Since summer is almost half over, it's time to think about fall fashion and the back-to-school shopping season. After all, if the fashion world is always thinking at least two seasons ahead, then Wall Street could stand to catch up. The types of merchandise that continue to sell this fall could solidify the fashion trends that marked the spring season. And there are certain retailers poised to take advantage of what consumers will want to wear once Labor Day has come and gone. "Historically, fall has been a dividing period between a trend and a fad, as the higher cost of apparel (vs. thin summer-weight items) requires a deeper monetary commitment," said Eric Beder, an analyst at JBHanauer & Co, in a recent research note. "Fall 2004 will be a key marker for the retailing world as the industry begins to anniversary the latest period of fashion excitement." Teen and fashion-forward sectors could be the biggest beneficiaries of the back-to-school season, said Beder. Color will still be hot but more muted, and accessories will continue to "complete the look." Meanwhile, denim could become less fashionable, while faux fur will likely become a fashion "do," he said. Piper Jaffray analyst Jeffrey Klinefelter expects to see colorful, preppy looks. He said in a recent research note that "the continuation of the girly look as well as a tendency toward more tailored pieces" will also characterize the fall. Limited Brands ( LTD) and Ann Taylor ( ANN) are two retailers currently profiting from these trends. The popular pink tones of summer will probably be replaced by lavender and subtle blues and greens in fall, Beder thinks. Black, always a big fashion theme, will complement layers of color, while patterns like herringbone and tweed will also be hot. Guess? ( GES), bebe stores ( BEBE) and Neiman-Marcus ( NMGa) will likely capitalize on the influence of color, Beder said.