The sun was streaming down today and the skies were a clear, bright blue. Two weeks ago, I would have looked out my window to see the light fall across the sidewalk and automatically reached for a sundress and my favorite wedge sandals. But today, the light looked different and I knew what the weather was telling me -- put away the summer clothes, pull out the boots, stop avoiding, it's autumn.
I love fall. It's just the transition from deliriously hot weather peppered with air conditioning to cool, then colder weather steamed up by the furnace that I don't love. While cozy tights and cardigans are staples of my winter wardrobe, I greet them apprehensively, showing my bare toes and arms as long as I possibly can into September and even October.
But this year? This year I want to strip the sadness out of the change in season. I am sure there is a spiritual and emotional metaphor for resisting change until the last minute. I will ponder that in a few months when I am two-feet deep in shoveled snow. For now, I'd like to focus on how to make the woolly, nubby, layered clothing I'm quickly needing into a wardrobe I am happy to line my closet with, into blissful ways to dress my body. When it comes to fall clothing, I will fake the happy until I make the happy.
In celebration of cooler days, here is sunshine in the form of affordable accessories. Soothe your budget, style and seasonal irritation with these pretty little ways to transition you and the clothes you already have in storage.
Infinity scarf in Honeygold (by BabersOnEtsy, $25)
I was hesitant to swathe myself in maize, thinking that it might wash out my already super-fair skin or make me look like I'm just this side of a hangover. But I put it on and realized that it made all the other colors in my wardrobe -- lots of charcoal grays, some deep blues, navy -- look richer. I bought a cardigan in this shade and can't stop throwing it over those summer dresses and maxi skirts I'm hanging on to, and I know it will make the time between now and blizzardy mayhem easier for me to autumn-ize the corduroy pencil skirts and fancy tanks alike. But if you are just looking for an accessory fix, this infinity scarf is a perfect fit -- not too warm or weighty (made of jersey knit) but still lovely-hued and happy. I like the buttons here and I'd throw it on over a fitted blazer, knit dress or with a lightweight long-sleeved tee and jeans. No other jewelry is really necessary.
Suede cut-out belt (Merona at Target, $19.99)
I may have somewhere in the range of 14-23 belts in a basket on my dresser right now. I love colorful, patterned, crazy-loo textured belts that are either super-skinny (classy!) or really wide (so boho!). I wear them over my favorite cashmere sweater dress so people don't realize I have it on five days in a row. I wrap them around cardigans (I know! enough with the cardigans!) to switch up my look, at the waist of skirts, to cinch in anything boxy and to pull together any outfit that looks...well, kind of untucked. I wear a belt every time I put on jeans and have mastered the art of fancy knots (thanks to Susan). I love the sumptuous, swoony color and feel of this belt and would yank it in tight with a dress or hang it at my hips with slim pants and tailored top. The cut-outs will give interest and texture to any outfit you dread or is just dreadfully boring.
Bubble necklace (by Imperfectly Perfect for $14.99)
If you're bold enough to go honeygold, get really rebellious and try on some chartreuse for fall. This bubble necklace will be like tiny flecks of unnatural light glowing around your aboslutely-natural complexion. No? It will at least add an unexpected pop of color to whatever you're wearing. After coveting the J Crew version of this necklace, I nabbed two of these for a fraction of the cost. I wore the red with every nautical thing in my closet and the turquoise with everything else. Now I'm adding the chartreuse to spice up my cardies and boat-necks and sweater dresses in blues and pinks. If you can't handle near-neon, opt for one of the ten still-lovely other colors (the green! and navy! and even black!). I promise you will wear it every day until it's time to switch out closets again.
Bejeweled statement ring (rhinestone dome ring at Forever 21, $5.80)
Did you fall in love with the brightly colored jeans and color-blocked tops for summer? Don't let that love of crayon-y clothes fade just because the weather's changing. Add a bit of brightness to your autumn and winter outfits with a big old funky ring. Don't worry about the "jewels" looking fake or the design being ostentaceous. Choose a color or design that yells at you to SMILE! And BE HAPPY, DAMMIT! Then do that while you are gripping the steering wheel for dear life while you're ten minutes late getting the kids to ice-skating practice, while you are carefully putting together non-candy Halloween goodie bags for the class, or (God love you) while you are glugging the booze into hot apple cider. Forever21 is the place to stock up on almost-too-gawdy accessories. And since they are usually only about $6 each, you can toss them when you get tired of it or you realize your finger has gone from slightly green to falling off.
Sexy little envelope clutch (by Kirna Zabete for Target, $29.99)
If I am going to pull out my leather jacket, I may as well pretend I'm making a backstage costume change, right? Rocker-up your cool-weather coats and jackets with a clutch full of attitude. I brought my Target cart to a complete halt when I saw this lipstick-red faux patent clutch with the big "mwah" lips clasp made out of some kind of also-faux rhinestones. I always carry a clutch when I go out to dinner with the Not Boyfriend or meet a lady-friend for a cocktail. But I am also not afraid to bag the giant wallet, zillions of receipts, coupon organizer and emergency concealer in my regular purse and throw my phone, ID and a debit card into a clutch like this when I head over to after-school pick-up. If you have to shiver on the playground, why not have some sassy, shiny lips smiling up from your grasp while you do?
Magenta ombre tights (by xslik, $40)
I make a big ritual out of taking my boots to the cobbler and getting them all prepped and primped and perky for the winter months. I am not ready for that ritual. I repeat: Boots will wait another week...or month. For now, I am taking the first step of pulling out the lightweight tights (cable knits would be a bit much for me right now) that remind me of popsicles and windowbox flowers and the obnoxious Lady Gaga lipstick I wore to every event I attended this summer. For that, aren't these ombre tights a delicious choice? The magenta is stunning and the green is to-die. This might be a bit of an investment at $40, but if your gams are happy, I bet your brain will be, too.
What accessories help you stay happy during the cold-weather closet switch? Are there any fabulous finds we're missing?
Back to You is a month-long project designed by Meagan Francis of The Happiest Mom and me to help moms remember to take care of ourselves during the busy back-to-school season. We will have great tips, giveaways, challenges and accessible activities to help you feel healthier, happier, gorgeous and even more fabulous.