Let’s be honest: Anyone that follows fashion knows that the trend cycle can be tiring. One minute you can be fully vested in a shoe trend, only for it swiftly to be deemed “out of style” the following season. Or maybe you finally secure that designer bag once it’s suddenly not the “right” size. Keeping up with what’s trendy can be is not an easy task, both in the emotional and fiscal sense. It’s no wonder there’s a rising sentiment among the fashion set that investing in pieces that tap into current trends while also being timeless is the move. But how does one discern what can both be of the times yet also withstand the test of time? With years of experience. Or in the case of Tracy Margolies, over 25 years of being Saks Fifth Avenue’s Chief Merchandising Officer. Margolies has spent many years attending fashion shows, discovering new brands, and spotting the season’s biggest trends—basically, she’s seen it all in a nutshell. So, it only makes sense then that when trying to discern which fall trends lend themselves to becoming “forever” pieces, I’d want to tap her time in the field. And luckily for us, she obliged. Ahead, you’ll hear from Margolies about her career, what fall staples she swears by, and which fall trends are worth buying into for the long haul. For anyone trying to spend wisely, shop more sustainably, or generally be more stylish, she’s got you covered.
You’ve worked as a buyer in the fashion industry for over 25 years. What do you feel you’ve learned over the tenure of your career? Tracy Margolies: One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that being a true team player, no matter your role goes a long way. Having a strong point of view and taking risks has helped me climb the ladder, but seeking other opinions, listening to my team, and emphasizing collaboration is what have allowed me to thrive as a leader. Providing great leadership to my team has always been a priority, and it has empowered my team to grow our assortment and introduce exciting new categories that delight our customers. On a more personal note, I take pride in my ability to create a balance between my work life and personal life. This has been especially important for me in the past few years after becoming a single mom by choice. How do you feel your buying expertise influenced your personal style? TM: I always joke with the team that I only wear best sellers! Being in the industry for 25 years has definitely influenced my wardrobe. I am lucky that my job allows me to be surrounded by the best in luxury fashion and the most talented designers who have inspired my style. I tend to gravitate towards feminine pieces and also have an appreciation for high-quality fine goods.
Since you’re a seasoned expert, are there any outwear staples you feel every woman should own? Or any outerwear trends you’re excited about for fall? TM: Women have so many outerwear options to choose from this season, no matter their style. Our customers respond well to leather biker jackets, double-breasted coats, and tailored blazers. Outerwear pieces can also be a great way to add a pop of color to your look, and the collections this season provide many choices for this.
In addition to outerwear, which staples do you feel every woman should invest in for fall?
TM: The fall staple I see our customers are investing in most this fall is fun and fresh suiting styles, which we call “The New Suit.” Traditional suiting styles have been reimagined in high-shine fabrications and vibrant pop of colors that make women feel confident and fashion-forward as they return to their offices. It’s the perfect staple because it can be worn in so many ways—as separates, together, dressed up, or even more casually.
Pair with the matching Pibois Wool Crepe Pants ($259).
Pair with the matching Alice + Olivia Denny Satin Blazer ($397).
TM: Another two fall staples our customers love is the combination of soft and structured pieces—especially slip dresses paired with a great leather jacket. These versatile pieces can be easily dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.
TM: Additionally, a great pair of hoop earrings is always worth the investment. We just launched Jennifer Fisher at Saks, which offers various styles that add the perfect finishing touch to any look.
Fall is commonly known in the fashion world as denim season. For you, what denim silhouettes do you think will be everywhere this fall?
TM: Fall is the perfect time of the year to incorporate new denim silhouettes into your wardrobe. I recently purchased a long denim skirt that I love, and I can see this style’s widespread appeal.
TM: Our customers are also gravitating towards flare-leg denim this season. I recommend pairing flare styles with platform pumps and a blazer for a polished, put-together look.
The past few seasons have been filled with bold shoe trends. Are there any styles you think will take over this fall?
TM: Platforms have been trending for the past few seasons and are one of our most sought-after styles for fall. We see the transition to platform boots and closed-toe shoes rather than sandals.
TM: Tall shaft boots are also on track to be popular this season, thanks to Brandon Maxwell, Isabel Marant,and Bottega Veneta.
What fall trends lend themselves to becoming “forever” wardrobe pieces?
TM: Great outerwear pieces can always lend themselves to becoming a “forever” wardrobe staple. This fall, the leather jackets offered by Khaite and Prada brought this beloved staple back into the conversation and made it a must-have for any closet.
TM: The double-breasted coats we spotted on the runway at Saint Laurent and Jil Sander stand out as items that feel timeless. When in doubt, this is a trend you know you can buy now and know it will still be in style years down the line.
TM: Last but certainly not least, a classic handbag is also the perfect wardrobe staple. Bottega Veneta and Fendi offer newer styles this season, making them the ideal investment for fall.
Can you share the fashion brands you predict will be big this fall and why? TM: I’m excited to be in the second year of Saks’ emerging designer accelerator program, The New Wave at Saks. This year, we’ve welcomed eight incredible designers into the program who each bring a unique perspective to our assortment. We look forward to continuing to nurture their growth at Saks and beyond. I also think that Valentino will have a big moment this fall. We have several exclusive pieces from their celebrity-favorite Pink PP collection that are already taking off in a major way.
What final wisdom would you share with our readers when it comes to shopping for fall? What in your mind makes something worth buying? TM: For investment pieces, I recommend choosing things that feel timeless and can work across seasons. And most importantly, I always consider emotion when purchasing a piece. Anything that makes me feel confident and good about myself always feels worthwhile to buy and should be for you too.
Next: The 8 Fall Trends My Fashion Colleagues Will Be Politely Declining