This is the time of year I begin closely looking at the Fall Fashion regarding colors, textiles and designs/styles to share with my visually impaired friends and students. With this knowledge, they have an idea of what may be available in the stores to add to their wardrobes or what may be influencing the street scene fashion. I describe colors, and often show samples of garments highlighting a design feature or type of fabric.

Words to describe a design, print or idea do not always communicate well for a visually impaired person, especially with someone who has difficulty visualizing something they have never seen. Therefore, I also use the following adaptive techniques to draw or illustrate what I am trying to communicate:

• My finger to draw a shape or idea on the palm of the blind person’s hand.

• A Raised Line Drawing kit

• “Wikki Stixs”

• 3-D or puff fabric paint on the printed fabric to tactually show the print (after the paint has dried, of course)

While glancing through the Fall 2013 fashion magazines I have noticed the following:

Classic styles, 1940’s, 1960’s and 1980’s influences with a twist, created from different color combinations and multi-textured or printed fabrics. There is something to be found for whatever style one desires to put together from different texture combinations, simple lines or layers, draped or structured, tailored or roomy, slim or full, short or long.

Silhouettes are fuller on top with rounded shoulders, paired with slim bottoms. Slim fitting trousers in printed or solid colors are above ankle length with ankle boots to long hem length with high heels. Skirts are solid or mixed prints, with full dirndle to fitted to flared or fishtail hems. Hem lengths range from mid-thigh to below the knee, with the slim skirt to mid-calf. Another silhouette is the fuller bottom in the palazzos or a looser trouser worn with a slim top. Skirts and trousers start at one’s waistline.

Belts are used with trousers or dresses such as sleek sheaths or shirtdresses. Dresses are full of prints, color blocked, and textured. Blouses are lightweight or sheer with embroidered detailing or beaded texture and are paired with the relaxed trouser. Top/sweater necklines are funnel-mock-turtle neck and sweatshirt style. Silk T-shirts are worn under the over-sized sweaters, such as the traditional Aran knit (or “fisherman”) sweaters in cream.

Fitted jackets with retro details are seen in suits. Jackets also appear with full, rounded shoulders and ¾ length or long sleeves. For casual wear, layering is popular. For example, loose/oversized jackets are placed over a comfy sweater or new sweatshirt style. Outerwear coats in knee to calf length are rounded shoulders, belted princess line, or roomy wrap – trapeze to cocoon. Additionally, there are architecturally, origami-like pieces of solid color fabric for capes, poncho’s and caftans. Parkas are multifunctional for weather changes. Red, pastel pink, or pastel blue are unexpected colors for coats. Oversized motorcycle jackets also referred at as “Moto” jackets are in leather or a mixture of fabrics. These jackets are worn with everything from day to eveningwear. Leather is seen alone or mixed with other fabrics in leggings, slim slacks, dresses, sweatshirt style and vests.

Eveningwear is fitted with bustles or full skirts in flowing silk that allow for movement. They are embellished with beads or sequins or gems for sparkle. Fur is found in coats or accessories to complete the look. Fur is also for daywear.

Colors this season: Cobalt or Lapis blue, light/pastel blue, chambray blue, emerald or malachite greens, army or olive greens, cherry or Christmas red, light or pastel pink, camellia pink, wine/burgandy/bordeaux, oak brown, camel, tan, light blue grey, dove grey, white, black; mustard gold; metals – gold and silver.

Color combinations (including color blocking): cobalt with black and white; blues with brown or grey; red, black and silver; black and white with malachite accents; army green, black and silver; grey and navy; white and dove grey; camel and tan; pinks with black, white or grey; cobalt and burgandy.

Prints: Animal prints-snake, leopard, giraffe, zebra and tiger; polka dots, stripes, plaids, abstract/graphic/geometric, paisley, houndstooth, tweeds, windowpane plaids, pin-and-chalk stripes; embellishments of fabric flowers, embroidery or jewel accents on fabric.

Fabrics: Textured- jacquard, tapestry, brocade, mat, shiny, print, flat, 3-D effect, fluffy, quilted (including leather and light weight knits), embroidered, beaded; suiting, Boiled wool, silks, knits, calf hair, textured leather (woven or crocodile), suede, fur (long and short haired), lace, sheers, feathers, metallic, rubber, neoprene and a combination of several types/textures of fabric in one garment such as lace with a sheer overlay or wool with leather.

Accessories: Jewelry- large costume pieces for one bold statement; enamel, precious stones, gold, silver, and pearls.

Handbags- satchels with a top handle; clutches; crocodile texture.

Footwear- boots are spiked heel or stacked heels or flat, ankle boot, over the knee boot; pointed toes; flat skimmers/ballet.

Makeup: blue-red lipstick, black eyeliner

Hair: soft loose waves

Use this info as a springboard to find whatever you want for your personal style and for asking questions as you shop. Have fun with continuing to be creative with textiles and color in spite of what you are able to visually see.