The first day of autumn is growing near, yet it doesn’t feel much different here in San Antonio.

If you’re dying to upgrade your wardrobe with fall items, but don’t want to be sweltering in the sun, you need transitional pieces. Pieces that aren’t exactly a cold-weather coat but also aren’t your white terry cloth shorts, either. Here are four items (frequent readers will notice that I like the number four) that will get your closet fall-weather ready for when the season actually comes around.

These have been tailored for college students. All stores mentioned are available online or in the La Cantera / The Rim shopping centers, a short distance from the UTSA main campus.

Ankle Booties

Put away your strappy sandals and open-toed flats, autumn is the season of the boot. Comfortable enough to walk around on campus but dressy enough to wear on an evening out, ankle booties are a dream come true for dressing in this awkward transitional weather.

Ankle booties in black or brown go well with a variety of pieces you may already own, like your denim shorts and miniskirts. Suede material is very “in” this fall, so consider searching for a pair made out of it. My tip? Pair your shoes with your favorite summer sundress. The combination of the breezy dress material and the grounded look of suede shoes is one that is worth a try.

For shoes, you can’t go wrong with zappos.com. They specialize in shoes, but sell other pieces like party dresses and outerwear. Stores like Forever 21 and H&M also have booties; keep an eye out for them as the end of September rolls around.

Blazers

For freezing cold classrooms and unpredictably windy days, you may be tempted to grab a hoodie. However, to dress up otherwise casual looks, a blazer is better than a cardigan or fleece any day. It can also serve double-duty and be used during job interviews.

The traditional blazer is black, but don’t be afraid to pair one in a grey or navy blue as alternatives to the classic neutral. Blazers look unexpected with a plain t-shirt, and can dress down for daytime occasions. Try one with statement sneakers (an essential I have mentioned before) for a mix of edgy and professional that stands out in a crowd.

Zara is a great place to find good blazers at a reasonable price. You can find less expensive alternatives at other stores, but a good blazer is worth spending money on because it can be used for many outfits and occasions.

Hats

They protect your face from the sun, they hide you if you’re having an unfortunate hair day, and they’re always trendy in the fall what can’t a hat do for you? Autumn is the season for experimentation with headwear, and with so many types of hats available, a bit of shopping will lead you to the perfect one.

There are three main materials that transitional hats come in: felt, straw, and knit fabric. Felt hats will be your boaters, your Panama hats, and your fedoras (be careful with fedoras: they have a reputation). Straw is closer to summer than it is to fall, which may be perfect if you have a breezier or bohemian personal style. Knits are your beanies, good for lazy days and those who prefer their looks to be more relaxed. Try on a few and see what suits you.

Urban Outfitters is a great place to get a variety of hats. If you find the store lacking, be sure to check out their website. As the weather cools down, check other stores for more options.

Dark Lipstick

Your look does not end with your closet. Makeup can be the finishing touch to an ensemble that is missing something. Fall is the perfect season to experiment with makeup looks that you might not have considered previously.

Dark colors can be a bit unforgiving, if you make errors, so don’t forget to use a lip liner. Apply either a clear or a coordinating color, to make your lipstick last through eating in the JPL and in-between classes. Matte colors look patchy if your lips are dry, so exfoliate them with a soft toothbrush first. If you’re afraid to take the plunge directly into dark lipstick, try a dark gloss instead.

Sephora is makeup headquarters at La Cantera, but they specialize in mid-to-upper end brands and products, which can be expensive for some college budgets. Try Ulta for affordable products. Ulta is located in The Rim Shopping Center, a short drive from La Cantera.

These four items are key pieces that will help you create styles to keep you cool and looking fresh as Texas catches up to the seasons. Do you have any tips that get you through these weird transitional days? Let me know by e-mailing web@paisano-online.com.

-Sonia

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