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This fall, we'll all be in our Red Era.
Provocative. Scintillating. Passionate. Red is a color that holds a lot of meaning in just about every facet of culture, fashion very much included. Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" wouldn't be the same without her "bloody shoes," and this fall's fashion wouldn't be nearly as exciting without the signature shade.
The Fall/Winter 2023 runways were alive with red in dozens of variations — scarlet, oxblood, carmine. Vivid red monochromatic looks were spotted at Stella McCartney, Elie Saab, Ferragamo, Blumarine, and Bottega Veneta. Meanwhile, Marc Jacobs chose lush reds to accent otherwise neutral looks. Why this shade in this moment? Fashion historian Ryan Yip has some theories.
"Red is [usually] associated with seduction and sexiness, but I think this year's trend's usage is to give vitality or a reminder of vitality, like a wake-up call to remind us that we're still alive," Yip tells InStyle. He posits: "Could it be that red is a type of spiritual armor to help us go through political and economic turmoil?"
Regardless of the reason for its renaissance, red is undeniably a power color. Set against the backdrop of the chainmail and battle references seen on recent runways — Jean Paul Gaultier's Fall/Winter 2023 Haute Couture collection, rife with armor worthy of Joan of Arc herself, comes to mind — Yip's theory tracks. "Fall 2023's red fixation combines hope and masking," Yip suggests. "It's indicating vigor with hints of protection and a bit of 'fake it till you make it.'"
With so many designers painting their runways red, we've been eyeing the color for our real-life wardrobes. Ahead, you'll find red clothing and accessories, large and small, that InStyle editors are lusting after this fall. From rosy red dresses to burgundy sunglasses, these editors' picks will get you warmed up in no time.
Manolo Blahnik Maysale 70 Buckled Suede Mules
To Shop: $795, Manolo Blahnik
"Was I influenced by Hailey Bieber’s human-strawberry parade a few weeks back? Yes. Are the berry red Maysale Manolos she wore unequivocally, show-stoppingly perfect? Also yes. Do I need these reddiest of red mules? Most definitely, yes. Thanks to the on-trend hue, I have an excuse to buy these heels right now, but because of their classic style, they’ll be a wardrobe staple in my closet for seasons to come." —Sally Holmes, Editor-in-Chief
BDG Mandi Denim Maxi Skirt
To Shop: $69, Urban Outfitters
"Denim maxiskirts are my obsession for fall, but in a sea of basic blues, I want to stand out in a more eye-catching iteration of one of the year’s biggest fads. Enter Urban Outfitters and their trusty BDG denim line. The Mandi Denim Maxi Skirt is the training wheels of long denim skirts, thanks to its leg slit and soft, comfortable denim. Try the deep red shade for a cool-girl punk (and autumnal) take on a style that’s been littering the streets and subways of New York City all summer long." —Tess Petak, Staff Writer
J.Crew Cashmere V-Neck Sweater Vest
To Shop: $98, J. Crew
"When J.Crew’s new fall collection dropped, the first thing that caught my eye was this sweater vest. I love a clothing item that helps make the dance between summer and fall in New York just a little bit easier. Its bright color goes with a wide array of my basics, and I’m sizing it up so that I can layer it all throughout the year." —Jenna Brillhart, Creative Director
Away Travel "The Large" Suitcase
To Shop: $435, Away Travel
"Away completely revamped its lineup for the first time in seven years. Not only is there a new trunk-shaped silhouette, but the beloved luggage company also redesigned the interior of its suitcases, offering even more organization for anyone whose passion is packing (me, I'm anyone). Of course, the red on offer is a deep and sophisticated glossy Bordeaux that they officially call garnet, and which will stand out at the luggage carousel in a sea of gray and black. My favorite part is that Away added a new handle on the bottom so that you don't have to do the baggage claim shuffle when your suitcase inevitably flips and flops on its way around." —Christopher Luu, Senior News Editor
Réalisation Par Winoa Cardigan
To Shop: $120, Réalisation Par
"You can’t beat a classic cardigan in terms of versatility. This Jackie O-inspired silhouette is my favorite for all-season layering (I keep a black one in my purse to combat office A/C), and I’m currently thinking about adding a red version to my rotation. This ruby-colored cardigan from Réalisation Par is the ideal crop and fitted to perfection." —Madeline Hirsch, News Director
Ganni Mid-Shaft Embroidered Western Boots
To Shop: $825, Ganni
"Blame the Coastal Cowgirl trend, blame my recent girls’ trip to Nashville, or blame the fact that I’m a Ganni Girl now and forever: I need these boots in my life. The contrasting off-white and cherry leather mean they go with double the outfits — a must when factoring in cost-per-wear. They’re an investment, to be sure, but cowboy boots never go out of style, so I predict this purchase will pay off in spades." —Lindy Segal, Interim Fashion Director
Babaà Cardigan No3
To Shop: $323, Babaà
"My love language is a bold, chunky knit. I feel cozy and I think I look cool AF. I’m gravitating toward this luxuriously bright, tomato-red sweater from Babaà. I love the checkerboard knit, which takes your regular cardigan and turns it on its head. It’s important to me that my investment pieces make a statement, which makes this cardigan a perfect addition to my wardrobe." —Kelly Chiello, Associate Photo Director
Le Foulonné Belt Bag
To Shop: $235, Longchamp
"As a seasoned Brooklyn bag lady, I’m fully giving into the layered bag trend. With an already overly stuffed work tote for my daily treks to the office, a belt bag secures my most needed and valuable items in an easily accessible place. This little number from Longchamp is on my list for fall accessories this season. It’s both sophisticated and casual, and its bold color will pop in the shuffle of my daily schlep." —J.B.
Adidas Samba OG Shoes
To Shop: $100, Adidas
"I, too, have embraced the Samba this year. And while it seems foolish to collect them in every color (I did the same when Stan Smiths were everywhere and everything), there’s a certain Pokémon mentality when it comes to sneakers: I have to have them all. The green-striped option was my summer go-to (thanks to HoYeun saying they were her preferred color), but I’ll swap them out for the red stripes as soon as these land on my porch. They really do go with everything and the hint of red will keep them distinct from everyone else’s black-and-white pairs." —C.L.
Repetto Red Camile Heels
To Shop: $315, Ssense
"When it comes to dahlia red, I find it easiest to style accessories rather than statement pieces. Think of this approach as creating a cheerful focal point for your outfit. Case in point: these baby ballet heels from Repetto. Style with jeans or neutrals and watch how your outfit goes from minimal to memorable in five seconds flat." —M.H.
Cuyana Classic Easy Tote
To Shop: $268, Cuyana
"I’ve been carrying my laptop and all my necessary work things to work in a backpack for years now, but this fall, I'm looking to elevate. The Cuyana Easy Tote feels like the perfect big-girl bag to upgrade my whole commuting uniform and the coral shade is perfect to match my wardrobe year-round." —K.C.
Stuart Weitzman 5050 Bold Boots
To Shop: $795, Stuart Weitzman
"No shade to scarlet or carmine, but I think a rich oxblood or cabernet can be just as striking as the more dramatic members of the red color family. I love a moody color palette for fall and these classic over-the-knee Stuart Weitzman boots fit seamlessly into my cool weather uniform of oversized sweaters, miniskirts, and tights. The cut of the boot combined with its low heel means I don’t have to choose between being comfortable and feeling marvelously sophisticated. Since the sole is black, these boots match my (mostly black) outerwear, and, as the cherry on top, the suede finish adds eye-catching dimension." —Amber Rambharose, Fashion Writer
Le Specs Burgundy Orion Sunglasses
To Shop: $149, Le Specs
"As fall approaches, I am looking for fun and easy switches I can make to revamp my wardrobe. Accessories are a great place to start; which is why I’ve been loving these burgundy frames from Le Specs. The gold hardware adds a unique element to my sunglass collection and spices up outfits that, because of the same jackets and boots, can start to feel repetitive." —Amanda Lauro, Graphic Designer
Toteme Triangle Cashmere Scarf
To Shop: $480, Net-A-Porter
"I am always cold and I am always in danger of leaving something behind. I think this Toteme cape scarf solves both concerns, making it a totally necessary luxury item. Expect to see me in this all fall and winter (it’s bright so I know you won’t miss me)." —Danielle Fox, Senior Social Media Editor
Marc Jacobs Leather Mini Bucket Bag
To Shop: $325, Marc Jacobs
"You’ve seen Marc Jacobs’s famous The Tote Bag collection, but have you met its stylish leather sister, The Bucket Bag? The designer expanded the concept into fun yet classic, bucket bags (available in full and mini sizes) that come in a variety of colors, including this “strawberry girl”-approved shade. A rope-top handle makes it a true bucket bag while a detachable leather strap allows you to easily transform the statement piece into a functional crossbody. And, of course, staying true to Marc, the words “The Bucket” are embossed across the front — in case that wasn’t clear."—T.P.
Naked Cashmere Jones Scarf
To Shop: $220, Naked Cashmere
Although it typically isn’t sweater weather in N.Y.C. until October, I love a bright scarf to usher in autumn. This one is lightweight, offers a pop of color to any outfit, and yes, you probably guessed it, is 100% cashmere. You’ll find me wrapped up in this all season long, thank you very much." —Ondine Jean-Baptiste, Assistant Social Media Editor
Orseund Iris Frou Frou Cardigan
To Shop: $295, Orseund Iris
"This is the cardigan of my dreams! The Frou Frou cardigan is the ultimate transitional fall item — a classic silhouette reimagined in mesh. It can be worn to the office with a tank and baggy trousers or styled for a night out with a chic bra and knee-high boots. The scarlet color works with so many of the tones that I already have in my wardrobe, providing the perfect pop." —A.L.
Valentino Red Tights
To Shop: $250, Ssense
"Valentino just does wonders with colors, especially red. A recent example: Lisa Todd Wexley’s Met Gala dress in And Just Like That season 2. It’s my 30th birthday this fall and I want to gift myself a piece of unnecessary luxury. Nobody tell me but it’s going to be these tights. I hope I love them." —D.F.
Poppy Lissiman Merlin Bag
To Shop: $130, Poppy Lissiman
"I never feel more like an It girl than when I’m carrying this ultra-chic bag on my shoulder. The hardware evokes a grungier, cool-girl aesthetic that I love, and the cherry hue is a classic. Call me an outfit-repeater, because I will be finding an excuse to wear this accessory everywhere." —O.J.B.
House of CB Valencia Corset Dress
To Shop: $255, House of CB
"While a rosy red sundress may not be the first must-have item that comes to mind when curating your fall wardrobe, trust that this vibrant dress from House of CB will be just as versatile as your go-to knits. Its midi length makes it perfect for navigating those tricky transitional temps, and its sleek silhouette — complete with the brand’s signature corset waist — is sure to give main character energy all season long." —Averi Baudler, News Writer
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