Fall forecast: scattered and retro

The fashion scene for fall is all over the place. Which can be a good thing if you like to channel “Mad Men” one day and “Dynasty” the next.

Designers are drawing from many silhouettes from past decades: nipped waists of the '50s, flowy boho skirts from the '60s and '70s, and the exaggerations of the 80s.

Scattered? Sure. But also fun and wearable with a modern spin.

Don't mistake this season's trip down memory lane for complacency – the movement is being accompanied by a strong artistic aesthetic.

“It's more about art and craft and fabric and sculpture, which is coming through in fabric, silhouette and new proportions,” says national style expert and trend analyst Tom Julian. “We are seeing tone, texture and color in a variety of ways.”

Build a wardrobe of quality staples, Julian says (here's the artistry again). Making room in your budget to accommodate may mean buying less or indulging in trends via more moderately priced accessories.

Restraint is key, as is being a good self-editor. Fringe on shoes and handbags, slouchy boyfriend sweaters and patent leather can coexist with bright colors, leopard print and tailored ensembles, but not all on the same body.

“Pick your battles carefully – live in one decade at a time,” Julian says.

We focused on '80s-inspired trends: menswear for women, lace, ruffles, plaid and purple, the season's hottest color. Don't get too hung up on the era, you'll find subtle traces of earlier decades as well.

Style Editor Rachel Sutherland