Fall 2013 is based on fashion contradictions. It runs the gamut from leather bomber-style jackets with insets of knit, lace or mesh, worn with short, knit skirts and tight jeans, to the oversized shoulder coat paired with a minimalist dress. For every menswear Savile Row-inspired tweed or pinstripe, there are shiny, luxurious fabrics embellished with hard finishes: zippers, grommets, chains and rivets.

Some fashions are being turned upside down. For example, the large handbag trend has been replaced by understated versions, barely standing out from what they’re worn with. In fact, some designers are camouflaging them with the clothes, while the clutch is shown in both oversized and diminutive sizes and made of fur and soft fabrics that can be tucked under the arm for protection and warmth.

Christian Dior's fitted waist suits, with full skirts that accentuate the hips and the bust, are reminiscent of the style that caused a fashion sensation back in 1947. Suits and dresses fit for Hitchcock heroines echo the mystery and glamour of the forties, fifties and early sixties with peplums and belted waists.

The illusion of bare skin is making its way from the runway to ready-to-wear with the use of translucent fabrics and peekaboo panels. Mesh is a modern fabric that uses new technology that stretches and conforms to the body. It seems that no matter how their arms look, women continue to have arm issues. There’s a new company called Sleevey Wonders offering mesh or lace tops and cover-ups that can work miracles for the “arm epidemic.”

While clothing and makeup are understated, jewelry remains bold with one-of-a-kind pieces. Chandelier earrings, broaches, chunky gold chains, multiple bangles and watches are back. Look for watches in pocket versions, along with bold styles in different colors and finishes.

One of the most important aspects of change this season is color. Of course,  the “fifty shades of black” has graduated to the Fashion Hall of Fame as the base color in most women's wardrobes, but this fall there are numerous alternatives. Pantone, the company that develops colors for fashion and home design internationally, named Emerald as "the" color of 2013—it is luxurious and multifaceted. Other top Pantone colors include a celadon yellow-green called Linden, and Deep Lichen, which the company describes as a cornerstone color. Mykonos, a teal blue, is also on the list and I am seeing lots of blue in the market, from Navy to baby blue, in honor of the new Prince of Cambridge; and Samba red, Koi orange, Acai (a complex purple), Vivacious fuchsia, Turbulence grey, and Carafe, which is a glamorous brown. Last year it seemed I bought so much grey that I really have chosen brown and blue as this year's alternatives. See more fall fashion ideas at our 6th annual Benicia Fashion Runway production, during Fashion Weekend.

2013 Benicia Fashion Weekend, September 27-29. Three days of the best of Fall 2013.
Fashion Runway Fall 2013: Designer collections from Christina S Fashion Destination &  Be Chic Boutique, featuring Project Runway Star Richard Hallmarq and America’s Top Model winner Naima Mora