Last week, I was so thrilled to be invited to attend the fashion show for the Ralph Lauren Fall and Holiday Girls collection. I have to admit, I was surprised at how wearable and funky a lot of the fashions were, as opposed to the serious, preppy, classic equestrian look you might expect. In fact my own daughters were pointing at the things they liked–all while I kept reminding them we weren’t shopping, we were reporting.

Ralph Lauren Girls fall/holiday 12

Here are some of the more wearable looks and trends that I really loved, along with some budget tips to help you get the looks (even if you’re not about to shell out for The Looks).

And please forgive my less than professional blurry photos taken from the second row behind my children’s heads. I promise that, in person, the clothes (and the children) are indeed crisp and clear.Liz

Ralph Lauren Girls | fall/holiday '12
Lots of fun, unexpected mixing and matching, like Fair Isle sweaters with striped maxi skirts. (Great news for those of us living with hand-me-downs!) And I love the casual high tops to keep it all grounded.

Budget tip: Grab the Fair Isle scarf instead of the sweaters.

Ralph Lauren Girls | fall/holiday '12
Flowy, flouncy floral blouses and floral dresses coupled with wooly tights on bottom, chunky sweaters or varsity jackets on top.

Budget tip: Thrift a varsity jacket. You can even get it small if you like the cropped look.

Ralph Lauren Girls | fall/holiday '12
Military + equestrian + girlie with a faux fur trimmed utility coat over a flouncy skirt, and jodphurs instead of regular leggings. Sometimes they showed it with chunky boots, sometimes with delicate leopard flats.

tip: Buy a jacket like this a size up. It looks great oversized with
the sleeves rolled up, and you’ll get at least two years out of it.

Ralph Lauren Girls | fall/holiday '12
Plaid, plaid plaid. Tartan plaid everywhere.

Budget tip: The plaid jacket is expensive. The tartan blouse or tartan ruffled skirt, not so much. 

Ralph Lauren Girls | fall/holiday '12
Ralph Lauren Girls | fall/holiday '12

Big fur or wool hats over delicate holiday dresses

tip: Don’t save your splurgey holiday dresses just for holidays! You
can dress them up and down with denim jackets, funky hats, high tops,
and leggings instead of tights. If you buy sleeveless, you can often
wear them right into spring.

My one bit of
style advice would be to keep the size of your daughter in mind with any
of these looks. On taller, slimmer girls a lot of this looks fantastic.
But there are a few wider pieces, like the chunky vests or the short
flared skirts, that made some of the littler girls look a little
Oompa-Loompa like. Also keep an eye on the size of those hats; if you
want to go theatrical with one huge accessory, then you might also skip
the long crazy scarves and faux fur trimmed scarves and gloves.

again, if that’s your kid’s look? I bet she wears it well. The only
rule about fashion is that you get to break them sometimes.

Find the Ralph Lauren Girls collection for fall/holiday 2012 online at

Top photo c Ralph Lauren; other photos c Liz Gumbinner