Usually the oncoming cold weather and falling leaves can lead us to whatever activities and emotions (melancholy? Introspection? Hibernation? Ski conditioning?) one associates with pulling those dark, muted colors out of our wardrobes.
Not this season.
Looking at fashion trends going into the fall, the blacks and grays have been replaced for 2012 with those bright colors we saw emerge in the spring and summer, particularly in denim.
"Jeans actually have really come around again," said Molly Summerhill, of Roxy. "After the introduction of colors in the summer, the big trends for fall is the color still going forward. There are lots of wines and emerald, wine and orange, mustard. Last winter was gray and black. People are so excited to see color. The response was so strong, the direction we've gotten in our pre-fall stuff. People are happy to see some deep, rich colors. Everyone needs one colored pair. It's funny, you'd think it wouldn't be the most flattering thing to have a bright color on your bottom half, but they can come in a cut that's actually very sleek."
Local shop owners and buyers have just returned from the annual Magic fall fashion tradeshow in Las Vegas and are running with what they've learned, stocking up on their autumn offerings. But even before the new trends were on display, various fashion spies already spilled the beans on what to look for.
According to a Glamour Magazine's fall fashion rundown, wine is the hot color for women's clothing in 2012, particularly in jackets and cardigans. For men, however, dark blue is coming back.
"Midnight blue is the new black in men's wear," said Arriesgado's Cabal Yarne. "We see it more for jackets. Blazers are popular again for dressing things up. And everything is getting a little more shaped for men ... not as baggy."
While black is never truly out of style, Glamour suggests that you "splash up" an all-black fall outfit with bright red shoes, and it also points out that "shiny tights make an outfit look more expensive."
Shiny isn't only trendy for tights. If you're not wearing colored jeans, you'd better be in a pair of sparkly metallic ones, because the metal look - not mullets, mind you, but sparkles - is hot.
"There is a new trend in metallic overlay and a liquid metallic finish," Summerhill said. "The denim is wax-coated with shimmer added."
Valleygirl's Sandy Helt goes further to describe the color scheme as "jewel tones."
"Jewel tones [of] burgundy, mustard, emerald and cobalt and all metallic tones of silver, gold and rose gold," she said.
And the shimmer is not just in the bottoms. According to Helt, it's not a bad idea to put a little twinkle in your top, too.
"Sparkly sweaters are everywhere this fall and holiday," she said. "Sweaters with sequins or metallic thread woven into the knits are a must-have item for the season. This is a great style to feel dressed up but not overdressed for evening mountain events."
A mix of materials is also hip for tops - knit sweaters with leather colors or pockets, silk and cotton blouses, a little lace sticking out here and there ...
Stylishly unlikely combinations
Glamour recommends that a "girly" ensemble be toned down with "one sporty element." This shouldn't be hard for mountain girls. The suggestions are ball caps, bulky jackets or a combo of "rustic sweater with dance-floor bottoms." The warning is "don't overdue it." That means a stocking hat and a bulky jacket might be a little too much, ladies.
Also, in contrast to the historically dull and muted colors and combos for fall, patterns are still big among women's blouses and jackets, from floral to polka dots to animal prints, but also a little touch of the southwest.
"A huge trend is Missoni-inspired zigzag prints," Helt said. "Missoni zigzag prints are very popular on dresses, tops and scarves."
"The Aztec Indian prints are strong for fall," Summerhill agreed.
Moving onto accessories, there are some other eye-catching standouts this fall, namely neon. Valleygirl will carry a line of knit hats and scarves that will be hard to miss when scanning a crowd.
"I have ordered a few styles in some bright neons that you can't help but love when you see them," Helt said. "They are really fun and will make great holidays gifts."
That's right ... day-glo is not just a thing of the early '90s. Just like skulls are not only for Halloween. You may have thought they had come and gone in an all-around fashion sense, but they haven't. Skulls are back.
"We have seen it before. It's one of those things that will never go away, the way it cycles back through," Summerhill said. "[Designer] Alexander McQueen did a silk skull scarf that's been popular. I'm excited that the skull jewelry is back, turquoise or we have a black cardigan with a skull on the back. The way we feel about it is if it's done tastefully, a skull cardigan might be for someone in her 20s to mid-30s, but a bracelet with a skull ... that can transcend age brackets.
Those boots are made for walking ... and wearing well
If the fashion police aren't staring in awe at your bright pink hat or your turquoise skull necklace, they might be fixated on your feet.
Another big trend for fall that local buyers walked away with from the Vegas show was the cowboy - or cowgirl, rather - flare.
"Going back to western boots, you see a lot of cowboy out there," said Robin Wolnik, of Colorado Footwear. "Everybody's got a western boot in their line: embroidered, rugged, engineering style ... even in Europe, big flowers on all the westerns were big."
Also, ankle-length boots - usually a spring and summer hit - are sticking around for fall, and if the skulls aren't adding a tough touch, studded boots are making a point of it, although not in black.
"Funny enough, studs are back," Wolnik said. "For us, black and studs are so motorcyclist, but you see a lot of studs on gray colors and browns. Black with studs tends to look kind of heavy, but there are a lot of studs out there this season."
Frye is a sure-fire brand on top of the latest trends and also with enough traction to carry you safely through those surprising September and October snowstorms.