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  • Elle Sten

I'm a size 12 budget conscious fashionista mom. Here's what I'm wearing in September.

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

5 *accessible* and budget-friendly fashion tips for transitioning your wardrobe from summer to fall.

1. Deliberate dress silhouettes

Compromise in either length or sleeves to phase out summer sun dresses. Where I live it'll be warm until fall is well underway, so adding a little length and/or some sleeves allows me to stay cool for fall gatherings without showing up looking like I'm dressed for a luau. While a sleeveless maxi dress can be appropriate this time of year, I'm partial to a midi length flowy sleeved dress. As the nature of events shifts from casual summer get togethers to a little more formal for fall, I reach for this dress more than any other piece in my closet.

*Alternatively*, rompers and jumpsuits are a great sundress transition. if you love the sleeveless look but want to feel more in place this time of year, the pants or shorts on the jumpsuit make it a great hybrid piece.

2. Fall accents for outfits

One way to transition your more summery pieces into fall is by pairing them with fall-focused accents. Look for warmer tones, as you accessorize. I especially love the color "cognac", a warm orangey brown.

One of my more summery dresses in color and length is a piece I like to extend the wear life of by adding a wide brim hat and cognac colored crossbody. Though this is a coastal looking dress, it has sleeves and by pairing warm tan colored accessories I can wear it later in the year than I typically would with other summer frocks.

Here, I dress up a summery graphic tee by pairing it with a burnt sienna skirt. This I would wear to outdoor markets or a day of errands. Chunky boots and my go-to crossbody make it an excellent seasonal shift outfit.

3. Fabrics

This time of year I start to phase out my gauze and more sheer things like lace and mesh and trade up to thicker sturdier fabric. I love chambray best of all, the color works for either season, yet being thicker makes it nice for *falling* summer temps. It is timeless and versatile, so investing in some chambray is a worthy buy for year after year seasonal shift wearing.

Pro tip: Check the men's section of the thrift store! Chambray is a lovely sturdy fabric for wearing as a long "shacket". I've also seen nice tutorials to transform a men's chambray shirt into a skirt. Here, I swiped my husband's chambray shirt to bring my outfit together.

Linen as well is something I'm searching for this time of year. Another woven cotton material that is going to be a little thicker but still breathable and appropriate for outdoor activities.

4. Denim swaps

Mid August I begin to trade my denim shorts and cut-offs for thicker chinos. Look for linen blends without fraying, and good, sturdy pockets are a must.

I'm also leaving my lighter colored jeans and holey-jeans in true Summer. I'm grabbing my medium wash jeans, hole-free pairs in a variety of fits and rises as occasions dictate. For frayed pieces, cuffing the ends is a nice disguise to extend the wear time of your denim.

5. Patterns and prints


Switching out my tropical florals and "ditzy" floral patterns in summer, I'm looking to add wildflower prints in warmer tones. I use nature as my guide looking at the poppies, wild sunflowers, dandelions, and the flowers growing roadside.

I set aside my tropical leaves patterned tops and dresses in favor of sunflowers. Unless of course you live in a year-round tropical area where resort wear fits any season, this is a quick and simple rotation to make.


Gingham is my favorite transitional print as a pre-cursor to plaid and buffalo check. Reminiscent of picnic blankets and table cloths, wearing this feels like an homage as some of my favorite outdoor summer eating activities as they wrap up. Donning this print one last time celebrates the ending of the season before I go for thicker lines and squares in my prints.

Pieces to add:

Whether hunting in the thrift store, traditional clothing store, or your own closet these are some timeless pieces to grab ahead of Fall:


Sturdy and a dressier shorts option.

Banana factory has been my go-to for chinos and "preppier" pieces. Their family of brands has one of the best loyalty programs, and amazing sales.

Utility jacket

Timeless and perfect for adding a light jacket to an outfit when the weather calls for layers.

Peasant top

Flowy but longer sleeves, perfect for occasions that call for "jeans and a nice top" this time of year.

Fall dress

Look for silhouettes, sleeves, and styles that suit you. Sticking with classic silhouettes and avoiding fast trends will make this wardrobe staple an investment piece to rock year after year as the sun sets on summer.

Khaki/ "safari" piece

From tops, to skirts, dresses and jackets this lovely color pairs with so many things and fits many occasions. Indoor or outdoor, khaki is my go-to for September in a variety of ways. I especially love an a-line skirt with warm buttons, I find this one to be particularly flattering.

Color palette as your guide:

These are perfect colors to transition into fall with. I use these as a base to create my outfits, and to pull together coordinated looks. If you're staring at your closet with nothing to wear, a color palette can be some nice inspiration for cultivating outfits.

Pro tip: Having a color palette saved in your phone can help draw your eye towards September appropriate pieces when shopping the chaotic racks of bargain stores (hello TJ Maxx) or thrift shops.

For try-on and styling view here:

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