It’s the time of year when women look in their closets, ponder what’s ther, and moan to themselves, “I have nothing to wear!” And they probably don’t. September and most of October means wearing what the industry calls “transitional” clothing — that is, clothing that moves the wearer fashionably from summer to fall and from fall to winter. How do you do this?
Okay, here it comes: Retire your whites.
The upper class rule not to wear white after Labor Day continues to befuddle committed fashionistas. Some adhere to it, others ignore it. How did this silly rule become written in stone? Several explanations exist: Light white clothing helped women beat the heat spells of September before air conditioning. A century ago, the wealthy wore white to symbolize their separation from physical laborers who sullied clothing dark with dirt. Or this one: The key editors of the fashion magazines of the time — Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan — were all based in New York, home to trend setters and old money. Together they developed strict fashion rules including the banning of white after Labor Day to keep the arrivistes at bay.
I have to admit that bright white does look “wrong” by mid September. Here are some ways to slowly divest your closet of summer clothes while dusting off your winter wardrobe from last year.
Instead of white, wear a top
like this cream colored one.
Consider cream colors or winter white. This is the shade that builders slap on the walls of new homes. It’s what I called “bone” or “ivory” growing up. Don’t wear head-to-toe winter white. Instead pair darker tops with cream-colored slacks and skirts. This is a good time to liberate khaki, navy and maroon blazers and light-weight sweaters.
Richard Chamberlain as Dr.
Kildare sports the traditional
physician white jacket.
Recently, I’ve observed a disturbing new entry into the suit category: White blazers. Don’t go there. What are we, doctors? Calling Richard Chamberlain! Dr. Kildare wants his white coat back. I have never seen a decent looking white blazer, unless you include top designer brands where white blazers can cost as much as a small hospital.
Experiment with colorful
handbags like this stunning tote
from Michael Kors.
Empty that Handbag. Time to pack away the white handbag and pull out the brown, black and camel leather ones. If a new purse is in your future, check out all the pretty totes in Michael Kors, Dillard’s and Nordstrom. Don’t be afraid to snag yourself a bag in bright blue, coral, yellow or green. These new classic colors will bring a sparkle to the eye in the dead of winter. BTW, a mini tablet fits comfortably in most tote sizes.
Two-tone flats are stylish and
comfortable and can be worn all year.
Pedicure days are numbered. Retire all flip-flop style sandals that reveal lots of naked feet. Instead switch to peep toes, loafers, pumps and ankle boots. Ankle boots with skinny jeans, slacks and skirts are one of the hottest trends of the season. Might as well jump on it now. (tip: So far Macy’s Cherry Creek has the best selection of all boot styles this season.)
Face Painting. Summer tans are fading, and that hot pink lipstick that looked so cool in mid July now looks pretty tacky. An inexpensive way to fast-forward into fall is to experiment with the new glamorous lip shades flooding the market. Pick up a tube of cherry, oxblood or amethyst. Start with an inexpensive long-lasting brand such as Cover Girl Outlast Double Lip Shine Lip Gloss ($8.25) and move up the food chain. A foundation or pressed powder with SPF 15 or higher. SM likes L’Oreal Visible Lift Smooth Makeup with a built-in brush. ($6.12 on Amazon.) Great for traveling in those political districts.
Note: Style Matters will be happy to answer questions from the personal to the global regarding fashion. And advice — I love giving advice — so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Should your letter garner my respect, we might even publish it — with your permission of course.
Judie Schwartz, AKA Style Matters, is the co-author of two best-selling books on the best places to shop in Colorado. Called “A Fashion-Lover’s Guide to the Best Shopping in Denver and Beyond,” the books are available at stylematters.us. Schwartz presents image seminars to corporations on the importance of a business casual wardrobe and entertains conventioneers with talks on how to look great on a budget. She is also a wardrobe consultant. Schwartz has one husband, three children, no pets and small closets. She can be reached at:
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