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Don't wear this...

Charlotte style gurus reveal how to really fall into fashion

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Trying to uncover what fashion trends to expect this fall can be a bit of work — the latest issue of Vogue, for example, is 798 pages and probably weighs at least 5 pounds. So, if you didn't get a chance to get in shape for the summer, you can probably tone up those biceps now just by grabbing some reading material from the newsstand.

Of course, if you'd like to avoid a possible brain aneurysm, maybe you should just keep reading.

You see, we at Creative Loafing care about our readers -- and we want you to look your best this fall. So, tasked with the mission of keeping you from walking out of the house dressed all wack, we talked to some of Charlotte's most notable boutique owners, stylists, photographers and more to find out autumn's fashion don'ts and dos.

Now go ahead and read. And as you're checking out the article, don't feel bad: not all of us are born with a flare for putting a good look together. Fashion, they say, is a state of mind -- but sometimes we all need to get our heads checked.

Eileen Burke, owner of Eileen

• Don't do the bubble hemline. Personally, I'm sick of it.

• Do buy pieces that are versatile. Because of the economy, everyone's strapped. Buy the basic things you can twist -- things that you can make funky, like a long vest-dress that you can play down with jeans or play up with leggings and chunky accessories. Floral dresses are also big this fall.

Bryan K. Osburn, fashion designer

• Don't wear skinny jeans. Everybody was doing the skinny jeans this summer. But for the fall, the pants for women have gone fuller. And for men, oversized dressing, like the baggy jeans younger kids wear, is a definite don't.

• Do a classic, simple style. Avoid the exaggerated collars and skirts. Simple means it's not going to be much to it. I tell most of my customers to shy away from trendy things ... they can be expensive to do because they're in one season and out the next. Also, do jewel-tone colors, like your browns, purples, sapphires, emerald greens and dark, rich oranges.

Xavier Grier, photographer

• Don't wear blazers that are not tailored. Avoid that "SpongeBob" look. It's got to be tailored.

• Do make the most of what you have. This fall, cardigans are going to be really big for men, but not like the big, bulky Mr. Rogers cardigan, but those that are tailored and modern. Buy simple accessories, like a nice laptop bag if you're a businessman. Scarves will be huge; we saw that kind of creep in last year, and it's going to be huge this year. Even an umbrella is a nice touch.

Natasha Simone, makeup artist

• Don't do leggings. And if you're one of those people who overaccessorize, take Coco Chanel's advice and take one thing off before you leave the house. Step out and come right back in and take one thing off, either the last thing or the first thing you put on. For men, don't do shirts that are too tight. They've never been sexy. Nobody wants to see you in a baby T.

• Do men's-inspired clothing for women. It's going to be really hot. Also, you're going to see the X-Men, kind of Matrix-type inspired clothes -- superhero-looking; really tailored with the superhero-type collar or maybe jackets that are slim-fitting with a little edge. And for men, colored denim, like red and yellow. It's really hot for women right now, and that's going to transcend into the fall for men as well.

Adam Huffstetler, assistant buyer at Niche

• Don't do all-over prints, Kanye shades [or] jeans that are way too tight for guys. Also, no flip flops for guys in the fall. And women, don't do leggings and gauchos.

• Do go for a more grown-up look. For a long time, skulls and eagles have been pretty popular. The trend's going to a lot of classics and layering; classic pea coats; trench coats; cardigans. Also, do one "pop" color with an outfit. Like, if you're wearing black and white, accent it with an electric blue in there.

Michelle Deluca,buyer/fashion consultant/merchandiser for Our Place

• Don't wear printed pants, like the Lily Pulitzer things or the pink-and-green florals. I think women should be sophisticated for their age. Also, don't be too trendy. Stick with the basics. You can stay classic and have a little edge.

• Do pay attention to proportions. Try to stick with opposites. Like, if you're doing a full top, you should try to do a skinny bottom.

Craig-Brandon Stephenson, assistant buyer/creative director, Jordanos Men's & Women's Boutique

• Don't be a fake "Gucci hoochie." There is nothing fashionable about plastering logos all over your body or on every accessory. Discreet fashion is so much more fabulous. I'll take an obscure Balenciaga over a played-out Louis Vuitton Monogram any day!

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