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Fall trends at the top of the class

By Sarah LeTrent, CNN
updated 2:25 PM EST, Thu February 7, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fashion trend forecaster WGSN shared predictions yesterday of what we'll wear in the fall
  • School-style trends will feature big this year for large retailers like Target and H&M
  • You'll see more complicated textures: coated, bonded fabrics and rubberized lace

(CNN) -- From the pleated mini-skirt to varsity basics, fashion forecasters are predicting the school hallway will invade the fall fashion runway this year.

Fashion forecaster WGSN, the official trend sponsor of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City, offered a sneak peek of its 2013 fall runway predictions for women's wear on Tuesday.

WGSN forecasts trends for mass market retailers like H&M, Target, Express, Tommy Hilfiger and United Colors of Benetton, among others, so the heavy volume stores can translate key looks into lucrative collections.

Fashion Week: From runway to closet

This fall, designers are taking a turn for the athletic, said Jaclyn Jones, U.S. women's wear editor for WGSN, with luxe sweatshirts and varsity-style jackets that were the standard sign for going steady in the 1950s.

Don't break out the frat boy college-emblazoned sweatshirt just yet, though. Even casual dress has its parameters, Jones said. Androgynous looks for women will be paired or layered over more feminine elements like flowing skirts and fit-and-flare dresses.

From back, Andrea Praet, Lauren Kaufman and Jaclyn Jones of WGSN put together seasonal trend reports for their clients.
From back, Andrea Praet, Lauren Kaufman and Jaclyn Jones of WGSN put together seasonal trend reports for their clients.

Jones said designers will also update seemingly casual looks with distinctly dressier lace insets, sheer insets, jewels and sequins.

The baseball-jacket trend gained traction with Alexander Wang in his spring 2011 collection. Jones said Wang is one of the top influential, trickle-down designers to watch this season, along with Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler. The vivid prints of Clover Canyon will be worthy of replication as well.

Among the other trends to look out for this fall: cropped shirts, tapered pants, sheath dresses, cocoon (the "it" silhouette) jackets and wide-leg trousers.

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Last fall, it was all about the embellishments -- sequins, sparkles, beading, embroidery, even the return of the preppy monogram.

This fall/winter season, designers aren't embellishing as much. They're getting back to basics with newer fashion-focused fabrics to use on revivals of '60s mod classics and '90s grunge.

Jones said shoppers will see coated and bonded fabrics, and sheer chiffons backed by wool.

"We're expecting a lot of updates in terms of fabric. I think there's going to be a lot of double-faced fabrics, unusual combinations pairing delicates with more heavyweights. Coating with rubberized lace, metallic finishes on leather," Jones said.

Designers also remain hell-bent on leather, incorporating it in allover silhouettes like leggings and skirts, or using it as a detail on sleeves, lapels and shoulders.

"The color palettes, print and pattern, and key details will define and differentiate the season," Jones said.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week's fall 2013 collections kick off Thursday with a week's worth of runway shows and events.

Follow Sarah LeTrent on Twitter and CNN Living on Facebook for dispatches from New York Fashion Week.

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