Today, we welcome Atlanta style setter and SB friend Helen Stewart, who tells us what we need to know about taking wardrobe pieces that are great for our still-hot summer weather and giving them a fresh, fall twist.


Come September, most of us are more than ready to send our summer wardrobe packing. Those cute cutoff shorts aren’t looking so cute anymore now that our tan is fading, and our white tanks and t-shirts are starting to look positively dim. Plus we’ve been reading about fall fashion trends since our beach vacation and all the stores are now stocked with fall and winter staples like tall boots and coats.

But let’s face it: the temps don’t necessarily drop like the leaves this time of year, especially in the South. We’re going to need some of our warm weather pieces to survive the transition, so we consulted with fashion expert Connie Brown from Saks Fifth Avenue, who shares some tips on how to look stylish without sweltering, along with some drool-worthy splurges from their fall collection.

Start with your closet.

Connie says you literally have to make an appointment with yourself to sort your wardrobe and it couldn’t hurt to invest in a hanging rod. Say goodbye to all linen, shorts, sandals, and anything in a tropical color. Most everything else can stay, however, including lightweight silks, sleeveless dresses, and most shades of denim. With the right accessories and layering pieces, these summer staples can be worn well into fall.

Garment Rack

Meet the closet-sorter’s best friend: a garment rack from Bed Bath and Beyond, $89. (Comes in handy when prepping for trips too.)

Change your shoes.

Footwear gets heavier as the days get shorter. Wear a peep toe but in dark leather, with an ankle wrap or a heavier heel. Now the silk dress you wore to a luncheon in May is the perfect choice for a parents’ social in September. Even white jeans will work with a more substantial shoe (and a darker top, of course).

Dress with fall shoes

Rebecca Taylor double layer silk dress, $395. Vince Brigham leather open-toe ankle boots, $450.

Add a fall scarf.

A sleeveless dress with a heavy shoe can appear bottom heavy. Pair it with a scarf and you’ll look balanced. An added bonus: you can wrap it around your shoulders as the weather cools off.  


Assortment of fall scarves, Saks Fifth Avenue Atlanta.

Footless tights are a must-have this season.

Colored and textured hosiery is still in,  but hot in the humid South. Wear a pair of footless tights under a tunic or dress for the same look. Your feet will thank you. 

Footless Tights

Wolford velvet leggings, $45.

Layer with Lightweight Turtlenecks.

Lightweight turtlenecks are the perfect layering pieces. But opt for ones made of jersey, not itchy wool. Start with cream and black and build from there, adding this season’s signature shade of deep green or a berry hue for a pop of color.

Sleeveless dress with tneck 2

Lafayette jersey turtleneck, $298. Vince sleeveless dress in teal, $325. Jimmy Choo 144 Leigh leather sandals, $950.

Consider a Cropped Leather Jacket.

A cropped leather jacket is a wardrobe necessity, especially at this time of year. Whether matte or shiny, plain or embellished, it can be thrown over just about any sleeveless top or dress for date night.

Leather jacket

BCBGMAXAZRIA Lloyd faux leather asymmetrical paneled jacket, $248.

Splurge on a novelty vest.

It’s way cooler than a cardigan and just as versatile. Fur versions (both real and faux) are particularly popular this season and add a luxe touch to any everyday ensemble.

Vest outfit

Joie Marice matte silk blouse, $258; Joie maze-print stretch-ponte legging, $138, and Ellera rabbit fur-paneled wool vest, $528. Tory Burch Marion quilted leather mid-calf boots, $395. Etro scarf, $330.

Trade out your purse.

Begin with black and then bring on the luggage- and camel-colored bags as we get further into fall. A top-handle or “doctor’s bag” is this season’s go-to style.


Phillip Lim Wednesday medium Boston satchel bag, $950.

Don’t forget to change up your beauty regimen too.

Connie recommends switching your nail polish to a jewel tone such as deep, rich purple or blue, especially when wearing open-toe shoes. And your makeup palette should get more intense as well. Nude lipstick and shimmery blush are replaced with a stronger lip or smokier eye in the fall.

OPI's Rich Chocolate from their Brazil colletion -- a deep, purple-ish hue for fall nails.

OPI’s Rich Chocolate from their Brazil collection — a deep, purple-ish hue for fall nails.

For those wondering when to make the transition plunge, Labor Day is still a good cut-off date. Which means you better get moving!

Special thanks to Saks Fifth Avenue wardrobe consultant Connie Brown and the team at the Fifth Avenue Club in Atlanta, including Jamie Coffsky, Casey Goldberg and Brooke Patterson, for their contributions to this post.


Helen Stewart

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