August is the month for rock-bottom summer markdowns and the first racks of winter-fall items. It's the swing-point when suddenly the season shifts; a filmy top looks past its peak, but we may not be in the mood for heavier clothes when it's still sweltering.
My Parisienne GF Huguette is visiting. Years ago, she taught me to grab beguiling pieces now, while stock is fresh and few (in this part of North America) are yet concerned with staying warm. In bleak March, your cerise cardi or ochre jacket will lift your spirits, and just try to find one then.
Here are a few things to get a jump on the season, in the spirit of her advice.
Red Fendi Wood Ruffle Detail dress from My Theresa, $846. The perfection of this dress, worn with black tights, and pumps or leopard flats, mists my eyes.
J. Crew cashmere shell in Hydrangea, a gorgeous blue, for $90. Soulful cashmere lifts a black jacket from the gloom and won't be too warm in well-heated buildings.
Marc by Marc Jacob's wool/cashmere Maxine Sweater delivers cheek via a plaid peplum below the black body and a close fit.
The delightful intersection of jacket and sweater; $328 at Saks Fifth Avenue.
J. Crew velvet Eden jacket, $148, in copper. This rich fabric and colour compliment one another. Surprisingly neutral, bound to sell out.
Sonia by Sonia Rykiel Military Coat is strict but not serious, with precise purple facing on charcoal wool. $755 from Net-a-porter (and even now only available there in 6 and 8). I'm showing it as a suggestion for winter coats that are not dark and drab.
Speigel, the reasonably-priced catalog company, offer shapely stretch sateen separates, including this sharp deep violet jacket, $69, as part of the Signature Stretch Sateen Collection.
I like the wide lapel and flared sleeve, smart cross-seasonal wear that goes right through winter with a wool shell beneath. They also offer a 25" pencil skirt in this colour (in both Misses and Womens' sizes) for a mere $39.
Fall earrings: Beth Orduna Multi-Ring Earrings with Tortoise Loop; sterling, brass and tortoise shell, $122 from Twist.
If you see what you love, buy now. This fall will be a wobbly season; the first of inventory reductions should be apparent on shelves as orders finally catch up with the economy. Expect fewer 66%-plus markdowns, but less choice, too.