By Jordan Dechambre   Published Oct 04, 2002 at 5:27 AM

Will denim ever die? The workingman's fabric has a hold on our society that isn't loosening its grip. But, do we really want it to?

What's better than slipping into a great pair of jeans and a sweater on a chilly fall day? Evidently, fashion houses around the world have the same idea, as any way you want it, denim is still a man's (and woman's) best friend. Denim continues to put a new twist on basic jeans, trousers, handbags and jackets, which can be found shrunken, in dark, light and dirty washes, with detachable fur collars or lined. The hottest brands -- Seven, Paper and Denim Co., Diesel, Miss Sixty, Joe's Jeans and G-Star.

This season, however, there is something coming between Brooke Shields and her Calvins -- menswear fabrics for men and women, as well as bohemian and ethnic looks. Tunics, wrap-tops and anything flowery and flowing, continues to flourish. Wraps, shawls (especially netted) and long striped scarves also are making their way into the scene. Hobo bags, tweeds, lace skirts and shrunken corduroy, suede and leather jackets mix the feminine and menswear-inspired looks for the season.

One of the biggest trends of the season is Carrie Bradshaw's (from "Sex in the City") number one vice: footwear. Ankle straps, Mary Janes, pointed-toe everything, high boots with buckles, stitching or studs that slouch, lace up or are distressed, ankle boots, round toe flats and beyond -- it's all here and it's all hot.

So make you way to Milwaukee's boutiques that are guaranteed to tantalize the eye (and the checkbook). Spend a day visiting our local merchants on Brady, Farwell, Downer and beyond instead of fighting the crowds at the mall (do you really want to sport the same shirt as your co-worker, anyway?) Here, a few owners and store managers give you a rundown of what's hot for fall 2002 in some of Milwaukee's hippest fashion spots.

Detour, 1300 East Brady St.

Milwaukee's own denim empire -- Detour -- is riding high thanks to the continuation of hot denim trends for fall. But co-owner Jason Meyer is quick to say that fall fashion is about more than denim this year. The bohemian craze is still hot and heavy, with menswear looks for men and women flourishing as well.

Here are Jason's top picks for fall:

Paper Denim & Cloth jeans, $149
G-Star full-zip wool sweater $129
Miss Sixty denim handbag $89
Energie denim newsboy cap $59
Brave leather cuff bracelet $24

Diesel distressed jeans $149
Ben Sherman French cuff striped shirt $99
Diesel updated knit hat $30
Brave brown leather cuff $26
Diesel cuff watch $85

Footgear Ma Jolie, 2583 N. Downer Ave.

With an excellent selection of hip footwear and clothes, Footgear Ma Jolie has put itself on the map with trendy Milwaukeeans. Clothing manager Liz Schroeder keeps a steady flow of looks for any occasion -- from casual denim and T's to classy pants, sweaters and jackets. Denim is still a huge trend for the store, as well as pointed-toe footwear, vintage Ts, fringe sweaters and patchwork.

Here are Liz's top picks for fall:

Free People peasant top $52
B lucid shearling crop jacket $190
Paper Denim & Cloth super low jeans $168
Steve Madden patchwork ankle boot $110
Yochi brown belt with adorned flower buckle $64
Deborah Grivas Designs ribbon necklace $78

Moxy, 2219 N. Farwell Ave.

The casual jeans and t-shirt look is all the rage at Moxy, according to co-owner Kim Reiter. In fact, Reiter's must-have for fall is a pair of Joe's Jeans. Reiter, who like many women, admits to having trouble finding jeans with the right fit, can't get enough of Joe's, with their comfy fit that stretches to hit every man and woman's curve just right. Tunics for women and patterned shirts for men also are flying off the shelves at this hip Farwell shop.

Here are Kim's top picks for spring:

French Connection wool and nylon zip-collar sweater $118
Joe's Jeans distressed jeans $115
Cultura gray high-neck shirt with purple lace sleeves $90
Levi's distressed, two-pleat-bottom skirt $98

Three Graces, 1330 E. Brady St.

Fall is all about luxury at Three Graces. Classis cuts, tailored clothing, peasant tops, pointed-toe footwear, chunky knit sweaters, jewel tones -- doesn't it make you yearn for the leaves to change color? With the help of store manager Molly Gebheim, a mix of modern and classic collections will draw ladies who lunch and young hipsters alike to the store.

Here are Molly's top picks for fall:

Outfit #1
BCBG black wool suit with gray detail $450
Jarmila black choker $70
Franco Sarto black calf-high boots $150

Outfit #2
BCBG beige straight leg pants $133
BCBG red peasant top with paisley print $105
BCBG detachable fur collar wool coat $490
Nine West camel pointed-toe boots $99
Free Spirit Designs pink natural stone necklace $54

Aala Reed, 1320 E. Brady Street

When Aala Reed opened its doors, men's fashion in Milwaukee took a big step forward. This season is no exception. Luxurious fabrics and colors, as well as a host of accessories to complement any stylish man's wardrobe, are perfectly in step with fall 2002. Co-owner Laura Lutter is stocking her store with turtleneck sweaters, flat-front pants, cuff links, French-cuffed shirts, and cashmere pants and coats for the prefect mix of sophistication and fun.

Here are Laura's top picks for fall:

Outfit #1
Tallia Uomo black cashmere sportcoat $495
Equilibrio spread collar dress shirt $129
Tallia Uomo single-pleat worsted wool slacks $150

Outfit #2
Report wheat sweater $80
Reilly Olmes black leather jacket $495
Axis "dirty" jeans $95

Outfit #3
Somewhere in the World silk-collar shirt $105
Axis suede pants $200
Isda & Co. wool zip jacket/cardigan $225

Outfit #4
Report French cuff shirt $75
Jan Leslie cuff link $75