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Southern Heat Will Not Keep Me From Fall Fashion

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It is still 80-plus degrees in most of the South, and having lived much of my adult life here, I am astounded once again by my resolve to passionately embrace the fall season regardless of the temperature. By Labor Day, there was no doubt for me that summer was a distant memory. NO TURNING BACK. I was ready to move on even though most people around here are still donning shorts and flip flops. Make any sense? Even my favorite Charlotte weather man, Larry Sprinkle, would find the scenario ridiculous.

Picture this. I lower the temperature on the air conditioning, raise the lights and move into my closet, which immediately becomes a treasure trove of wardrobe tools. I am in search of fall fashion staples: those reliable items that have helped to hone my style and nourished my creative concoctions for the last few seasons. I am eager to decide what fall items make it to the "next round" and which formerly prized pieces will be relegated to the back of the closet or even a bolder decree -- the Goodwill box. There is no time to spare. I must be more than prepared for Thanksgiving when it could drop down as low as 70 degrees. But who really cares about the temperature? Coats are a big statement this year, and I AM IN.

First, I drag out my favorites, starting with boots of various pedigrees and personas -- ankle boots, knee boots, stilettos, wedges, gray boots, British tan. The list goes on and on. Next, I pull out an eclectic array of faux fur vests, and then comes the obligatory medley of opaque tights. Needless to say, jackets with a fall-feel are a must in this pivotal point in my seasonal redux. My classic leather moto jacket is definitely a survivor. It's rocker chic and "of the moment." I am falling forward in a fashion frenzy and loving it. I am in a back-to-school mode, and needless to say, I haven't been to class in years except to read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to my granddaughter's kindergarten class.

And here comes my eureka moment. Ignore the seasonal calendar and the weather-related judgments. I finally get it. What I am responding to here is my very own emotional calendar. Yes, an emotional, sentimental chronology. Maybe a result of years of forecasting the season at least a year ahead and tiring of the here and now way too soon. I have been exposed to too many fashion magazines (I call it research) that rush to feature fall collections way too early -- sometimes in July. All enabling those deeply rooted pangs of joy as even the most subtle hints of fall hit the stores and the dot coms. I can't help thinking about my favorite feel-good flannel shirt layered over a long-sleeve tee perfect for apple-picking. Oh goodness. The apples aren't ready in August, are they?

What's a girl to do? Maybe I should wait for the season to come to me. See the leaves change colors in Asheville, North Carolina, while exerting a little self-control. Patience perhaps. After all, clothes don't make the woman. It's what's inside that counts. Really?

Wow, I've worked up a bit of a sweat, but this fur vest looks great on me!

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