Share This Page

Break the right rules for a more-fashionable fall

| Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
MARK BREWER
Does summer fashion end on Labor Day?

Labor Day signifies the unofficial end of summer — and the final time to wear certain clothing.

What are the rules? Is everything white forbidden? Straw handbags? Sandals? Linen?

There are no hard and fast rules, fashion experts say.

“Color is not seasonal,” says David Zyla, Emmy Award-winning stylist and author of “Color Your Style: How to Wear Your True Colors.” “White can be worn year-round in different weights, which are appropriate to each season. The new rule is wearing color that looks great on you year-round. A bright pink coat in the dead of winter not only makes the woman who wears it smile, but is a happy sight that takes the chill out of the wintery air for all those who see her.”

There really are no rules about fashion after Labor Day, agrees Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom fashion director. What you wear is about self-expression. And if it's 90 degrees in September, it's just fine to put on a pair of white jeans, he says.

“The weather will dictate how you are going to dress in the month or two following Labor Day,” says Andrews. “A lot of times, September is one of the hottest months of the year. You do, however have to start thinking about transitioning into fall.”

That might mean wearing a summer dress with a pair of booties — instead of a strappy sandal — and a leather jacket or blazer, which is perfect for possibly cool fall evenings. You don't have to jump right into heavy sweaters, Andrews says. Think about light layers at first.

There are items that should be stashed away:

• Anything nautical

• All-straw handbags

• Beach floppy hats

• 100-percent linen pieces

• Some silks and chiffons

Continue to wear fun colors. Just move away from neons and brights and go for richer tones, Andrews says. White is especially on trend this fall because the combination of black-and-white was on every runway.

Living in a four-season city such as Pittsburgh can be a fashion challenge. This is the time of year when women can be creative with their wardrobes, says Andrews. They can show some self-expression. And it is a chance to get more cost-per-wear out of a summer piece if you can wear it into fall.

“Living on the East Coast, we can definitely have warm days this time of year,” says Amber Herring, accessories editor at Self magazine. “So I say, you can wear sandals until it becomes really cold and snowy. And you can even wear socks with sandals, which is really new and modern.

“Putting away all the white shoes, handbags and other accessories is an old wives' tale type of thing,” she says. “It's a myth, and I certainly don't abide by it. Rules need to be broken, anyway. I say, if you get the feeling you can get away with wearing a certain piece, then go for it.”

Herring recommends mixing summer and fall pieces, because layering will be important as the weather changes.

“To honor the new season, you might think about accessorizing your looks differently to give them a seasonal flair,” Zyla says. “Think about replacing the sandal with the closed-toe shoe, the shell necklace with something less beachy, etc. … Fall is about getting back to work and back to school, and your clothing should reflect the seasonable vibe.”

This time of year is all about “toughening up” clothes, says Michelle Madhok, founder of www.shefinds.com and co-author with Eileen Conlan of “Wear. This. Now: Your Style Solution for Every Season and Any Occasion.”

“Leather is a big trend for fall, so pairing a summer skirt or dress with a leather jacket and leather boots will make it tougher. Or add a black blazer and boots to a pair of white jeans. Definitely stock up on T-shirts and tank tops, which you can find on sale now and make great layering pieces.”

You can even dress shorts into a fall look with leggings and tights, Madhok says. Wearing a T-shirt under a sleeveless dress extends its life. Mix neons with more subdued colors so you have only a little pop of the bold hue.

“Just make sure you are balanced in what you choose to wear,” she says. “Don't pair the leather jacket with the sundress and sandals. Go with a pair of booties to complement the jacket. That will make your look complete.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.