Gretchen Bell
 
 
    
 
Denim jacket and skirt: Maison Jules from Macy's; turtleneck: Merona from Target; scarf and hat: BP from Nordstrom (Christopher Bell)
 
 

 
Maison Jules cardigan and dress from Macy's (Christopher Bell)
 
 

Leaves are changing colors, mornings are getting cooler and you've probably already packed away your white summer dresses and open-toe sandals. But after the long, cold winter last year, it's understandable you want to keep that summer feeling going as long as possible! So how do we make the transition from summer to fall/winter while still keeping warm and looking stylish?

Flowers are a great way to start. Floral trends are just as huge for fall as they were for summer, so you can easily transition those summer pieces into your fall wardrobe. Turtlenecks are super popular this fall, so try a turtleneck in a dark shade like black, burgundy, evergreen or navy with a floral skirt or under a floral dress with a pair of boots. Or try belting a cabled cardigan over your favorite floral dress.

Layer up your denim. Many of you already own a denim jacket or a great pair of white jeans, and both of these are still great for fall. I love layering denim jackets underneath winter jackets when I am styling photo shoots. Not only does it give you a layer of warmth, but it adds a lived-in look to whatever you are wearing. Another look I love is to add a faux fur collar or textured scarf at the neck of a denim jacket; this dresses it up a little, but keeps you from looking too serious in a dressed-up look. And long gone are the days of putting away white after Labor Day -- you can wear white all winter long! Try wearing your white jeans with an oversized ivory-colored sweater. You could even add some black boots and a black coat over the top if you are feeling a little too out of place.

Boots. Boots. Boots. I can't say it enough: If you don't own at least two or three pairs of boots, you need to get online and order a pair. Remember, Zappos ships and returns for free to anywhere! Booties are the one item that will keep you looking current and modern this fall, and they are the ultimate transition piece for all your summer clothes. Booties also stay practical in the winter, when heels are ridiculous for trotting around in the snow. Tall, flat riding boots are also a crucial boot to own in colder temps, and they help keep your legs warm with a pair of tights underneath. Both boot versions are perfect to wear with summer skirts, dresses and cropped pants for fall. Adding boots and tights to a summer look is sometimes all you need to keep wearing those pieces a little bit longer.

Add texture. One of the easiest ways to transition your summer clothes to fall is to add texture. Try layering your summer tops with a tweed skirt or pant, then add a textured scarf and a cable-knit sweater or a great animal print jacket. The more textures in your outfit, the more interesting it becomes. Think tweeds, plaids, fur (or preferably, faux fur), leather, patent, cable-knit or jeweled accents -- a few of those accents layered with your summer pieces will transform your outfit.

Try pants under a dress. Yes, you heard me right. This trend is huge for fall and winter and can look less crazy that it sounds, plus you get the extra layer of warmth for North Dakota's freezing winters! The easiest way to pull this off is to wear a pair of skinny-leg pants, which is a bonus for all of us not so comfortable in skinny legs otherwise! Try a skinny pant under a slightly A-line skirt, then add your booties and a great sweater or a blouse and a jacket. This is a great way to keep wearing those skirts and dresses you loved for summer and aren't quite prepared to pack away yet.

Opt for pastels. Sometimes pastels can seem out of place during the fall and winter months, but don't let go of them quite yet. Pastels are great when worn with the same color in a rich, dark shade: think mint-green pastel with a dark evergreen or pastel pink with burgundy. These combinations look gorgeous and fresh for fall. Also consider mixing your summer pastels with neutrals like camel and grey -- just the hint of color you need to keep from looking too boring.

Give yourself a little color. I work with tons of makeup artists every day, and one of the easiest ways to keep that summer feeling alive is by adding a little color. If you start feeling pale and tired in the winter, try a tanning lotion or spray tan. Technology has come a long way toward making a fake tan affordable, easy and realistic. Granted, you don't want to look like you flew to the Bahamas for the weekend, but adding a little color can make you feel and look great. Try a spray tan, like VersaSpa at a tanning salon, or a tanning lotion such as Sublime Bronze from Loréal, Tan Towel, Clarins or St. Tropez. For those who are nervous about an all-over tan, bronzer is great to give your face just a little color during the winter.

Remember, to get as much mileage out of the clothes you already have, you sometimes need to think outside of the box. Invite a friend over and get a fresh perspective on the clothes you already own. With a little style savvy and an open mind, you might find you already have a whole wardrobe of fall options!



 
Gretchen Bell, a Bismarck native, now resides in Seattle, Washington. Bell works as a stylist and can be found at www.gretchenbell.com.