print faux fur coat, available from Topshop in tall and petite sizes ($190), and in plus-sizes via Evans ($110) available in September 2010. If a faux-fur coat seems like a little too much look, a soft Jersey blazer ($110) like this one from Topshop is an amazing alternative.

2. Velvet

Maybe there’s part of me longing for the 90’s, but I’m so glad to see velvet and velveteen making a comeback.

As a New York City Femme whose default is all-black-all-the-time, it’s nice to throw in different textures to mix things up a bit.

(ASOS One Shoulder Dress – $60.66,

Topshop Velvet Stripe Tee – $80,

ASOS Curve (Plus) Dress – $64.03)

3. Sheer Button Down Tops

Sheer tee-shirts have been fairly ubiquitous for the last couple of years, but the button down variety upgrades this trend to a slightly more sophisticated and polished look. Whether you layer them over a sexy bra or wear one under a cardigan, it’s a great piece that can transition easily from a weekend saunter with your crush to a night out. Not to mention, warm tones like cranberry and caramel are great complements to fall scenery.

(American Apparel Sleeveless Lawn Button Up – $42,

Z. Cavaricci Couture Dolman Top for Torrid – $34.98)

4. A Little Yellow Dress

I’d be hard-pressed to find a femme without a little black dress already in their wardrobe, but this fall I’m reaching to the depths of the color spectrum to introduce a little yellow dress into my wardrobe.

If yellow isn’t your thing, the ruffle dress also comes in a gorgeous burgundy.

(ASOS Curve (Plus) T-Shirt Dress – $50.55, Topshop Pleat Dress – $90)

5. Chunky Heels

Heels might not be an everyday ritual, even for the most diehard of femmes, but wedges and chunky heels make the entire practice of wearing heels entirely too easy. Some of my favorites this fall are inspired by oxfords and clogs, and then more simple variations that draw color inspiration from the season.

(Jeffrey Campbell 99 Tie – $170,

Cooperative Canvas Wedges – $48,

Forever 21 Edgy Studded Wedge – $27.80)

6. These Boots Were Made for Walkin’

Let’s face it: it’s not really autumn until you get a chance to bust out your shiny boots and stomp on some leaves or into some puddles. A toughened up boot with hardware details or grommets can balance out feminine flour-ishes like lacey dresses or floral prints, and they have the added bonus of being functional for the changing weather.

(We Who See Fringe Boot – $78,

Vera Wang Lavender Boot – $382,

Seychelles Meteor Shower III Boot – $150)

7. Accessories

Bucket bags and satchels are some of my favorite hands-free solutions for fall (I don’t know about you, but I need somewhere to put the copious amounts of junk I insist on carrying with me on a daily basis with my lack of clothes-integrated pockets).

They also happen to be roomy enough to tote a few essentials if you have an impromptu overnight stay, and it’s a hell of a lot more subtle than carrying a weekend bag.

(ASOS Slot-Through Satchel – $110, Deena & Ozzy Stud Bucket Bag – $98,

Buckle Strap Satchel from TopShop– $170)

8. Putting on Your Game Face

Since the fall and winter months are notorious for their dark colors and somber tones, punchy colored make-up is a really fun and easy way to add color to your look. Sheer, bright colored lip glosses are both sexy and unintimidating, and glittering nail polish is an instant mood-lifter.

(Lipstick Queen Glossy Lip Crayon – $20,

Anna Sui Sparkle Nail Polish – $15, Stila Cheek & Eye Palette – $10)


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I'm Becky. I write about style because I think anybody can look great and I think everybody usually does. I'm into self-expression. I'm into being expressive. When I'm not writing about style for Autostraddle I'm usually trying to make a film. I'm also a dancer, so I will Gahu with you anytime, anywhere.

Becky has written 23 articles for us.

80 Comments

  1. southpaw

    let me be the first to say that this is what paychecks were made for. also, denim vests make my life

  2. Vikki

    Those long john pants freak me out. My daughter wants bow ties and I like clunky shoes so all the rest is great!

    • Atif

      if your daughter wants bow ties, then please check out the link above. its high end stuff, so not cheap but you get what you pay for and they ship for free globally. its a young swedish designer who has a real eye for the latest trends

  3. Nikki Siv

    Honestly you can get most of this stuff at Urban Outfitters, which is my second home.

    • Morgan

      while i do shop at urban occasionally (mostly from their clearance section), be wary- they steal a LOT of independent designers’ ideas!

  4. Angel

    Love the boots and bags. I actually can’t wait until it is cold enough to finally wear this stuff.

  5. Julia from MI

    Um… why did I choose now to start saving money and lay off the impulse clothing buys?

  6. Danielle B

    Unless you’re counting the one reference to men’s pants twice, calling this a guide for various *shapes* is quite the stretch.

    You have a great taste for clothes and style — don’t get me wrong — but there’s certainly no divergence from super skinny sexy here.

    • Dina

      You’ve gotta consider what they’ve got to work with though – most shops have smaller models for their catalogs/websites/whatev. Autostraddle doesn’t really have the budget to do their own photoshoots. A lot of the styles pictured would look good on a range of sizes.

    • Nicolette

      Did you look at the second page too?

    • Make sure you check out the second page Danielle.

      But also, don’t we get a little credit for including 1) mens flannel shirts 2) mens cardigans and 3) mens work boots in addition to the pants? ALSO BOW TIES. I know, most of the images include skinny models. Nothing we can do about that.

      Most important I believe are Nicolette’s plus-sized items though. Be sure to check those out!

    • Also, look closer at the links made by the non-plus size bloggers – Alloy and Delia include sizes up to a 24 (I think), which is better than many plus-size specialty stores. This post blew me away in its inclusion of plus-size clothes in a non-fatshion blog, and I say that as a seasoned fat girl shopper.

      A lot of the clothing styles posted here are versatile – for example, cardigans come in all sizes, and can be made to look either incredibly masculine or super feminine.

      That said, I think a lot of people assume that “shape” and “size” are the same thing, i.e. euphemisms for HEY DID YOU KNOW THAT PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT BODY TYPES? And no matter what *size* you are, a lot of clothes that look fantastic on straight-up-and-down folks might not be flattering on hourglass folks or top-heavy folks or bottom-heavy folks or however people are shaped. And yeah, that’s rough. There’s a lot of styles I think are cute on the rack, but don’t look good on my body, and that has nothing to do with what *size* I wear, but how I’m shaped. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of people. And the only advice I can really give you to fix that is to be patient and try on lots of clothes.

      • nicolette

        glad you enjoy! i’d love to do more of these for Autostraddle.
        I’m pretty passionate about not separating fat fashion from straight-sized fashion. at the end of the day, the trends are the same regardless of size, right?

        • Indeed. I think I dislike the term “straight-size” as much as I dislike the term “straight,” as both seem to imply that anything beyond is abnormal.

          • Nicolette

            I’ve actually never thought of that before. I appreciate it!

          • Thanks! I think about language FAR too much.

    • s.w

      Hear hear. Don’t dis the bellbottoms, ladies, because my ass looks fan-tastic in them (unlike these stupid skinny jeans that just won’t go away…)

    • The ASOS Curve line, which Nicolette links to, goes up to UK26 and has both feminine and androgynous styles. I’ve bought such great pieces from them once they go on sale.

      ASOS Curve: http://www.asos.com/Women/Curve—Sizes-20-26/Cat/pgecategory.aspx?cid=9577

      They have carrot pants, “boyfriend” cut jeans, oxford shirts and hella cute dresses. Right now shipping to the US is free both ways, so if you’re anywhere from a size UK20-26 (US 16-22) it’s a great site!

  7. e

    it isn’t funny anymore, i need money now!

    • Meredith

      I totally agree! She is way cuter in this outfit than naked on True Blood!

  8. this just makes me want to go on a shopping spree rightnow. seriously. last time lily made me buy boots and i can’t buy more things.

  9. V

    Hey what color are the Ralph Lauren work boots? I don’t see the exact same shade on the website.

  10. Hm, I have a hard time seeing bow ties being pulled off successfully. JB did an okay job, but he’s also on a skateboard and wearing flannel pants haha.
    +1 on the wrap around scarves and blazers.

    p.s. The Delia’s & J.Crew blazer hyper-links are switched :P

    • gahh thanks for the heads up! It will be fixed …eventually. I promise :)

      • TimeInvariant

        The Doctor is my fashion icon

        • s.w

          The Doctor should be everyone’s fashion icon. And I’ll continue to say this, even when I end up dressed in yellow pinstriped pants and ruffled shirts.

          • Full endorsement. Also, CELERY.

  11. Becky, I seriously laughed out loud at your envy for big-footed girls. I wear a size 12 (men’s!), and finding shoes has been a nightmare since I stopped fitting women’s shoes. When I was eleven.

    Let’s swap feet, okay? VIA MAGIC.

  12. Paper

    One of my friends has a huge superman-cape-colored wrap-around scarf that totally makes him look like a cartoon character and I LOVE IT.

    But what about the places where fall (and all other seasons) means copious amounts of water pouring down from somewhere above your fabulous outfit? I hate raincoats. Can anyone give me a reason not to?

  13. Yes, I would like all of these things. Now I really wish I hadn’t spent all my money on a haircut yesterday.

    Also for fall, I love Gap men’s v-neck sweaters. I bought one and have been bringing it around with me in the hopes that I’ll walk into a cold building.

  14. gabrielle rivera

    so if Autostraddle ever does a “make over that lesbian” segment, i’m putting my hand in to get one.
    my t shirts are dope and so are my shorts…but damned if im not hurting for a grown and sexy educated look….

  15. Kendra

    Things I need immediately: a circle scarf, more wedges. I am pretty sure that I will be a late convert to the high waisted pants, but, hell, I don’t wear pants too often anyway.

    • It took me a full couple of minutes to realise that when you said you don’t wear pants too often, it meant that you probably wore skirts/dresses, rather than regularly frolicking nude from the waist down.

  16. outfar

    Great post, I *love* clothes and my bank account kicks me in the arse constantly for it.

    About the high-waisted pants though, anyone notice how irritating they become after a while? They’re ubiquitous on my train (ELL to Fauxhemian Land), last night I saw a lady wearing high-waisted shorts. I believe I also spotted an S.O.S. flag waving from her crotch.

    One more thing, great place to find tights/leggings real quick and has a variety of sizes–that little tights store in Penn Station of all places!

  17. afi

    I love the choices. Head to toe including makeup tips. Great collection, references and showing prices next to the item makes it much easier than checking the link. Fantastic post for all sizes. I am also so glad I held on to some of my old items which are making a come back. Thank you for the share.

    • “showing prices next to the item makes it much easier than checking the link.”

      I am definitely taking note of this, so I can do it for ALL the items. Thanks for the feedback!

  18. Holy center justification batman!

    Anyway, love the post! You had me a bow ties. I recently purchased a tuxedo, and fell in love with the local men’s store I got it from. They were super, super awesome with the whole me being a lady thing. AND they told me to come back regularly for free bow ties. They’re happy to give me the ones that haven’t been selling, and they’re cool with haggling over others. If y’all need bow ties, I’ve got the hook up!

    • wait, do the centered section titles not look good? Now I’m self-conscious! Should I center less things next time?! HALP.

  19. cran

    as much as this may be ‘what paychecks were made for’, do any of these items have links for less-affluent/not-willing-to-pay-104-dollars-on-long-johns-lesbians? seriously, what in the world.

    • nicolette

      check out asos.com! they have really awesome, fashion forward pieces at great prices – especially if you can hold out for their sales/clearance. I’m talking like, $14 for amazing pants and less than $20 for dresses. And shipping to the US is only $6.

      Also, shopstyle.com is a great resource to find similar items at different price-points.

    • We linked to Delia’s drop-crotch pants, that run for $24. The others including asos are around $60-70, and of course the Topman men’s kind runs higher cause Topman is like that and I usually wait for a sale.

      I understand the frustration, I don’t pay that much for pants either, but I’d like to think that we did our best to link to things in different price ranges.

      What Nicolette said re: shopstyle! Its a good resource :)

  20. I’m so excited about denim up top being acceptable again. That is all.

    • rok

      I don’t know…
      They kind of give me this irresistible urge to grab people’s crotches, which I hear is not okay.

  21. ZuZu

    If you’re wearing a bowtie please tie it yourself. I know its usually a tad more expensive but it looks a bajillion times messier and sexier than a perfect pretied. Plus pre-tieds go askew and turn diagonal much more easily than self tied bows.

    I’ve been wearing bowties for two years now and have tried all manner of pretied, they just aren’t the best.

  22. PaperCut

    “Also because I know 95% of you aren’t going to be down with the above suggestions, look!”

    Becky you read my mind!

  23. aamck

    I wore a bowtie at my birthday party last night. We thought it might be too much and I was afraid I’d get made fun off. But it totally made my outfit and I got lots of ‘omg so cute! I love your bowtie!’ comments. It also helped that my family had actually bought me a Doctor Who cake.

    Moral of the story- do not fear the bowtie!

  24. Can there be a reader-created fashion guide where we submit photos and videos of our favorite outfits and where we got them?

    Also I think it’d be hecka cute if there was an on-going feature where people submit videos of their haircuts and how they style it. Queer visibility and diversity, yeah?

    #idontworkhere

  25. aggle

    dope suggestions
    nice job
    + I like the approval of fancy sweatpants for outdoor usage
    they’re just so damn comfortable

  26. Kate

    I really appreciate how inclusive this style guide for fall is, and it certainly gave me a few tips–denim jacket, thanks, going to get one!–but I really think some attempt should be make to cite some reference points from “the world of fashion.” Even if the writer was to watch just a few videos for fall 2010, I feel like the style guide would just be more…dare I say it, stylish? And more relevant. There’s a whole wide fashion world out there just milking the lesbian look. Lesbian has gone mainstream and I really think any style guide for lesbians should reference some designers/designs.

    check out modellesbians.tumblr.com (no affiliation) if you want to check this out/get some reference points.

    • We’re always into having guest contributors/writers, Kate — HINT HINT.

      Also, thanks for that link, I’ve been looking for another good lesbian-themed tumblr to follow. Srsly.

  27. I love you for being inclusive and knowing about the whole gender expression thing. And for not be afraid of flannel and men’s clothes.

  28. i want harem pants dot com. maybe i can make them out of old man’s pants?

  29. Dear Becky et al,

    Many thanks for a particularly enlightening guide to fall fashion. As a gay gal who is keen on clothes, it’s quite a treat to read about fashion from a queer perspective. Way to take classic pieces (blazer, boots, etc.)and give them that homosexy edge. I appreciate your desire to fuck with gender – an admirable action that should be incorporated into everyone’s wardrobe.

    Bravo, bravo, bravo. And good call on the bowties – I’m a huge fan. Nothing looks cuter than a short-haired lady with a bowtie around her neck.

    Fondly,
    Shaqueera

    • Also, I’d love to hear more re: critical analysis of the ‘harem pants’… Deconstruct them for me, please.

  30. Maybe it’s just my laziness in skimming the comments, or maybe it’s my residence within a very much NOT fashion-forward region. However, am I the only one who totally loathes the “skinny pant” trend? To me, even when it’s done “right” and worn by a person with the body type this supposedly best fits, it just seems like a pair of wooden peg legs wrapped in some fabric.
    Yeah, I can agree that massive bell-bottoms are probably silly, for me, a moderate amount of flair or boot cut is what works best. At the very least, some sort of movement room needs to exist at and below the knees.
    And the mom jeans throwback?
    No, seriously, I will take the ass crack over an augmented FUPA look any day. Next you’re going to tell me that the 80’s era shoulder pads my mom rocked as a bank teller are going to be the rage.

    • petitekarma

      I also loathed the skinny jeans trend, since I am really short and I thought they made me look like an ice-cream cone from the waist down, basically. I was converted, though, once I moved to a city that only has 36 sunny days a year and pretty much perpetual rain. Skinny pants + boots = no more bunched up jeans tucked inside socks to hold them in place. WIN.

  31. Nikki

    Why did you include for all sizes in the title of this piece if there are no models of size or clothing geared at showing off bigger bodies?

  32. All those are great, can I hope it all hihi. Sorry my post is so late but I couldn’t leave the page without a comment.

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