The fall runways were packed with Victorian influences - empire waists, wide sash belts, puffed sleeves, lace, ribbon, and embroidery galore. Although the full-on look may be a bit much for most of us, wearing a ruffled lace blouse underneath a crisp suit or a velvet jacket with a leg of mutton sleeves can add romance and feminity to your everyday look.
This satin top by Jill Stuart would be a perfect piece on its own with a pencil skirt and leather boots, or wear it under a blazer with the ruffles just peeking out at the top. It could even be worn more casually with jeans and cowboy boots.
Another popular trend this fall is cropped bolero jackets. When combined with victorian ruffles and lace, they make a pretty layering piece for day or night. This elegant ensemble is by Jeffery Chow, and both pieces can also work separately - try a similar jacket worn over a lacy cami with cords.
There are also some stunning dresses in the Victorian vein - this one by Diane Von Furstenburg has just a touch of the trend (in the puffed sleeves), while this black number by Boudiccea is completely modernized Victorian gothic - definitely not an everyday piece, but a showstopper nonetheless.
Victorian style is quite interesting because it is very prim and proper, yet also very sexy. The beauty is in the fact that although you're covered up, the fabrics are sheer or the shape created by these styles is typically an hourglass (those with boyish figures - these styles will add some shape, and if you've already got curves, they'll emphasize them). A great example of an upexpectedly sexy dress is this one by Derercuny with its completely covered front and keyhole back.
There were also some stunning suits with the high empire waistline and puffed sleeves on the fall catwalks. I particularly like this number by Ralph Lauren, because it is quite classic but still has some Victorian details like the high leather belt, small jet buttons, and slightly puffed sleeves. In addition, it would be flattering on practically all body types, making this fall 2005's perfect suit.
Finally, one of my favorite dresses on the fall runways was this amazing evening gown by Alice Temperley. Crafted from ivory satin with a black lace overlay, it is the sort of feminine elegance that only the British know how to do correctly. Really, who wouldn't feel beautiful in this?