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How to Style a Summer Dress for Fall

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Well, ladies, it’s about that time. Pumpkin spice latte talk is all over social media, pools are closing up for the season and worst of all, we’re expected to wear – ugh – pants.

Unless, of course, you’ve cracked the code to making a summery little number work for fall weather. It’s easy, really. It all comes down to the art of layering. Add some tights, top it all off with a hot jacket, swap your sandals for booties and you’re good to go. Let’s take five standard summer dress styles and make them work for the fall with the addition of a few items.

Tee shirt dress: A classic tee shirt dress is easy, breezy and super casual. 100% summer, right? Not necessarily. Try pairing one with an oversized, lightweight cardigan, some black leggings (the tee shirt shape of the dress will make it look like a tunic over the leggings instead of a dress) and some flat black moto booties for a look that says “I’m sort of mourning the loss of summer, but I look damn good anyway.”

Floral sundress: Colorful florals are sort of what summer style is all about. You can easily counteract all that by adding a tough-girl moto on top. The contrast of the super feminine florals with the edgy shape and metallic accents of a moto jacket is our perfection. As for footwear, you have some options: Keep it looking tough by adding combat boots or go more feminine with some knee-high boots.

Maxi dress: You wear can basically any jacket over your maxi as long as you abide by this rule of thumb: Keep your jacket cropped and fitted. Wearing a longer or looser jacket is just too much fabric when your dress is already long. Alternatively, top off your maxi with a lightweight sweater for a cool boho look. Add some high-heeled boots and you’re golden.

Lacey white dress: Add some black tights, black pumps and, if you’re so inclined, a black boyfriend blazer. This chic look is minimal yet creative, ethereal yet stark. It would look amazing for a nice dinner out, maybe even a date. And yes you can wear white after Labor Day.

Shift dress: Belt your shift dress, giving it a little shape and shortening it a bit, then add some black tights and equestrian boots to add that touch of fall to the outfit. You can round it out by adding a long trench coat. So sophisticated and colorful. A perfect look for your internship.

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  • COLLEGECANDY Writer
    I'm a Chicago-based writer and graduate of the Medill School of Journalism who has written for sites like Cosmopolitan.com, Seventeen.com, MarieClaire.com, Glamour.com, Parents.com, Racked, Thrillist and The Huffington Post.