By  on November 30, 2006

Women's apparel this fall has been all about knits, dresses and — to spice it up — knit dresses. Those trends continue into holiday, adding festive red and velour into the mix. Retailers weigh in on some of their hottest sellers so far for Christmas and the fall season in the contemporary, better and moderate markets.

1. J. Crew
Holiday hit: The dress business, particularly through the mini "little black dress shop" site on
Price: $98 to $325
Fall hit: Cashmere is the magic fabric, whether it comes in the form of a long-sleeved T-shirt or hoodie (shown).
Price: $168

2. Ann Taylor
Fall hit: Even suits morphed into dresses this season, as seen in this pebble crepe wool sheath and jacket combo (shown).
Price: Dress, $148; jacket, $218.

3. Talbots
Holiday hit
: Velour knit separates, particularly in red for the season, fit the Talbots' customer penchant for comfort.
Price: Jacket, $78; pants, $68.
Fall hit: Knits with embellishment around the neckline, like this V-neck version with rhinestones (shown).
Price: $38

4. Kenneth Cole New York
Holiday hit
: Combining both of this season's hottest trends, Kenneth Cole's newly upgraded New York line scored with its air-spun cashmere dress (shown).
Price: $398
Fall hit: That same calf-length turtleneck dress has been strong.

5. Holt Renfrew
Holiday hit
: Although featured in the move "The Break Up," Jennifer Meyer's small yellow gold leaf necklace is proving a good gift for couples who are still together.
Price: $675
Fall hit: This See by Chloé knit dress (shown) incorporated both of the season's key trends.
Price: $425

6. Tommy Hilfiger
Holiday hit
: Party dresses, including the limelight prom dress.
Price: $595
Fall hit: Outerwear has done well, including the Nicky biker jacket (shown).
Price: $4957. Nordstrom
Holiday hit
: Fall's knit dress transitions into holiday by coming in red, like this Karoo Mark Eisen cashmere wrap (shown).
Price: $342
Fall hit: Big cardigan sweaters paired with sleek bottoms, like NFY dark skinny jeans, scored in Nordstrom's contemporary section.
Price: $150

8. Tommy Bahama
Holiday hit
: Cashmere sweaters, like the Island Fronds wrap and the Heavenly cardigan sweater (shown).
Price: Wrap, $500; cardigan, $125.
Fall hit: The holiday weekend was a reflection of the past few months, when cashmere sweaters dominated buys.

9. Forth & Towne
Holiday hit: Little black dresses, particularly the "cosmo" (shown), are favorites for holiday parties.
Price: $148
Fall hit: The new arm of Gap Inc. did well with many of the season's trends, including layering and plaid, with this capelet.
Price: $168

10. Lord & Taylor
Holiday hit: Black dresses, particularly in matte jersey, like an ABS version with pleats and a patent belt, have been great early sellers.
Price: $240
Fall hit: Knits have sold well, particularly versions with a festive metallic aspect, like this in-house cashmere version that can be worn either as a cowlneck or off-the-shoulder (shown).
Price: $170

11. White House|Black Market
Holiday hit: Cardigans with embellishment, such as the Maxine crop cardigan.
Price: $78
Fall hit: The dress trend has paired with the hot black-and-white color story this season — which is always in fashion at White House|Black Market — on this Charlotte lace dress (shown).
Price: $148

12. J.C. Penney
Holiday hit: Velour separates, like St. John's Bay velour zip hoodie.
Price: $24.99
Fall hit: Kimono-sleeved and tunic-length tops, like this cowlneck tunic from its private a.n.a. brand (shown).
Price: $12.99

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