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Summer Style Sticks Around?: How to Wear Summer Staples Long After Labor Day

I wish I could live in a perpetual state of summer. Season after season I am tempted to break the infamous “After Labor Day Rules” and wear my white jeans and floral dresses long into the fall. To be fair, my ties to my summer wardrobe come not only from my love of warm weather but also from the countless hours I spend every spring trying to find the most flattering white jeans. If you’re attached to your summer finds like I am, you are in luck! With the help of Tracy Taylor, former Fashion Director of Marie Claire magazine and celebrity stylist, I have compiled the best ways to keep your favorite summer staples – white jeans, floral prints, shorts and sundresses – in style until it’s green out again!  

Floral Prints: Floral patterns have remained a steady summer trend season after season. From hippie-inspired frocks to mini dresses with bold floral prints, the pattern is always popular. 

Update for Fall: “The best way to make a floral print work for fall is to take the freshness of a floral print and make it cozy,” says Taylor. Grab your favorite floral print dress and pair it with a pair of black tights, booties and a longer cardigan. The best cardigan for the job is a neutral-toned cable knit—just make sure it’s not too chunky! To style, Taylor suggests either leaving the cardigan open for a more casual, easy look or belting it at the waist for a more polished look. “Think Sienna Miller when she first came on the scene working her boho chic!” For a more avant-garde feel pair floral with an olive green military style jacket or studded belt.

White Jeans: My personal favorite summer staple is my pair of J Brand white denim jeans. A pair of crisp white jeans with a tailored top has been an iconic summer look since the invention of preppy.

Update for Fall: Taylor thinks the best “way to wear white jeans this fall is to glam (or edge) them up!” Two big trends this fall are over the knee boots and cropped leather jackets. Pair both with white jeans for an instantly sexy going out look—for inspiration think Audrina Patridge clubbing on The Hills! To wear your white jeans to class, try pairing them with a pattern such as leopard print or royal colors like deep navy or maroon. For example, a chic class look could be white jeans, leopard print flats, a fitted long grey tank top and a navy cardigan.

Sundresses: Airy and bright, sundresses are the ever-popular representation of summer fashion. From patterned prints to neon colors, sundresses are the most challenging summer staple to turn fall-ready…but don’t worry, we have you covered!

Update for Fall: When you want to wear a sundress in the fall think accessories! Taylor thinks that the number one accessory you need to make a sundress work for fall is tights: “Textured tights are a huge trend for fall and they come in everything from lace, to textured knits.” My favorite textured tights are Wolford’s Saphir Tights because they are extremely soft and come in a variety of metallic prints. Taylor said in order to make a sundress work you have to incorporate season-specific trends. For example use this season’s “ heeled bootie with embellishments to complete the look.”

Two other important accessories are chunky jewelry and headbands. Chunky jewelry offsets the delicate nature of a summer sundress and allows you to add flair. Thick and bold headbands also offset the ‘cutesy’ element of a sundress by making your look more “Gossip Girl” and less elementary. The last accessory that can help transform your outfit is an earth-toned leather jacket. Again, the leather makes the look less sweet and more seasonably chic.


Shorts: After a cold winter, no fashion move is more satisfying than finally being able to put on your favorite shorts. This summer bold prints and bright colors were a shorts trend that supplemented classic denim. This season it’s trendy to keep your legs on display, you just have to know how.

Update for Fall: Two big runway trends this fall are country casual and retro chic. Taylor suggests using shorts in an outfit to achieve one of these looks. She suggests that you “Make shorts fall appropriate by pairing with a Fair Isle sweater, textured tights and boots to work the country casual trend OR pair them with a school boy blazer and kitten heel for a retro fall look.” Three other must-have items necessary to create a country, cozy and causal look are plaid tops, oversized knits and closed-toe wedges.


Tracey Taylor, Former Fashion Director at Marie Claire magazine



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Photos compiled by Polyvore

Allie Klein is a junior at Washington University in St. Louis. She is majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Writing, Psychology and Public Health. She is a native New Yorker who attended the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan. Allie is the Vice President of Marketing for the Washington University Female Association of Business, a Campus Correspondent for ChickRx.com and is on the philanthropy committee of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She previously interned for Lauren Fishman Events and College Prowler Online. Allie loves writing, playing golf and Central Park. She is a complete reality T.V show junkie who is in love with trying new restaurants and eating Crumbs cupcakes.