(c) 2011, The Washington Post.

(c) 2011, The Washington Post.

To "see red" conventionally means to become really angry. But this fall, sightings of scarlet signify blazer-friendly temperatures, foliage-rich road trips and pinot noir-fueled chats.

"Red is a really energetic color that brings to mind happy and bright attitudes," says Dina Mackney, a Reston, Va.-based jewelry designer who's showing lots of ruddy gems garnets, rubies in her chunky bracelets and dramatic necklaces (sold at Neimanmarcus.com). And the regal color comes in so many shades (oxblood, Nancy Reagan-cerise, crimson) that nearly anyone can wear it. Plus red stars both in daywear and cocktail dresses. But don't get flushed over red's endless possibilities: It's a flattering, flaming effect whether you indulge a little (shoes, a shapely bag) or a lot (head-to-toe berry shades).

Another reason for red: it can be "a bold statement or can be worn in a more conservative way," Mackney says.

_ Shades of berry, cherry and ruby empower fall's hottest dresses, jewelry and handbags. Left, a lace dress by Michael Kors ($2,895). Right, an asymmetrical-cut ruffled sheath dress by Lanvin ($1,435). Both from Neiman Marcus.

_ When it comes to fall's ladylike dresses, skinny jeans and jewelry, you're better off in red. Left, a Trina Turk polka-dot Georgette dress ($363, on sale for $218 at Trinaturk.com). Right, an Armani blazer ($1,395, Neiman Marcus), with a silk flower brooch ($25, from ProperTopper.com), and clay-colored high-rise Rag and Bone skinny jeans ($176, from Rag and Bone stores and www.rag-bone.com). Accessories include Dina Mackney Marquis bracelet ($488), left, and ruby and semi-precious gemstone rings ($250-$440), right.

_ Scarlet goes downtown via Devi twill skinny jeans, with exposed zipper ($220) and classic Newbury booties in chili ($495, both from Rag and Bone stores and www.rag-bone.com), topped by a Diane von Furstenberg blouse ($225, Neiman Marcus).

_ Max Mara's edgy jumpsuit ($995, Maxmara.com) plays well with a Tristan belt and spiked Louboutin platform stilettos ($1,395, Neiman Marcus).

_ Warm up in the cold with a Max Mara jacket ($1,165, Maxmara.com) and fire-hydrant red Chanel sunglasses.

_ Go for just a pop of red with a bag like Rebecca Minkoff 5 Zip chain-strap clutch ($195, ShopBop.com) or Orla Kiely patent, retro-inspired bag ($485, Simply Soles stores or SimplySoles.com).

_ For your fingernails: Classic red nail polishes include Revlon Valentine 730, Revlon Vixen 570, Sephora Curve-aceous 190, Sephora Pushing Your Luck 323 and Illamasqua Throb.

bc-fashion-party (TPN)