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I love Autumn…the colors, the smells, the hint of frost in the air early in the morning.  After summers of floaty fabrics and sucking in my stomach at the beach, it’s always a bit of a relief to let everything hang out under layers of sweaters and flannel shirts.  Of course the weather this Fall has been somewhat (ok, very…) erratic, but honestly, when hasn’t it been!  Between Global Warming and the fact that we live in a region that truly experiences SEASONS it’s normal to expect crazy temperatures.  The key is knowing how to dress for 39 degrees one day and 75 the next – while still sporting the essence of fall in rich hues.  There are a few key pieces that are calendar appropriate which will work even when Mother Nature throws a curve ball, and will still keep you looking and feeling cozy and chic when that predicted Polar Vortex hits again.

A tailored flannel shirt:

Lasses Flannel shirt available at Frank&Eileen.com

Lasses Flannel shirt available at Frank&Eileen.com

Look for one in a lightweight flannel.  No need to go all North woodsman here and order from an outdoor gear company.  There are plenty of chic plaids and flannel prints that will mix and match with a leather skirt or pants, blue jeans, or even a lightweight fabric bottom when the thermometer is crying foul. LuckyBrand carries a great selection of plaid and flannel shirts that are cut to a woman’s proportions.  My personal favorite is found at Frank & Eileen.  It’s pricey, but the fit and quality are superior and their shirts do in fact last a lifetime.

A good pair of leather boots:

Frye Veronica Shortie, available at Zappos.com

Frye Veronica Shortie, available at Zappos.com

Personally, I like engineer cut boots like the ones pictured above.  The shorter cut lets the breezes cool your legs when it’s warm, and they look great with slim cut pants and skirts of all lengths.  If you are on the petite scale you may want a taller boot to lengthen your leg.  Any heel height that makes you happy will work, but remember that it will in fact be winter before too long, and the lower the heel, the more solid you’ll feel on slippery sidewalks.

An oversize scarf in a rich and vibrant hue:

Matta Scarves, purchasing info available at mattany.com

Matta Scarves, purchasing info available at mattany.com

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Scarves are your best friend.  They do yeoman’s duty all year long.  Feeling chilly?  Wrap it around your shoulders or scrunch it around your neck to keep the wind out.  When it gets too warm, drape it around your hips at a jaunty angle tied in a side knot to keep the fall theme going without the warmth factor of a traditional scarf.  The lighter the fabric the more versatile the scarf will be.  Really, there isn’t a lot you can do with a bulky knit muffler, but a silk or cotton blend one will take you places.  Choose a rich color that makes you feel vibrant. I have a stash of Matta Scarves that I wear almost every day, in colors that take me to the tropics and the Arctic.  They never disappoint.

An oversized sweater in a lighter knit fabric.

Cotton/Cashmere blend sweater available at jcrew.com

Cotton/Cashmere blend sweater available at jcrew.com

Whether you are a cashmere or cotton-knit girl, an oversized sweater in a lightweight knit will be your go-to piece 9 months out of the year – assuming you don’t live in Florida.  When the temps are cool, wear it by itself.  If the mercury is inching upwards, layer a silk camisole or stand alone shirt under the sweater so you can subtract layers as necessary.  And on those days when it’s really REALLY cold, layer another warm piece under the oversized sweater to help keep your heating bill in check.  I like hitting up the men’s department for basic oversized sweaters, but if you have a smaller frame, try sizing up two sizes in the women’s department for the same effect. But remember, oftentimes you can get a better price for the same thing in the boy’s or men’s sections of department stores.

A leather skirt.

Rebecca Taylor pleated faux leather skirt available at Amazon.com

Rebecca Taylor pleated faux leather skirt available at Amazon.com

OK, it doesn’t have to be real leather.  There are plenty of vegan leather options out there that are more wallet and environmentally friendly.  And frankly, the vegan (or faux) leather pieces are often more comfortable than the real thing, because they move with you and are less restrictive.  Even when it’s hot and humid a leather skirt looks chic and fun.  You can dress it up with fancier fabrics and accessories, or pair it with a flannel shirt and biker boots for an “I have shit to do” look.  Choose a length that flatters your frame, but keep the hem within 2″ – 3″ of your knee cap or you may send a message that you don’t want.

So go ahead and mix and match and have fun playing dress up this fall, because pretty soon I’ll be writing reviews about snow boots and gloves that will keep blood flowing to your frozen fingers.

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5 “Must Have” Pieces for Fall was last modified: by

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