Autumn 2005 will bring a return to not only suits with pencil-thin skirts, but also fitted jackets and coats, wide trousers, knee-length dresses with stockings and big belts cinching everything.

Gone are the bright pinks, limes and aquas. Instead they’re replaced with businesslike grays and browns, olives and blacks. Shoes will be mostly flat, with boots in lengths from ankle high to thigh high, and chunky loafers or platform shoes other acceptable options.

“This is really the first dramatic change in fashion and beauty we’ve seen for a long time,” said Clairol Master Stylist Ingrinette Pope, whose work has been seen on a number of music videos and at the Soul Train Awards. “Both fashion and beauty are going back to the more structured look of a decade ago, when we all had our power suits in the closet.”

Haircolor, he predicts, “will reflect this return to classic style.” “Browns and red shades will be much more prevalent than blondes right through the season. African-American women who want to stay completely in the corporate mode can look great with shade-like Textures and Tones, Cocoa Brown or Silken Black, while those who want to make more of a statement but still keep that sophistication can try a shade like Bronze or Flaming Desire.”

Makeup will also be subtler, with the emphasis on well-shaped brows and earth-toned, outlined lips by day, smudged brown shadow added for evening. Accessories will be kept to a minimum, with a thin gold or silver chain the perfect accent at all times.

“The age of anything goes seems finally to have taken a back seat to reality,” concludes Ingrinette. “While this return to quiet elegance means paying a bit more attention to your hair and makeup, the pay-off is a decidedly more pulled together look for any woman.”