The Issue with September

By Revekah Echols

When fall starts rolling out in stores in July

Our appetites have long been whetted with the months of runway images, lookbook teasers and presales. And when the merchandise finally starts arriving, we are caught in the particularly vulnerable position of living in a 95-square-mile sauna, whose only brief escapes come in the form of swimming pools and ice cream. Many of us simply resort to leaving altogether. Yet when the sweaters, shearling and worsted wool in windowpane plaid beckon, we come. Fall fashion holds the promise that relief and comfort (probably in the form of cashmere) are near.

So by the end of August, we have already built a small stockpile of cable knit sweaters, gabardine dresses and leather leggings, but the oppressive, mocking, unrelenting heat makes us want to forsake hope that the leaves will actually turn, that the evenings will require a pashmina, that we will indeed wear the cropped shearling bomber that has been waiting patiently with tags since June.

But in truth, fall clothing does not have to be all or nothing. There are meandering ways and tricks to enjoy cold weather fashion even when the temperature does not cooperate (however, you will find no tricks here for how to wear a floor-length sable coat in July). The fashion industry does not support a “buy now, wear now” approach, where things roll out to stores in stages from light to heavy, as the season progresses. However, there are ways to strategize your own fall shopping, such as finding lightweight layering pieces as well as casual items first and then adding outerwear, dresses and sweaters as the temperature drops. Another way to enjoy the season before the Texas weather cooperates is to incorporate fall shoes and accessories into your existing summer mix. Try a perforated leather ankle boot with a pair of cut-off denim shorts or an oversized jewel-toned earring with a white linen button-down. In addition, ditch the straw bag and introduce your fall handbags this month. It will pair well with lightweight fabrics and may provide a point of contrast to your look. And, since the sun is still very strong, buy a new wool felt hat from your favorite hat designer and swap from the Panama straw that you’ve been wearing since March.

The weather may not be quite forgiving enough for a chunky alpaca funnel-neck popover, but it will start cooling off enough to wear denim, and the current high-waisted, wide-leg styles are perfect to wear with short-sleeved, boxy crop tees and closed-toe flats. This in between time is also a great opportunity to wear the sleeveless turtleneck, beloved among women and yet quixotic in nature (why keep your neck warm when your arms will be cold?) with white jeans and the on-trend pointed toe, kitten-heel mule. Truly, even the lightest layering like a cropped sweatshirt over a sundress or a featherweight duster to wear in the evenings will allow the momentum to keep driving, even if at a crawling pace.

At some point, as history shows every year, we do arrive at cooler temperatures and we make our way through all the wonderful silhouettes and fabrications that the season offers. Until then, if I see you pushing through the heat in a 12-ply cashmere sweater and suede leggings, I will offer you a Gatorade, a seat inside and a deep, heartfelt salute.