How to Stretch Your Summer Wardrobe Into Fall

The siren call of fall can bring out the urge to shop for a brand-new wardrobe. In these budget-conscious, carbon footprint-aware times, however, it's more important than ever to get the most bang for your buck. Recycling and reinventing hot-weather staples not only stretches your dollars, it expands your wardrobe without overfilling your closet. Even when the weather gets chilly, you can still flaunt your favorite sundresses and sandals.

Layer It

Simply add a few extra layers to your favorite summer pieces to create a whole new wardrobe. This is the key to transitioning from season to season, says Mar Yvette, a stylist based in Los Angeles. It's as effortless as throwing a cardigan over a silk tank. For this fall season, the fashion bibles are touting the anorak, which makes a great topper over a flirty dress. Of course, a tough leather jacket is classic rock 'n' roll sexy, and a sharp blazer always pulls together a look. 

Get the Basics: cardigan, tank, flirty dress, anorak, leather jacket, blazer             

Texturize It
Nothing says autumn like knits and nubby, cozy fabrics. Yet this is not the time to bulk up as if you're developing a thick coat and preparing to hibernate. Instead, keep sweaters lightweight; stick to thinly spun wools, cashmere and cotton. The soft knit you threw on to shield yourself against the movie theater’s blasting air conditioner can do double duty in cooler months.

Get the Basics: knits, cashmere sweater, wool sweater

Rethink It
Summer pieces can take on a new lease in fashion life if you remember that there's no such thing as "seasonally appropriate." Anything goes! Today, everyone knows that banishing your summer whites to the back of your closet is so old-school. A pair of white jeans or a sparkling white tank works just as well in cooler months. And while floral patterns are typically the hallmarks of spring, you can keep your flower power going strong in the fall too. Whether covered in bold petal prints or teensy blossoms, floral sundresses, maxi dresses, sweet blouses and flowing skirts are all viable in autumn -- as long as you pair them with pieces that balance them out for the season. Think sweaters, boots and jackets. And those bold, bright colors you wore in summer won't blind you if you temper them with more somber, seasonal blacks, browns, grays and navy blues. 

Get the Basics: sundress, maxi dress, blouse, skirt, brights, whites

Accessorize It
Yvette is a fan of pairing chic leather boots with summer skirts. Sandals and chunky wedges can literally carry you into fall, provided you first slip on a pair of textured hosiery. If you're too timid to try this open-toed look, start more subtly with your peep-toe pumps. Final step: Trade in July’s thin neck scarf for a more substantial wrap.  

Get the Basics: boots, sandals, tights, wrap