Fall Finds

By Karen R. Smith


Despite the continued warm sunny days here in Tucson, it’s still Fall. Little kids went back to school, college kids returned to classes, and we’ve flipped the calendar to September. So although we’re still enjoying the pool, by now the straw bag and sandals are tired...and so are we!

I’m not suggesting that we need to don boots and sweaters. It’s not Minneapolis, after all. But I do think a change of style and color feels right at this time of year, and it’s a chance to introduce a difference into the mix.

The real difference in spending Fall in the sunny southwest is one of fabrics. Easterners are removing their wools and such from storage; we’re just switching from linen to rayon!

Denim is seasonless, and I’m not one to suggest you give up on your cut­offs while the sun still shines... but what looks absolutely perfect on the fourth of July can look a bit faded by Labor Day. By September, a cropped top and low-slung jeans look more appealing. And retiring linens leaves room for bringing in all sorts of jerseys (and let’s not forget those lightweight menswear fabrics!).

Besides, the Fall designer collections have been wonderful, and most of those clothes will get us straight through the winter hereabouts, which makes them a very good investment. In less hospitable parts of the country, Fall doesn’t last long enough to merit serious wardrobe consideration; here, it can last from now through March, so start shopping!

Designer goodies

Mugler. Nearly every piece in all the current collections. These are perfect clothes. Thank you, David Koma. The jackets can work over everything and anything, and the dresses and skirts are sexy and feminine without exposing flesh or constraining movement. These are clothes for grown­up women with style.

For those with a bohemian or hippie predilection, look no further than Zuhair Murad’s fall collection. Velvets and sheers with embroidered details, designed to cover and reveal, showing curves and tattoos, with boots and cloaks and attitude. Boho gypsy never looked so good!

And because Spring is Fall with a brighter palette, don’t overlook the European collections premiering now. The clothes by Mark Kenly Domino Tan that premiered in Copenhagen were incredible, and will take you from now through Spring in comfort and elegance, yet in fabrics that are comfortable to wear and styles that are re­imagined classics.

Mass Merchandisers

You’re going to want a pair of booties for Fall, and this year the ones to get are by Zara. They are elastic, which means they hug your feet, and they have a nice little block heel that is just enough to look good without any fatigue even if you wear them all day. At about $60 a pair, get one in black and one in saddle and you’ll be set for the season.

The rayon tee­shirts at Target are spectacular and they are what I’m replacing my summer whites with; the black is midnight perfect and looks great over my black sequined pants (White House/Black Market) and over my gray slack (Banana Republic). Both say Fall, yet feel terrific even on a hot Tucson night.

H&M has a lot of terrific new stuff, but it’s their basics that make them great Fall purchases. Check out the suit pants, and the great ballerina­length skirts. Timeless pieces that are so inexpensive, you can splurge on several.

Pieces to Purchase

Whether you call them shawls or ruanas or ponchos, you’ll find these open, sweater­knit cover­ups at every price point this Fall. I like the open­sided version with fringe, but there’s a style and texture to suit every taste, so shop around. I’ve seen them for as little as $19.99 (Forever 21) and as much as $1,999 (handknit cashmere on Etsy). The advantage of these open form sweaters is obvious ­ they glide over anything. You’ll be surprised at what a great finishing look they bring to any outfit.

Keep Those Whites Bright

Do not retire your whites, at least not the season­less ones! But cast a critical eye on them and be sure they are neither graying nor yellowing after a summer’s washing (or dry cleaning) and wear. Yellow is removable with sunshine; wash your whites and get them outside in full sun to dry. If your whites have grayed, try gently washing with borax in hot water (or the hottest the fabric can stand). Deodorants and antiperspirants can discolor whites; these stains are best removed with baking soda and peroxide applied with a toothbrush. Then rinse in cool water.

About the Author:
Karen R. Smith is an award-winning journalist and publicist. Her book, "Stylishly Sexy" is available online and she takes private style clients throughout Arizona and across the country. Visit her at www.stylesmithtransformations.com