Betwixt and be tweed

Kate Moss wants it: tweed, that is. Which just goes to show that what’s frumpy and school-marmish one season is top-model hot the next. But who are we mere mortals to question the whims of the fashion gods?

The great thing about the old-Celtic look currently sweeping magazines with plaid patterns and packing catalogues with argyle accessories is that it’s firmly rooted in tradition. So you probably need to look no further than the back of your closet for the right kilt, cable-knit sweater or Donegal cap.

Think early-1980s schoolgirl (there are plenty of A-line wool skirts lurking in area secondhand stores). Or go romantic in flouncy layers and velvet — this fall, over-the-top eveningwear makes a daytime debut.

If you donated all your prim blazers to Goodwill a decade ago, never fear: Local shops are stocking up on natty tweed items sure to make your grandmother proud to be seen with you again. Buy the real thing (now that you know it will never truly go out of style) at an Irish-imports shop, or hunt for hip bargain versions at various discount stores.

• A) Dog Days … of Autumn

Once the heat of summer has passed, she doesn’t look back. Shorter days mean more hours for stargazing, bare trees mean chestnuts for roasting, and cooler nights mean increasing opportunities to wear sumptuous sweaters and cozy coats.

San Francisco hat, $38; Putumayo skirt, $56; Just In Time top, $29; Angie tweed-print jacket, about $80; at Terra Diva. (Model: Amy DeCori.)

• B) Before there was Rock

Legend has it that the fair maiden Canola had a spat with her man and decided to walk it off. On a lonely beach she fell asleep, lulled by mysterious music. When she woke, she found the celestial sound came from the wind whistling through a whale skeleton. Despite its somewhat icky beginnings, the harp was later adopted as Ireland’s national symbol.

Make beautiful music in a vintage wool skirt, $13; white angora sweater, $12; velvet blazer, $18; Nine West shoes (secondhand), $12; harp, about $200; at The Getup Exchange. (Model: Amy DeCori.)

• C) Dreams of the Emerald Isle

Yeats once penned the lines, “I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore/ While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray … ” And so our model’s imaginings take on liquid hues of green and gray, thoughts of ragged winds whistling over mossy landscapes and castles succumbing to persistent rain.

She’ll arise and go in a Mossimo 3/4-sleeve tweed jacket, $24.99; Mossimo shirt, $16.99; paisley scarf, $8.99; tweed purse, $12.99; red knit cap, $12.99; at Target. (Model: Mary Jo Marshall.)

• D) Red Riding Hood Reprise

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Not her — at least not in this get-up. Sure, she’s sweet in this ultra-feminine floral dress (the transparent design is all the better to see her with), but throw on the modern version of the all-purpose cape (in the form of this oversized hooded cardigan) and never fear another autumn chill — or wolfish stranger.

Two-piece Jessica Howard dress (top layer shown), $29.99; Extra Touch hooded sweater, $11.99; at Ross Dress for Less. Model’s belt. (Model: Mary Jo Marshall.)

• E) Will o’ the Wisp

Be careful where you step when exploring fall’s mist-thick lanes. Legend tells of ethereal creatures luring unsuspecting travelers into treacherous marshes — never to be heard from again. She seeks otherworldly wonders in the season’s most romantic look: a floor-length skirt paired with a practical jacket.

Green print gown, $14; lace and checkered skirt, $18; corduroy jacket, $14; black scarf, $10; at The Getup Exchange. (Model: Mary Jo Marshall.)

Where to get the goods:

• The Getup Exchange (vintage clothing and musical instruments), 4 Eagle St., Asheville; 258-2491.

• Terra Diva (sweatshop-free apparel), 70 College St., Asheville; 225-4884.

• Target (discount retailer), 115 River Hills Road, Asheville; 298-1262.

• Ross Dress for Less (discounted name brands), 80 S. Tunnel Road, Asheville; 298-0973.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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