Fall shoppers are still dress crazy, but they’re adding jackets to their lists, according to more than a dozen better- and moderate-priced retailers. Slimmer dresses continue to sell well, and jackets, which had lackluster sales in last fall’s delayed chill, emerge this season in cropped, swingy shapes. Knits still show up in sweater dresses, cardigans and tops, and men’s wear fabrics find their way into jackets and dresses alike. A gray palette is accentuated on the floor — and in outfits — with pops of jewel tones, from ruby to sapphire.
Store: Lord & Taylor
Best-selling item: Jill Stuart jacket and turtleneck.
Price: $265 for the jacket and $155 for the turtleneck.
Why: “This fall is all about the jacket, made more exciting by the new shapes and updated fabrications,” said LaVelle Olexa, senior vice president, advertising, sales promotion and public relations. “Men’s wear fabrics in an updated, closer-to-the-body silhouette have been received exceptionally well. Turtlenecks are the perfect complement to the new jacket shape and they are selling very well too, especially when a touch of bright color adds a fresh twist.”
Store: Club Monaco
Best-selling item: Sweater dress
Why: “This piece hits all the right notes: The sweater dress is so important and versatile for the season,” according to a spokeswoman. “It is great over tights with boots or as a layering piece with a shirt and skinny belt.”
Store: J. Crew
Best-selling item: Striped town coat from the J. Crew Collection.
Why: “It’s not just our designer’s favorite — the fashion editors loved it, too,” said a spokeswoman. “Our exclusive design combines wide, textured rugby stripes with vintage-style bracelet sleeves in a shape that looks elegant on everyone.”
Store: Kenneth Cole New York
Best-selling item: Mainstream sleeveless zip-front dress.
Why: “Dresses are still doing extremely well — every dress style in our stores is selling out,” according to a spokeswoman. “In addition, zippers are a huge trend, so anything with the zipper is selling — shoes, boots, gloves, etc.”
Best-selling item: Wool wrap jacket.
Why: “With this fall’s focus on the waist, the belted wrap coat is very trend-right for our customer,” according to a spokeswoman. “She loves the updated silhouette and rich fabric.”
Best-selling item: Rugby striped dress.
Why: “A big trend this fall is the collegiate-preppy look, which is a staple for Lacoste,” a spokeswoman said. “Items like the rugby striped dress have done well because it is both classic and on-trend this season.”
Store: Dress Barn
Best-selling item: Houndstooth swing jacket.
Why: “A-line, cropped jackets and sweaters are a hit. Great sleeves add interest and beg for layered looks,” said Keith Fulsher, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer.
Store: Banana Republic
Best-selling item: Black floral puff-sleeve dress.
Why: “Our customers are excited about Banana Republic’s beautiful bold prints and rich jewel-tone colors this season,” said Jenna Renfrew, vice president of women’s merchandising.
Store: Tommy Bahama
Best-selling item: Wide-leg pants.
Why: “Our biggest seller this season is a beautiful wide-leg trouser in a wool-spandex blend,” said Lynne Koplin, president of women’s for Tommy Bahama Group. “The wide-leg trouser is a popular silhouette because of its versatility — this fabric has a sophisticated look with a bit of stretch for added comfort.”
Best-selling item: Houndstooth shirtdress.
Why: “The men’s wear trend is no stranger to women’s fashion with its knack for clean lines and impeccable tailoring reinforced by a fondness for orderly, no-nonsense patterns, usually of the stripe and check variety,” said a spokeswoman, adding that career dresses are strong as well.
Store: Tommy Hilfiger
Best-selling item: Trapeze jacket.
Why: “Trend-right, this style addresses the cropped jacket ‘must-have’ for the season,” according to a spokeswoman.
Best-selling item: Crimson wool peacoat.
Why: “Outerwear has been a strong classification for us, and this coat has been so successful as it stands out on the floor in bold crimson,” said a brand spokeswoman.
Store: Sigrid Olsen
Best-selling item: Patterned knit top.
Why: “Novelty is inherent in the textural stitches and hand-dyed effects of sweaters this season,” said the firm.
Best-selling item: Sweater dress
Why: “Sweater dresses are one of the must-haves for fall often worn layered with camis or long-sleeved Ts and leggings,” said Lisa Rhodes, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer.
Store: Old Navy
Best-selling item: Kimono-sleeved knit dress.
Price: $24.50, now on sale at $10.99.
Why: “This dress hit several fall trends: the Empire waist, kimono sleeves and the option to wear it as a dress or with jeans/tights,” said a spokeswoman.