As summer nears its end, the autumn and winter clothing accessory trend reports are beginning to appear as designers host their seasonal fashion shows. Cold weather often means there is less chance to show off individual style since fashion is abandoned in favor of protection from the weather elements. However, it's possible to stay warm and still look great. Set yourself apart from the crowds with the following hints for clothing accessory trends this autumn/winter season.

The color palette for accessories tends towards classy, muted shades of purple and grey. As usual, black is another wintry standard. Plaids rule the runways again this season, as they did in spring and summer, but are more likely to be seen in darker bejeweled tones. Metallic accents in bronze, copper, and gold have also been sighted. Sequins decorate everything imaginable, but it's an updated look often muted with tulle overlay.

A must-have clothing accessory for this season is reminiscent of 1940s glamour days. Long gloves that reach from mid-arm to elbow length and beyond have been spotted in most designers' collections. Materials range from the standard patent leather and wool to more unique styles in satin, PVC rubber, and reptilian skin (both real and faux). From shoes to handbags, reptile-inspired accessories are popular in general this season. Alligator or crocodile print seems to be the most common, appearing in unexpected shades like cobalt blue and cerise.

At the center of every winter collection is a warm but stylish coat. Trench coats are in style this season, accented with large buttons or even rhinestones. Shoe styles haven't changed much from last autumn. Toes are squared or slightly rounded. Women's dress shoes are geometric and heavy, often with platform soles and stiletto heels. Ankle boots are prolific on the runways, complimenting the long skirts and dresses still appearing since summer. Belts tend towards one extreme or the other. Pencil-thin looks are still popular as a clothing accessory, belted high on the waist. Otherwise, go for a corseted or girdle look with a thick belt paired with a shapely jacket to create more pronounced curves.

Handbags are also at opposite ends of the size spectrum this season. The oversized look that was trendy this spring is still in style, but with more elegant outfits handbags are getting smaller and smaller. Popular right now is the micro bag, large enough to carry only a mobile and a few cosmetics. Bags should hold a strong shape, and straps are more commonly being replaced with roped or chained cords. Designs are most often drawn with geometric precision or are reminiscent of abstract art masters.

One clothing accessory that doubles as winter protection is stylish headgear. Again, glamour throwbacks mean headscarves are trendy, often paired with oversized sunglasses despite the gloomy weather. Another trend inspiration comes from Russia, with fur-trimmed hats and earflaps appearing alongside more masculine-tailored outfits. For the daring, winter hats adorned with feathers and bold deco shapes have been seen on a few high couture runways.

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