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October's Chic Cavalier Style Ushers in Autumn

By Patrick Michael Hughes | October 8, 2012 1:53pm

MANHATTAN — Hats, scarves, long jackets and boots are coming out of the closet as the cold weather closes in, and for some the chilly autumn season provides the perfect climate for a picturesque street ensemble.

This "cavalier style" features elements pulled together using a balance of light textures, fitted pants and bold bootwear for looks that range from jaunty vintage to timeless and chic.

The swagger of cavalier style has seen countless revivals, and currently the look has a advocate in the fashion capital of Paris. Hedi Slimane’s debut collection for Saint Laurent Spring 2013 was styled with brimmed hats, flowing bow scarves, sweeping capes, ruffled long skirts and very tailored items. The collection drew heavily on Yves Saint Laurent’s bohemian vocabulary of the late '60s and '70s, as well as Slimane’s sinewy tailored pants — all served with the precise dose of chic metropolitan flavoring.

Street Chic began noticing this very valid style sensibility gaining intensity earlier in the season, with fashion-savvy urban dwellers bringing a particular frisson to the look. For instance, our lens caught sight of vintage fashion writer Sammy Davis in Washington Square Park, wearing a sweeping claret-colored cape with foxtails, an ankle-length dotted ruffled skirt and distressed boots all toped with a brimmed hat.

Vintage looks also inspired us in SoHo, where we spotted a classic Diane von Furstenberg ensemble form the early '80s consisting of a black, gray and ivory checkered vest, a striped ascot and tall taupe boots with a matching fedora.

Classic iterations of cavalier style were seen in body-grazing tunics in bright fall hues, fashioned in felt and paired with tailored pants tucked into tall polished boots with strappy stirrup details. 

We also enjoyed the head-to-toe looks of Martian Margiela featuring a soft draped knit, printed silk tunic and gathered slim black pants tucked into robust boots with a brass stirrup detail. Additionally, a sweeping tailored coat made of brushed denim with deep-skirted panels and bias-bound trim by Nina Ricci struck an elegant silhouette in SoHo.

Slimane’s lean aesthetic in menswear, while readily available on the runway, is still very present in the street. Our sightings of cavalier style for men included fitted black denim with ankle zipper details, worn with rugged boots and a leather jacket. In Greenwich Village, we spotted artist Robert James Anderson in tight-fitting black denim paired with distressed oxfords.

We also noted the prevalence of the well-blocked felt hat and endless pairs of tall flat boots for early fall.