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Fashion & Finance: Sayonara summer, hello fall

August 12, 2011

With only less than one month left of the summer season, can you even believe how quickly it went by? Before I’ve had the chance to hit the beach more than once—or rock all of my bright prints, ladylike dresses and sleeveless tops that go so well with a tan—the stores are quickly bringing in next season’s staple items for autumn, and summer clothes are hitting the sale rack. But hey, it’s a great time to stock up on some of the season’s hottest looks if you can find your size.

Look for promo codes on most major department store websites to shop online and take advantage of killer end-of-the-summer steals and deals! I have found some great shoes and dresses for next year, at great prices.

This summer I’ve been planning for my wedding come September, so while I am looking forward to fall, here in Buffalo, N.Y., my friends and neighbors revel in the hot, sunny summer weather and don’t want it to end. Buffalonians drink it in and drag it out, enjoying every day, every hour, every minute of warm sunshine that we get, knowing that the winter here in Western New York can last through April and even May… easy.

While many of us may find it hard to see summer go, I have always taken this time of year to get excited about the fall season, and all of the glorious fashion that comes into stores, inspiring me to create my list of “must-haves” as the weather turns crisp and the leaves take on warm and golden hues. Rich leather, luxurious knits and suede, stylish sweaters, coats and boots. I drool over the fall catalogues that come to my mailbox.

Right about now is a transitional time, to clear out the items that can no longer be worn (you know the traditional “no white after Labor Day” rule!), and start mixing in new seasonal items slowly. It’s also a time to rethink what you wear to work, and dress according to how the weather changes.

Moving forward with this blog, I wanted to address some reader questions about fashion in the workplace, so I took a look on the Accounting Today Facebook wall (Don’t forget to “Like” it!), and saw this question:

Where are the best turtlenecks at a reasonable price? Anyone know?” - Sherry Tomlin Robertson, North Carolina

Here’s the thing about turtlenecks: first, they are a great option for the fall season—they can even transition through winter and into early spring!

Second, ask most style experts or even a seamstress or fashion designer, and they will tell you that women with wider faces should consider saying no to the turtleneck silhouette, as it can make it seem as though their head is bigger than it is! Also, turtlenecks and other high-necked tops are best avoided by those with a short neck, as they can be most unflattering and even uncomfortable for the wearer.

However, third, consider that turtlenecks can be a great style choice for women with narrow shoulders, long necks and oval faces. They can also be a great style choice to show off a great hair cut, beautiful brooch or statement necklace, and can be layered under everything from a structured blazer to a sleeveless or short-sleeved shift dress (this is one way I get additional use out of many of my work dresses. I pair them with a turtleneck underneath in fall! Plus, I stay warmer in the cooler seasons!)

As far as the best turtlenecks at a reasonable price, you can always find this staple fall and winter wardrobe item in many colors at any of the chain stores in your local mall. The Gap, Old Navy, The Limited, Express, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, etc. are all sure to have turtleneck styles for the season for all sizes. But, be wary when shopping around anywhere, that sometimes the ribbed styles are not very sturdy, and with a few washings, can fray or even develop holes in the seams. I find that I unfortunately end up repairing or replacing my ribbed turtlenecks every year, and urge buyers to look for higher-quality fabrics and thicker materials so that their purchase will last them a few fall seasons. It may cost a bit more, but you’ll get your money’s worth.

Many of the national department stores also carry turtlenecks by a number of different designers and brands, from low-end to high-end. You can find everything from a thin ribbed version to a thicker cable knit sweater type style. Although, if you want to layer this piece underneath a blazer, dress or jacket, you’ll want to go for a thinner knit to fit.

Sears for a while now has carried the Lands End brand, which normally offers a very classic, timeless collection of tops, bottoms and even shoes that would all likely be welcome as corporate dress code-appropriate work wear. A quick look at the website shows cotton mock turtlenecks, seamless neck and cotton interlock turtlenecks, all under $20. Their classic cashmere turtleneck is priced at $54.97.

Another option to try is Target. I find my local Target has something great for my work wardrobe almost every season. Whether it’s staple items like solid color pants, skirts and dress shirts, or print dresses, lively fashion blouses and colorful sweaters and turtlenecks, Target seems to carry something for everyone. The prices are great too, and you can always return to get something you missed the first time, in a few weeks when it goes on sale!

I hope my tips and suggestions have helped, Sherry. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments section of this blog, or on the Accounting Today Facebook wall to ask your fashion related question!

Up for next post, a look at several of the fall handbag trends and how they can liven up your wardrobe to and from the office. Fall is all about the beautiful bag. Enjoy August!

Emily Alexandria Burns is a State University of New York Fashion Institute of Technology graduate and started her career in New York City working for companies including Giorgio Armani Le Collezioni, Christian Dior and Jones Apparel Group. She is now e-marketing communications specialist for Freed Maxick & Battaglia CPAs in Buffalo, N.Y., and recently named the Association for Accounting Marketing's 2011 "Rookie of the Year." Follow her on Twitter @FreedMaxickPR or email her at


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