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A client who has just relocated to the South after living in the West for many years recently asked me the following questions regarding what to wear this autumn. Here are my answers to help her acclimate to the milder weather. 

Q: What can I wear when it rains that looks professional, or at least cute? 

A: Invest in a well-fitting trench coat (color is up to you). It will look professional over a suit or dress. Wear it open with the belt tied in the back for a more casual look with nice jeans and a blouse. While many Southern women love the tall rubber boots, for work I suggest a sleek mid-calf rain boot. Look on Amazon.com for wedge high-heel waterproof rain booties. They come in a variety of colors and patterns. These short boots can be worn with dresses or pants. For a fun twist, try the black and white polka-dot pattern. Don’t forget your umbrella! I suggest keeping a small compact umbrella in your car at all times. Take it with you if it looks like rain. Those Southern thunderstorms can arrive quickly. 

Q: In autumn, I’m freezing in the morning and sweltering by afternoon. Besides carrying around a useless jacket, what can I wear? 

A: In many parts of the country, autumn is a very short season. Embrace a sleek, long, thin cardigan (in a fall color) as your go-to outer layer. Perhaps a plum-colored duster-length cardigan. Wear it open over pants or skirts. A long, thin sweater will pair nicely over slim pants or the more trendy wide-legged jeans. Denim jackets are also back in style; wear them before the snow flies. 

Q: Beyond maroon, mustard, sage and brown for fall, what other colors can I wear? 

A: Plum, teal, pumpkin or even blush. For a fresh take on fall colors, wear opaque tights in the season’s eye-catching colors. On the runways featuring fall trends for 2019, colorful tights were paired with everything. Put aside your black tights for now and embrace the season of “pumpkin and spice” with a pair of orange, mustard, teal or plum-colored tights paired with your fall weather classics. 

Q: When it’s technically fall, but not fall weather, what can I wear that is seasonally appropriate?

A: Color and weight of fabric are key to surviving the hot days of Indian summer. Choose items in season-appropriate colors (brown, caramel, maroon) in a lighter weight. For example, a linen blend jumper with short sleeves and wide legs (mid-calf length) in a darker color will help you feel comfortable in the heat without looking like you are pining for Fourth of July festivities. Wear sandals with wider straps and chunkier soles. Put away the thin strap flip-flops for next summer. 

More tips from the professional:

Now is the perfect time to re-assess your closet. Cull any summer items you didn’t wear this past season. Take a hard look at your sweaters and donate or consign any that you didn’t wear last autumn, or those that are looking a little worn and need replacing. Polish your boots and replace any heel caps that are missing or worn down. 

Update your sock drawer. Discard/donate any socks that you didn’t wear last autumn. A fresh pair of socks can give you extra confidence. There are wonderful weaves that are thin, but warm. Invest in some Smartwool socks for work or play. They support the foot, are breathable and last a long time. 

Dying to wear your new booties, but wonder if your feet will be too hot in them? Use a slim no-show sock to keep you comfortable. Showing a bare ankle is a standard look now. You can use your thick, slouchy socks when chilly weather finally arrives.

As a personal wardrobe consultant and owner of Alpharetta-based Fashion With Flair,  Lori Wynne helps people look their best. Connect with her at fashionwithflair.com.

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