Shoulder Season Dressing

I’m sure everyone is ready to for cooler temperatures. Alexandria’s fall and springs are some of the most challenging times to dress. We’re antsy to move into our fall clothes but with temperatures in the 90s, who’s reaching for anything except shorts and t-shirts still? Shoulder season dressing is critical to managing your wardrobe. When I am shopping for this time of year, I think around winter – transitioning in and transitioning out. I call this value engineering and keeps clothing choices not so specific to the hard definitions around fall and spring. The pieces I am about to show you will work in October but will also help you transition into spring. In theory, this should substantiate some of the pricier pieces – remember quality over quantity. Are you ready? Here’s a crash course in what you may be missing on the racks, why it’s important, and how I see it converting into fall and out of winter.



Item #1 Skirts

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, have you added a skirt to your wardrobe this fall? Skirts are my secret sauce (did you read the piece on the Dominic Twill from Tibi?!). I love them because they can be converted easily into what you need them to be. I kid you not and when I get into analyzing closets, women are missing a skirt like the Tulip Skirt from Vince (yes, this skirt deserves another shout out!). Not only is this skirt a bridge essential from getting in and out of winter, but it’s also the magical element you need when an invitation to a party is on your calendar with some sort of interesting attire description.

I have placed The Tulip Skirt in two wardrobes in the last couple of weeks. One dedicated specifically for work and the other for a fall rustic wedding. Without the critical eye of a stylist, this skirt can be perceived as too special because of the fabric. While it does read more elevated by conventional standards, this skirt can be worn with a white t-shirt, a leather Moto jacket, and sneakers as easily as it can be worn with a Veronica Beard scuba blazer to the office. Why would I push this skirt into another category? Because inevitably you will get an invite to something that says festive attire or maybe even business formal. Instead of buying another dress, convert the skirt! This skirt will get you anywhere from Creative Black Tie (with a sparkly top and strappy heels) to a tailgate (pair with a sweatshirt and sneakers). If this doesn’t seem possible, we should get together!



Three ways to finish this skirt…


Black silk shirt


Turtleneck bodysuit


Elevated crewneck t-shirt (with denim jacket)



Item #2 The All-In-One

The average shopper doesn’t always assess all the ways a dress can be worn, but a good stylist will vet the dress against the many iterations it can be worn. In my opinion, the Scout Tie Dress by Sea NY was designed for an Alexandria lifestyle. What I obviously love is that it is a skirt that is already attached to the shirt! It’s already been figured out so all you need to do is finish the outfit off with accessories or a jacket. Shown here with Marion Parke animal print heels, but this dress yearns for black booties and a denim jacket too. Nothing could be more ideal than one base element to wear under any number of jackets…or even sweaters. And come spring, you are ready for the weather by simply adding a new spring sweater, a print jacket or some fun new Golden Goose. What I teach my clients is the following – What to Buy, When To Buy, What to Wear, When to Wear – and become valuable to the bottom line because they learn to get more out of their purchases.



Three things I would wear with this dress…



Boxy cardigan


Cargo jacket


Sweater coat



Item #3  The Piece De Resistance

A good wardrobe has a small portion of items that grab your attention. There are those among us who pride themselves on being attracted to only the “grab your attention” pieces. I warn against too much of a good thing where these pieces are concerned. Often they can only be worn one way, so it’s good to put them to the test. I posted the incredible Lydia top from Sea NY (at the Hive) on Instagram and showed a few ways to wear it.


Three ideas for this top…


The Scuba Pencil Skirt


The Jenna Cord


Light blue denim


  • The latest from Alicia
Alicia was born and raised in Alexandria, and married a local boy. She is happily married and the mother of two amazing children and one adorable and terribly smart border terrier named Dixie. Alicia has always known she was a creative. She collected editions of Vogue from junior high on and has always loved clothing and design. She studied interior design at VCU and parlayed that degree into commercial interior design, the web design, and ultimately found herself managing a local boutique and serving as a stylist to many Alexandrian women. She now has a successful full-time styling business, The Tulle Box, and makes it her business to make her clients feel great about themselves and the way they look.

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