Fall's fashion accessories are sophisticated yet fun.
Back for another big season are ankle boots, with or without wedged heels, said Suzanne West, owner of Frankie & Julian's fashion boutique on Frazier Avenue.
"Also look for hiker boots, chunky-heeled boots and tweed ballet flats," she said.
"Exotic animal prints are back in a big way," said Kim Hobson, owner of Alice Blue fashion boutique in Riverview. "In handbags, it can be a solid, subtle look, or the print can be bold."
And when it comes to jewelry, "sentimental" describes the season's biggest trend, said Katherine Roberts, owner of the recently opened K boutique on North Market Street.
"Whether it's your father's recycled watch face or your grandmother's vintage shoe clips and dress pins, it's a fun way to wear jewelry," she said.
The ideal accessory for adding color to an outfit is a scarf.
"The neutral scarf with the colorful accents is a great way to subtly work color into your wardrobe," said Kent Magee, owner of the Willa Collection boutique on Manufacturers Road.
The boutique owners offer the following suggestions when shopping for this season's stylish accessories.
Shop for big and small, the retailers said.
"The large size is fantastic because it can accommodate an iPad or Kindle," Magee said. "The long strap may be worn cross-body, attached at the leather strap to be worn on the shoulder, or the strap may be paired with something more tailored to add a bit of an edge."
Animal-print bags are big for fall, Hobson said. "If you're not sure about a full-blown animal print, go for a more solid-color snakeskin option," she said.
Roberts said larger structured bag can double as a tote. "It's great because you can carry around so much in it, including a clutch. You can leave the tote in the car and take out the clutch for night."
"The wedge (heel) is always a favorite for fall, and a peep toe adds the perfect feminine touch to a substantial shoe," Magee said. "It is awesome with dresses and skirts and perfect for the season's flare leg pants and jeans. We have even paired them with black leather crop leggings. The chunkiness of the wedge heel is a natural fit for the flare but is a great contrast for the more ladylike silhouettes."
Boot lovers can take this look a step further with the wedge-heel shoe boot. "You can wear the boot with slacks, skinny jeans, tights and leggings," Roberts said. "They're also cute with a floral print skirt or dress."
Cowboy and riding boots continue to be favorites.
"A great riding boot looks perfect with skinny jeans, or pair with a feminine short skirt for a funkier, fashion-forward look," Hobson said.
A rustic, all-American cowboy boot also tops the must-have list for footwear, West said. "The shorter cowboy boot is a new twist for this season."
For a pop of color, add a scarf, Roberts and West said.
"The latest trend in scarves [is] the tube scarf," Hobson said. "Forget the hustle of how to tie a scarf. Just pull the tube scarf over your head, and it completes any look. Pair with a T-shirt or sweater. I love it for that extra warmth with a coat as the weather starts to turn cool."
Also look for embellishments in this season's scarf styles, McGee said.
"We found that designers were looking to add something extra to clothing this fall. You will find a lot of leather, fur and lace accents or very special fabrics like a flocked velvet scarf," she said.
Scarves that can double as shawls are also a hit this season, Roberts said.
This is the year to have fun with jewelry, Roberts said.
"Jewelry designer Lulu Frost has a great line of jewelry that's sentimental and fun," she said. "When the Plaza Hotel closed in New York City, Frost bought the numbers off the doors of the rooms in the hotel. She recast the numbers and made them into necklaces. She said everyone has a favorite number. She puts the numbers on long chains. Moon & Lola block or script monogram acrylic necklaces, which come in 18 colors, are also very popular. You can get either initials or have your name written out."
McGee said that although an initial necklace is back, it's important to know how to correctly wear it.
"This time around, the initial necklace is not to be paired with a cardigan sweater," she said. "It is best worn when layered with other necklaces in varying lengths and textures. Think long chains, short chunky pearl-and-stone cuff necklaces and everything in between. It must be layered and worn in unexpected ways, which makes it fresh and new."
Bold statement jewelry is also in, Hobson said.
"The semiprecious statement ring by Betty Carre offers the perfect finishing touch to any outfit," she said.
Accenting a shapely body with a belt offers the ultimate feminine touch.
"If you've got it, flaunt it," Hobson said. "Show your hourglass shape with a cinched belt. Menswear is back for fall this year, so choose a belt with a tailored looked that cinches the waist."
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...