Craft & Consumption

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Transitional Fashion Pieces: Summer >> Fall

I wrote a summer/fall piece for Berks County Living magazine about investing in fashion items that get the most bang for your buck. My ideal way to maximize a fashion investment is through transitional pieces that work from season to season. The recommended investments for summer > fall?
  • red blazer (a standout, but classic piece)
  • sheath dress (found a great one in fresh mint from a local retailer)
  • cropped top (I grabbed one last summer and have found it a handy item again and again)
  • printed pencil skirt (updated take on a classic silhouette)

Mark and I worked on this story together, he shot the images like the professional photo genius that he is. We've started to get in a groove of writing/photographing as a team and it's been fun, adding a new dimension to this freelance writing career I've come to love.

The Look: Fun and Financially Responsible Fashion Ideas 

Regardless of the feelings that precede a trip to the store or an online shopping hunt, every shopper wants to feel great about the items she brings home, and ideally those new finds will integrate into her existing wardrobe, not perpetuate the “I’ve got nothing to wear” feeling. The goal of picking up shiny new clothes should be to make your existing wardrobe feel updated and chic — in the current moment.

While a shopper rarely has the money to completely re-do her wardrobe, she can find specific, affordable pieces that will brighten up the basics, speak to current trends, and make existing favorites look even better. In other words, shopping isn’t about lusting after an entirely new wardrobe; it’s about building personal style slowly. This is the key to smart, fashionable and financially responsible purchases. Below are some amazing finds that will add a dose of cool to many a summer ensemble. And better yet, these pieces will transition to fall seamlessly. Spreading the investment out over two seasons? Now that’s shopping with purpose.

Look 1: Pop of Color

This electric red Ella Moss crepe blazer is a standout piece in a basic yet updated silhouette. The relaxed, loose fit feels comfortable and easy to wear, but the blazer cut looks put together and tailored. The red hue adds a pop of color to neutral basics, completely trend-right for summer/fall 2014.

Worn over lace shorts and a loose white tank top, the look is ideal for an alfresco dinner date during warm nights. Paired with black flip-flops and a long gold necklace, the outfit is casual and effortless.
To transition this red crepe blazer to fall, pair it with basic black pants in a tailored or relaxed silhouette (pictured with drawstring silky pants, which are trending in a big way lately). Adding a basic black tee (either cotton or silk) and tried-and-true black flats will make this investment blazer ready for the crisp autumn air.

Ella Moss Crepe Blazer, $205, Bella Jules Boutique, 700 Penn Avenue, West Reading. 610.208.0600,

Look 2: Minty Fresh

This linen sheath dress with metallic gold stripes from BB Dakota hits on so many current trends while still maintaining a classic shape that is timeless (and universally flattering). First off, the back has a gorgeous (and tasteful) cut-out design that shows just a hint of skin. Secondly, it’s striped, and stripes somehow manage to be perpetually on-trend. Lastly, it’s the perfect shade of mint green, one of the most sought-after pastel hues that have graced the pages of fashion magazines for much of 2014.

To make this mint linen sheath work for summer, all it requires is a neutral brown heel or espadrille, a hint of turquoise jewelry, and a gold accent scarf for when the summer nights dip down below 70 degrees.
To transition this key dress to fall, add brown or taupe knee-high boots and a classic trench coat. For extra chilly days, throwing a white cardigan or sweater on top will give this dress even more mileage into the fall season.

BB Dakota Mint Sheath Dress, $99, Bella Jules Boutique, 700 Penn Avenue, West Reading. 610.208.0600, 

Look 3: Crop Top

Since designers launched their spring 2014 collections last fall, celebrities and stylists have been rocking ensembles featuring cropped tops for the better half of the year. While this trend seems highly inaccessible to most (who wants to bare their midriff?), Bella Jules on Penn Avenue managed to stock a very flattering mesh crop top that can actually be worn by those of us who do not lay claim to six-pack abs.
This Bailey 44 perforated top looks very much like leather and is cut to be fitted at the top and roomy at the bottom. It looks incredible when paired with a long, high-waisted maxi skirt for summer. The beauty here is that the high-waisted maxi skirt meets the crop top right around the rib cage area, leaving no midriff to be seen. To make this easy summer look a little more Coachella-inspired, add a big floppy hat and sunglasses.

To transition to fall, add high-waisted bell-bottom jeans, basic black booties with a heel, and an army green jacket. The result is a tough, motorcycle-cool ensemble that utilizes your wardrobe basics in a fresh new way.

Bailey 44 Perforated Crop Tank, $139, Bella Jules Boutique700 Penn Avenue, West Reading. 610.208.0600,

Look 4: Printed Pencil

This embroidered linen pencil skirt incorporates a worldly, funky print on an otherwise traditional, classic silhouette. The pencil skirt is a wardrobe staple precisely because it can be worn in many different settings. It’s ideal for the office because of its conservative length, but sexy enough for date night because it hugs curves in all the right places.

Paired with a basic white tee, turquoise jewelry and brown leather flats, this linen beauty is the perfect companion on summer coffee dates, wine tastings (stick to the white grapes!), or trips to the farmers market.

As the leaves turn orange and red, the linen pencil skirt can be coupled with a basic chambray button-down, a jacket (pictured with a cobalt bracelet-sleeve version, but a denim jacket or navy blazer could do the trick!), and camel booties.  

To find any of these featured items, check out Bella Jules on Penn Avenue in West Reading. Owner Juli Cleaver stocks her store with amazing finds, many of which transcend the seasons.
Printed skirt by Champagne & Strawberry, $79, Bella Jules Boutique700 Penn Avenue, West Reading. 610.208.0600,