Each year about this time, while my girlfriends begin bemoaning the end of summer, I anxiously await the advent of fall.
It's not that I don't love lazy summer days spent poolside with my kids (I'm only human, after all). Nope, it's the clothes; the excitement of dressing for fall is unparalleled. Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite season of style.
But in recent years, I've found myself feeling more jaded than inspired by the "new" fall trends. For example, experts are predicting ponchos, MOD, tartans and the like as hot for 2011. Seriously? Maybe these trends would seem interesting if I were 18 again and hadn't worn the same trends in several falls past.
And so, while I still love fall style, and even believe it can be adapted for Florida weather, this year I'm embracing every cut and color that flatters me, trends be damned. Because what I've learned is that the true measure of style is how great one looks and feels, not how many fads one fits into an outfit.
Double up on the good stuff
A classic style tip is to never buy a new outfit that doesn't look better than the best thing you currently own. That's a high bar, but a great concept to help temper your shopping impulses. I'll up the ante and encourage you to buy multiples when you find a piece that really flatters you.
You may opt for a few of the same color or pick different colors in the same style. If you've put in the time and found a piece that really complements your body, why walk away with just one? I recently purchased three Cynthia Rowley dresses that fit my shape ideally in fuchsia, black and purple. I dare someone to criticize me for looking too good in the same dress in three different colors.
Stock your wardrobe
Eggs, milk, organic multi-grain bread. These are a few staples in my pantry that we never run out of and, in a pinch, can be whipped up into a meal. Similarly, your wardrobe should be stocked with staples that you can call on. For fall, nude closed-toe pumps are a must. They match everything and are my go-to shoes with dresses that would otherwise be hard to coordinate shoes with (like the aforementioned fuchsia shift). The key is to shop for a pair that matches your skin tone as closely as possible; the idea is for the pumps to appear to be an extension of your legs.
Diamond studs (real or faux) are the one item of jewelry I regularly turn to. My husband gave me a pretty pair of estate diamonds one anniversary; often I eschew wearing them for a big, fake pair of honking studs I picked up at Target.
And for fall, invest in several pairs of black tights. I like my tights like my mascara, the thicker and blacker the better. Tights can easily turn some of your favorite spring and summer dresses into transitional pieces worth repeating. And making the most of the clothes you already own is a classic mark of great style.
Carolyn Brundage is the founder of tampabay.prettycity.com, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty.