On My Radar: Fall’s It Color?

Akris and Celine fall 2016 windows Paris

One down side of being in Paris during les soldes is that usually charming window displays are covered up with giant “SOLDES – Dernière Démarque!” signs. So I was mostly thwarted in my attempt to get a) some fun window photos and b) a sense of what colors were trending for current and future seasons. Yes, it’s true that les Parisiennes often stick to neutrals, but you will see accent colors used: a blouse, a scarf, a bag, perhaps even one piece in a print. Red is usually popular, and in Spring 2015, I noticed enough pops of mustard yellow to consider it a minor trend.

I should also mention that I think the timing of our Paris visit may have been unfortunate for trying to get street style shots. Because the 14-Julliet “Fête nationale” holiday (or “Bastille Day” as it’s referred to in the US) was on a Thursday, it created what’s known as a “pont” (bridge) when most people take the following Friday off and make a 4-day weekend of it. From what I could tell, a good percentage of the locals seemed to have gotten the heck out of Dodge. Or else they were hunkered down at home with a nice bottle of rosé. Even more so than usual, it seemed that we were constantly surrounded by other tourists. To add to the challenge, my favorite sidewalk cafe for Parisian style spying had encircled the patio area with a 4-foot high wall of boxwood hedges in containers. I’m guessing this was a security measure after last year’s terror attacks, and can’t blame them for the precaution, however.

What I did notice:

  • Denim jackets. Usually medium to lighter washes, on women of all ages
  • Soft, fluid pants (sometimes in prints), especially on warmer days
  • Still plenty of denim, but only very young women wear distressed styles

And inside the shops that had begun to display fall merchandise, I spied a lot of variations of rust/redwood/cognac/warm brown pieces on racks and shelves. And since we’ve been back home I’ve noticed a good bit of it (usually in shoes and accessories) from retailers here. I adore the richer shades of this color. It’s a great way to break up a black outfit, and works brilliantly with navy, grey, olive, taupe, burgundy, camel and beige. Accessories and accents are a great way to incorporate this color if you find it hard to wear otherwise.

I’ve been on a quest for a pair of deep cognac ankle boots for a few years, and have finally found them:

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale ankle boots

These from Paul Green are a gorgeous shade, and really comfortable. I went a half size up from my usual in Paul Green, as they seem to run just a little narrow. I love the slim fit around the ankle (but they stretch, so don’t “cut” across the front of my leg). They’re marked down as part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and as of yesterday evening, are still available in a full range of sizes. A close runner-up: these water-resistant boots from Pikolinos.

What do you think of this color? Will you wear it?


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  1. I love those boots, Sue. I was really disappointed in the Anniversary Sale here. Nothing much on offer from Paul Green…I’m on the hunt for a new pair of black boots. Very little from Vince except sloppy tees. Lots from St John which is NOT my style or price point. So much of the stuff I saw on “Early Access” on the website was not available here.
    I really hope that Nordstrom is not making the same mistake that Target did. When they opened across Canada a year or so ago (or was it two?) the really cool items that Canadians saw in the American stores never made it across the border. It was just another store that sold cheap stuff.

    1. Nordie’s AS wasn’t epic. I usually make an annual boot purchase but nothing rocked my boat. I DID purchase a Longchamp lePliage Cuir in camel. The price was marked down to $185. And I purchased a MK (even though I’m not a fan. I l love the watch) wrap watch and finally, a Rebecca Minkoff bag for Oona’s birthday gift.

    2. I’m finding the same in the Vancouver store. On top of that, quite often Nordstrom only ships within the US.

    3. I hope not. The closest store to me is Rideau Centre, in downtown Ottawa. I haven’t been there yet; I’ll go there when visiting family. I am not in the slightest interested in ordering from them in the US. I could possibly be tempted by the likes of Lands End or LLBean (when they aren’t doing simpering pastels) but it is complicated and expensive.

      Target Canada was simply cr*p,

  2. Is this oxblood? I think I’m more into a brighter red. I like it with black, with white, with khaki….
    Paris is empty because they all are down here in the sun in the south of France! Carcassonne’s streets are full of people, the license plates of the cars on the road are from all over Europe, and it’s a big party (in an elegant French family way, not a raucous Ibiza way).
    It’s so fun to hear about your trip!

  3. Cognac and mustard…isn’t it funny how many colors are named for food and drink? I looked and looked for a mustard jacket or sweater last year, and found only one from Eileen Fischer that sold out before I could decide whether or not to buy it. Maybe I’ll have success this year.

    Susanburpee, I was also disappointed in the Anniversary Sale. I don’t live near a store, so I have to shop online, and there was nothing that tempted me. We do have a Nordstrom Rack nearby, and I rarely find anything there. Oddly, I do find lots of items in the Rack in Tampa, Florida when we visit relatives. (I live in Wisconsin.)

  4. Yes! I have always worn cognac accessories – boots, purses, gloves. And these warm colors are beautiful, bright and so nice to see in a sea of dull gray and black!

  5. “Even more so than usual, it seemed that we were constantly surrounded by other tourists.”

    That’s why I enjoy Paris in the fall and winter more than the spring and summer. In the ten years of spending quite a bit of time in this city, I still feel like a tourist. Although I have to admit, Monsieur Lartigue will argue that point with me. Anyway……………….

    Rust, burnt orange, brown, burgundy (if it is a warm burgundy) all look horrific on me. My coloring doesn’t lend itself well to clothing in those colors or hues. OTOH, I DO love cordovan. And I think it is from the many years of wearing Bass Weejuns with my school uniform and carrying straw and cordovan Aigner bags throughout my youth.

    I’ll do the brownish shoes and bags and belts, but clothing? No. Just. No.

    Where are those pics of you that were taken? I’m dying to see more!!!

  6. I bought the Aquatalia Farin booties and they’re really cute. I’m wearing them around the house and deciding if they stay. Also got the Paul Green patent loafers in Bordeaux. They’re a little narrow and again, I’m testing them. Generally not a brown or burgundy person, so it’s interesting to incorporate something not black or gray. 🙂

  7. When I changed my hair colour to grey, I stopped wearing warm colours but I can see that my favourite oxblood shoes and my woven suede bag would look great with navy. I’ve always loved the fall colours.
    It’s too bad about the windows because lèche-vitrine is one of my favourite Paris activities.

  8. As a redhead who doesn’t look good in most reds or pinks, I love rust! It has to be the right shade, but it’s such a fun color for me because I always wear greens, blacks and blues. I’m going to keep my eye out for a rust sweater for fall. Love the Paul Green boots. If the heel was a little shorter, I’d pop them in my cart. Unfortunately, after an issue with a disk in my back, I’ve had to start replacing all of my beloved shoes with lower heels. I thought I was in the market for a pair of brown boots, but maybe I’ll go more in this color range.

  9. I adore this colour.

    Those boots are pricey! They must feel like clouds when you put them on your feet at that price.

    I have never heard of this brand. Now I’ll be on the lookout to see if I can find some and see if they are worth their weight in gold.


    1. Suzanne, Paul Green is an Austrian company, and their shoes are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever worn! Plus, they really hold up! (e.g. the years-old leopard loafers I recently wore on our trip). If you can find them in Europe, they’re priced much lower there. I looked while we were in London and Paris, but had no luck.

      1. Susan. You are NOT going to believe this but before I read your blog, I had never heard of Paul Green. Then I saw them at Nordie’s and was sort of on the fence about them. I liked the way they looked, but the shoe was so far out of my comfort zone for me. I’m not a peep-toe sort. Anyway, the more I read about them (here) and the more I saw them I became more and more intrigued. Still, the price point wasn’t good for me since I wasn’t “wowed” by them.

        Earlier today I was at Nordstrom Rack. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular and I went to the shoe area. I spotted a silvery/gray pair (pic on my IG) that I’ve seen on your blog. The price was 119.90. I also had a ten-dollar coupon. I tried the shoe on. It was so comfy that I went to get the match–still on the fence. Then I tried both on. I swear the angels sang! I walked around in them for a few minutes, went up to the full-length mirror. They looked great and felt great.

        Thanks to you, I now have a pair of comfortable shoes that will be getting a TON of wear! And at a discount no less. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

      2. Because you and Susan Burpee have raved about the comfort and durability of Pal Green boots and shoes, and because the pairs that each of you has shown in your posts have been gorgeous, I’ve become very interested in the brand. The PG boots in the above photograph are beautiful, and I would purchase them if they had a lower heel. Because we wear boots in wet conditions here, I always purchase them with little or no heel height. Maybe someday PG will offer some…

        1. I bought a low heeled Paul Green ankle boot at Nordstroms Vancouver store last winter in black suede. They are sooo comfortable. Keep watching the brand, they definitely make low heeled shoes/boots.

  10. I love cognac and have always had cognac bags and shoes – love it with all black too. The boots are a beautiful shade, very rich.

  11. Thank you for sharing your insights and observations about trends in Paris. I recently bought a light wash denim jacket but haven’t yet clipped the tags because I’m not sure how to style it. Now I’m thinking I should keep it because if it is trendy this summer in Paris it is likely to be very popular where I live soon. Any insights about styling denim jackets the French way would be very welcome!

  12. Yahoo! Rust (and its variants) is one of my best colors, and I’ve got a closet full of accessories in it. To answer your question, an enthusiastic YES! Shoes, scarves, and shirts… I think I need a cardi in that color now.

  13. I bought the Pikolinos as part of my AS spluge, but returned them as too tight. I’ll have to check out the Paul Greens in person. Like others, I wasn’t too excited about the boring fall offerings at the sale. Too may neutrals in a sea of beige. 🙂

  14. I didn’t realize that rust was a trend that has come around again. It feels like the last time was decades ago. I think this explains why I initially wasn’t wowed by some of the accessories in the Anniversary Sale or in the stores right now. If it catches on, eventually my eye will probably catch up and “adjust” to it, but I’m not really a fan of anything with orange undertones.

    We went to Paris in August and had a similar experience to yours with many people on holiday. I knew that in advance, but it was the only time we had to get away. I’d love to go back in the fall.

  15. Like others here, I enjoy rust and cognac on others very much, but there isn’t anything in my coloring (palest brown-blond hair, gray eyes, light, blue-based complexion), that looks flattered by or compatible with it. So, I get my fall color “fix” in bits of my decor, like my copper Art Deco torchere floor lamp, my moody print of a dense stand of fall-color trees, my gilt accessories like little gold glitter birds and bold gilt candlesticks… Wow, I’m really in the mood for fall now…

  16. I thought oxblood when I saw this, too, as Francetaste mentioned. Is that from the 70’s? I picked up a nice leather bag last fall in that color and heard it mentioned that it was the color for fall 2015. I guess it didn’t really catch on then, or perhaps people are still wondering how to wear it. If it leans toward brown and red then I could wear it in clothes though a dull rust color would not do me any favors (not really sure whom that color would flatter-the dress in the window looks plain and flat, imo).. I’ll stick with it as an accessory with blue, beige and black. I wasn’t thrilled with the sale this year. Too bad about the people-watching, the French being MIA. How were the tourists dressed?

  17. We were in Paris at the opening of the June sales and for the deuxieme demarque. Emerald green seemed popular – it was one of the hot seasonal colours for the Chanel classic flap (never in the sales of course). I was swayed by that and also bought a Sonia Rykiel matching green marabout (faux fox fur boa) and blue, emerald and white with small touch of yellow Peter Pilotto large silk carre at Le Bon Marche. Found the perfect necklace there (Stella McCartney) outsize chain choker in Perspex in a kind of see through pale yellow. All massively reduced. Also found a pair of ankle boots in lizard look leather in reds toning to pinks, dark greys and aquas – might sound weird but they look fabulous – and matching bag. Arche – so they’re well made and supremely comfortable – also heavily reduced at the deuxieme demarque. These choices will probably horrify your conservative readers but I team them with all black or all white and received lots of compliments from French women at the opera and other places I wore them. Not worn all at the same time of course.
    Saw lots of red in the streets and some interesting patterned pants too. But we go to a lot of arts events so possibly the French women (and men) who attend these tend to a be a bit more adventurous and colourful. Once a couple of years ago we saw a stunning older French couple at Carrette in the Place des Vosges – she was wearing a jacket and long skirt in purples and greens and he was wearing a striped blazer and fabulous cravate with purples and dark pants. And in case people think they couldn’t have been French I can guarantee they were. I told her how much I admired her clothes – they both looked fabulous! So chic and yet so original and full of colour and also very patrician. Treated with great honour and respect by the waiters. Pamela

    1. Not horrified at all! Love hearing about color, so when I do pack for Paris one day it’ll be more than black, white, ivory and gray. ; ) It rather sounds like how my mother and aunts dressed (French Canadians living in New England), in conservative colors paired with colorful scarves – that served a practical purpose of course.

  18. Cognac has always been in my accessory wardrobe. I look forward to replacing my older items that have become worn out from so much use.
    You’re right. The color goes with navy, olive, black.

  19. I love the richness of deep cognac, burgundy, oxblood. redwood, warm brown…and saturated (emerald) green but do not like to wear rust, olive or mustard color. As far as the Nordstrom Anniversary sale goes: I stopped paying attention to it many years ago, when I realized that more and more of the clothing offered in that sale consisted of items Nordstrom purchased just for the sale. I wonder if Nordstrom still does that and, if so, to what extent?

  20. Yes, I love burgundy, a brighter deep red (cherry?) and warm brown leather is pleasing for footwear, but anything mustardy or orangey makes me feel somewhat ill. I love forest green and any deeper green that isn’t too yellowy, but they are few and far between.

    The colours pseu shows in her report were very much à la mode in the 1970s. What goes around… or “rust never sleeps”.

  21. Just like Catherine, I was not familiar with Paul Green shoes, but just bought a pair at Nordstrom. They are good looking and comfortable and will get lots of wear this fall! …and like Jennifer, I’ve recently bought a denim jacket and the tags are still on it. I’m also unsure how to style…a little outside my traditional comfort zone. I’d love to see some options for styling! Thanks Susan for your mix of style, life, travel!

  22. No, cannot wear this color at all! I am a “Winter” color scheme, bright blue, pink, and black and white. Also wear a lot of navy. Love love the boots, but have just terrible feet, wear arch supports, and cannot wear any kind of heel.

  23. I love colour. Especially red or red related and green (olive). But… at the Max Mara outlet where I stack my winter stuff, there is of course only last year’s fashion. Which resulted in a white dress (egg shape, don’t know how much longer that is still “on trend”), a wide boxy lavender dress, very arty, and I don’t care whether that one will ever go out if style as I love it. Lavender however, is definitely not my colour (and neither is white in winter), a yellow/burgundy dress, fitted (that’s good) and a strangely shaped dress with fall colours. It is very wide and puffy at the back. I like hat one very much too.
    Then I went out and bought two Max Mara dresses, in the shop, full retail price (ouch) in the colours cream (not good in winter for my complexion) and pale yellow/cream/grey/black. So why did I do that? I am afraid I fell in love with them. So all those nice reds and olive green.. Next year?