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How to Rock Fall Fashions in a Warm Weather Climate

Autumn calls to mind crisp days and cozy evenings bundled up by a blazing fire – but not for those of us living in warmer climates. Our reality is far different than those picture perfect images of buffalo plaid-and-shearling wearing models picking apples or jumping in piles of brightly colored leaves. In the sun-drenched land of flip flops and shorts, turtlenecks and cashmere simply aren’t practical. So how can you participate in fall style trends without feeling as though you are wearing a sleeping bag? Read on for some practical hacks!

Rich Color

Let’s start with something easy. Moving from summer colors to the richer fall hues will shift your mood. Summer colors are bright, clear and vibrant. Those same colors in autumn tones are more muted, “muddy” or heathered. Tee shirts are a best bet for fall color: hunter green, navy, spice, rust, mustard, deep plum. Wear with leggings and ankle boots, add a fringe bag, and you will be perfectly on trend.

Chill Turtle

Have an overwhelming desire to rock the classic turtleneck, but it’s still 80 degrees outside? Go sleeveless! Pair with a tee or lightweight wrap sweater, or wear a long version with a belt. The sleeveless turtle is versatile enough to style with denim for casual get-togethers or with a pencil skirt for work.

Ankle Boots

Since boots are a fall essential, you can honor the tradition with ankle length kicks and avoid an extra layer of leather. Ankle boots are especially appealing with leggings, lending an apres ski vibe to your ensemble, even if you are nowhere near the slopes.  Fortunately they also look cute with shorts and skirts, especially if you add socks with a little bit of crochet or lace at the top for more textural interest.

Mad for Plaid

Plaid is a classic indicator of fall, and you can rock this pattern in dozens of ways. Thin cotton “flannels” have made their way into the mainstream, harking back to the grunge fashions of the 90s, but styled a bit classier this time around. (Hot tip: pair with sleeveless turtle and denim for instant appeal!) Plaid is front and center in tops, skirts, scarves and bags, perfect for every taste and every budget.

Go for Texture

Autumn always inspires bundling up, but that’s not an ideal match for palm trees and sunshine. So fake it with texture. A lightweight cardigan in a chunky or cable knit pattern will do the trick. Or go for suede (or suede-look), but choose a mini or midi skirt instead of a heavy jacket. Style it with ankle boots or high, strappy sandals and a simple blouse for an on-trend look.


Autumn accessories are fun, even in warm weather. If you can pull off a hat, try a beret or a felt hat. The fedora trend has waned, but it has spawned a number of new adaptations, including the bowler, pork pie and trilby, all scaled-down versions of century-old designs. Scarves are perennial fall favorites, and can add both color and texture to a simple outfit. Antique style brooches are making a comeback this season, so raid your granny’s jewelry box and liberally sprinkle your hats and scarves with these metal and jewel creations. This time around, more is better, but remember to keep the tones compatible, and always go for an odd number.