When fashion designers take a walk on the dark side this fall, they enter the kingdoms of fairy tales and dandified Goths. But this is not just a "Great Expectations" redux. These may be dark days for many of our pocketbooks, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun with dressing up. Put on your top hat, and tap your cane. Brighten up your style attitude with some unexpected twists this season. Here are some great ways to channel your inner Victorian vixen, a la 2012:
--The jacket is your foundation. Start here, and you've got it made in pulling off this unique look. Find one that is defined with a nipped-in waist -- whether it is long or short. A gorgeous purple velvet blazer like the ones Ralph Lauren sent down the runway for fall is a good example; Carolina Herrera also marched the redefined Victorian silhouettes down the catwalk -- hers was in rich midnight navy.
--Invest in the vest. Another dandy option. Embrace luxurious fabrics and Old World prints that exude sophisticated elegance. You don't want to look like you're going to a Halloween party, right? But concentrate on rich colors and luxurious fabrics, and you can't go wrong. Belt it for even more waist definition.
--Go for baroque. Embellishment is the key to this trend. Pay attention to all the extras that will make these clothes special. Embroideries, jewels and brocades abound, especially on sheer fabrics that can easily be layered with other fall basics to give them a creative edge, which is what this trend is all about.
--Wear a bold statement coat. If there's just one piece that will prove to be a real dandy in your wardrobe, it's the one-of-a-kind coat. You'll know it when you see it -- and you'll be able to wear it over everything day or night. An elegant cape is also another way to make a grand entrance. Trimmed in fur, these outerwear pieces are even more dramatic.
--Vamp out with accessories. Exotic is the word here. Think feathers, fur, fringe, jewels and more. Embellishment is the key to updating this dramatic look. Don't be afraid to slip on the embroidered ankle boots, pull on the opera-length gloves, stuff a silk pocket square in your jacket pocket and don a huge, floppy velvet hat. Let your inner gothic diva out.
Sharon Mosley's weekly column, "In Fashion," can be found at creators.com.