Much fuss is made in the mainstream news media regarding political correctness, but few fashion journalists are intrepid enough to tackle the glaring issue of seasonal correctness. Although the old-school rules like wearing white only between the Memorial and Labor Day holidays have fallen by the wayside like so much fashion roadkill, a certain amount of attention has to be paid toward keeping your attire â€œseasonally correctâ€. [I myself never put much stock in the summer white rule. As a Southern Californian at heart, regardless of where I am, I still wear white well into the fall or at least until I break out the winter whites. As a practicing Catholic, I always start wearing white at Easter, regardless of how early that date falls before Memorial Day.]
When I first moved to the East Coast to attend Boston University, I couldn’t wait to don the preppy Polo by Ralph Lauren sweaters and Brooks Brothers duffle coats I had seen on all the happy students sitting on rolling lawns in all the college marketing materials. To this day, I still like to break out my favorite fall items right after Labor Day. In fact, Labor Day really is truly a day of labor for me – the extremely hard manual labor of converting my closet. As fashion rules evolve – or is that dissolve – and global warming almost guarantees us an Indian Summer in all parts of the US, the idea of putting all of our spring and summer wardrobes into long term storage seems impractical.
However, I feel strongly that certain rules still apply. That glorious white Catherine Maladrino backless halter dress in eyelet just seems so wrong – even just one day after Labor Day. For the Fashion crowd, â€œBack to Schoolâ€ means being armed for the mortal combat that is Fashion Week in New York. Editors have been planning since February when we were reviewing the fall fashion shows but were also making mental notes about what we planned to buy – and borrow. Pre-Fall merchandise started hitting stores and boutiques in June. Surf and sand is lovely, but a rigorous schedule of summer shopping ensures that you’re not scrambling for something to wear the first week of September.
Not to worry though if you were just laying around some summer playground soaking up the sun and completely forgot to shop for fall’s must-have items. I have prepared a mini cheat sheet shopping list for you that hits the major early fall trends and will ensure that you have enough â€œseasonally correctâ€ items to get through the early days of fall. With just a few new dresses and shoes, you’ll look and feel â€œjust rightâ€ regardless of the weather.
It’s time to put away those late summer cocktail dresses in whites, lights, and pastels. Yes – you can dig under your bed, climb into the top of your closet, call your dry cleaner/off-season storage, or trudge out to the fashion graveyard that is your rented storage unit (unless, of course, you are blessed with the type of walk-in closet that comes with an echo) and drag out your trusty Givenchy for Audrey Hepburn knock-off, but that would be like showing up at school with a bright shiny Pee-Chee folder. Don’t you want to show up with this season’s must-have Trapper Keeper?
The must-have little black cocktail dress of the season is – and absolutely everyone in fashion agrees – the Prada Guipure lace dress. Perfect for the transition to fall, it is indeed a long sleeved black cocktail dress, but it’s light and airy and will show off your tan to perfection. If you can’t bear to dive right back into black so early in the season, opt for the camel, grey or gold color ways. If you want something a little less revealing that will also carry you well into fall and early winter, opt for one – or three – of the divinely detailed geometrically gifted Balenciaga dresses. With sleeves or without, you will look absolutely correct and oh-so-chic.
Your perfect French pedicure may still be fresh for Labor Day weekend, ladies, but it’s time to cover up those little piggies, no matter how cute they look. Not ready to be bound to the knee in high boots? Fear not, Azzedine Alaia to the rescue. His suede lace round-toe high-heeled pumps are perfect for this time of year. Not ready to give up your summer gladiator sandal addiction? Then, beg, borrow, or steal your way to the peep-toed, lace up version; they are nearly impossible to find. The low-bootie is the perfect transition toward the higher boots you will need to be sporting in late fall and winter. Christian Louboutin’s Armadillo pleated leather bootie or the lace-up bootie in suede and leather will be the ideal accent to the clean lines of your new Balenciaga dress.
Say good bye to summer. It’s time to buckle down to the serious work of sporting fall fashion. With these basic items in your wardrobe, you’ll be all set to hit the town at night – or shop for those other must-have fall items during the day – in unquestionably â€œseasonally correctâ€ style.
1. Prada Fall 2008 RTW
2. Prada Fall 2008 RTW
3. Balenciaga Fall 2008 RTW
4. Balenciaga Fall 2008 RTW
5. Azzedine Alaia Lace Pumps
6. Azzedine Alaia Lace-Ups
7. Christian Louboutin Armadillo Pleated Leather Bootie
8. Christian Louboutin Lace-Up Bootie
Image Layout: Jessica Piraro