| Lifestyles

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Break the right rules for a more-fashionable fall

Does summer fashion end on Labor Day?

The fall hit list

This season is all about buckling down from the leisurely pace of summer, and turning over a new leaf, so your wardrobe should reflect the change. Here is what you should have:

• Three to five layering tanks

• Wool sheath dress

• Cozy oversized sweater or cardigan to wear over dresses, with jeans, etc.

• Wool or wool-blend pants — one black, one gray, one camel

• White button-down shirt

• At least one pair of tall leather boots (some boot lovers prefer one in black and one in brown)

• Booties

• Cashmere cardigan

• Printed scarf

• Suede moccassins or driving shoes

• Overnight bag

• Thin socks

• A combination of gray and black tights

• Navy, black or gray blazer

• Leather jacket

• Great-fitting pair of jeans (one wide-leg, one skinny, one boot cut, if they're flattering on you)

• A fabulous leather handbag

• Camel-colored trousers

• A skinny belt, to go over cardigans, pants and pencil skirts

• Shell tanks, in a multitude of colors

• Blouses for work and evening

• Plaid top

• Boatneck sweater

• Leggings

Source: Wear. This. Now.: Your Style Solution for Every Season and Any Occasion

Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, 6:30 p.m.

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 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 or 412-320-7889.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Fashion

  1. Spring check-up: Gingham is this season’s fashion favorite
  2. Fashion FYI: Style yourself up with Worth New York spring, summer collection in Pittsburgh
  3. J.McLaughlin clothing store joining Sewickley’s active main street