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White noise

  There are far more important things to worry about in this world than whether or not it's OK to wear white after Labor Day.

But people still think about it --- especially when they're dressing for work or a special occasion, as opposed to hanging out around the house in white shorts on a hot September day.

I don't wear white sandals after Labor Day. It just feels too summery to me. I wouldn't wear head-to-toe white linen this time of year, either, although I have donned my black linen pants a few times.

Old fashion rules aside, doesn't it all come down to fabric, style -- and a little common sense? Who's going to wear a white linen suit come January -- in Buffalo? A white scarf and hat, yes.

And winter white for the holidays is lovely -- but stay away from the salsa!

Then, again, it's unnecessary to get hung up on such things. So go ahead and wear that white jacket if you feel like it, as I write about in my column today.

But you might want to think twice about those white shoes ...

Where do you draw the line, if you draw it at all?

Button up!

This summer I bought a smashing jacket on sale. It's a pink, beautifully lined swing style that looks great with black pants. The pink is not pastel, but more of a year-round hot pink. But the buttons are white and oversized -- and look rather summery.

I'm not yet ready to pack away that jacket, so I had an idea: Why not change the buttons to black? It certainly would enable me to get a couple more months of wear out of it .(Changing buttons to something more seasonal is, in fact, my fashion tip in this Sunday's Current column in the Spotlight section).

I think it would look great with a black, ribbed turtleneck. And, of course, black pants.

Any other ideas for taking a summery item into fall?

Great people watching

Street-fashion blogs have become popular in recent times, and a popular one you might enjoy is called the Sartorialist, by photographer/blogger Scott Schuman. Schuman photographs stylish people on the streets of New York, Paris, Milan and elsewhere.

You can check out his photos at www.thesartorialist.blogspot.com. His work also appears in GQ and on Style.com. Today, I went to www.style.com (the online home of Vogue) and took a look at what people attending the recent fashion shows in Milan and New York were wearing. Peep-toe booties! Purple! Ruffled dresses under black leather jackets!

It's great people watching -- at your desk!

Give'em the boot?

Bootiesmall1 A friend of mine yesterday complained to me about the shoe-bootie trend so popular in fashion this fall.

Styles vary greatly, but shoe-booties generally hit right below the ankle or in the middle of it.
Some resemble a man's oxford but with heels. Others have peep toes, zippers, laces and other details. Many are high-heel platforms. The skinny 4-inch stiletto is popular, but other heels are chunkier and stacked.

My friend doesn't like any of them.

"They are so UGLY!," she screamed. She had just returned from New York where she saw them in store windows and on women's feet.

"They're wearing them with above-knee skirts -- or even higher -- but unless you're a model, they look hideous," she continued.Bootiesmall2_2

I'm seeing them in catalogs often shown with tights and slim pencil skirts hemmed right below the knee. I showed her one picture, where the model wore all black.

"Not bad, because the look is monochromatic," my friend said.

I agreed. By the way, the two styles shown here are from Ferragamo.

Are shoe-booties for you?

Getting fleeced

We often refer to this time of year as Sweater Weather. I've decided to call it Fleece Weather. Every morning now, you'll find members of my family walking around the cold house in some type of polyester fleece pullover.

Our daughter even pulls up her hood before sitting down to her bowl of cereal.

I've written about the appeal of fleece before -- its warmth, durability and ease of care. There are many varieties on the market, including environmentally friendlier versions made from recycled fibers (visit www.patagonia.com/recycle to read about its Common Threads Garment Recycling Program, for example).

And it's not just pullovers at our house. Our fleece (including Polartec and others) blankets, vests, hats, jackets and headbands keep us warm all fall and winter, right into early spring.

We've given fleece as gifts, too. For the last couple years of my father's life, he constantly wore the fleece pullover we had given him. His sweaters stayed in the closet; it was the fleece that kept him warm and comfortable.

With heating costs rising and cold days ahead, it's worth getting your family's fleece in order. And anything that doesn't fit but is still in decent shape -- why not donate?

Posters of our past

Kids today have various options for decorating the walls of their bedrooms - not just posters but also murals, chalkboard paint and removable wall graphics. But when I was young, posters were pretty much it.

So when I see my 9-year-old happily hanging posters of the things she loves - puppies, kittens, the Jonas Brothers - it takes me back, as I write about in today's column.

Think back to the walls of your bedroom or maybe your dorm room. Did Farrah Fawcett greet you each morning? The Grateful Dead? Miles Davis? Cindy Crawford? The Beatles? Bob Marley?

Or perhaps footsteps on the beach, Monet, movie posters or baby animals with inspirational sayings - "Don't let the turkeys get you down!" - were more your style.

Go ahead, share your poster memories.

It's colorific!

Db06020046_final08_2 Firewood. Traffic Jam. Potato Skin. Swamp Fig. These are some paint colors from Dutch Boy's fall lineup. Don't you just love the names?

And that's not all. How about Jam Session (shown left); Grandma's Fragrance (another shade of purple); Route 66 (grayish neutral), or Submarine (mossy green)?

Equally entertaining are lipstick colors, which always tickle me pink. The line of Urban Decay's lipsticks includes such colors as Hotpants (medium pink) and Jilted (hot pink). Clinique offers such shades as Pink Penny and Baby Kiss. Or look for Cover Girl's Pick-Me-Up-Pink, Mauvelicious and Toast of the Town. And, of course, Revlon's Raisin Rage and Paparazzi Pink.

But, honestly, can anything top Cherries in the Snow?

You go, geraniums!

Last weekend while shopping at an outdoor market, I saw people wheeling out carts of mums. As one who loves decorating our porch and surrounding beds for fall, I admit I was tempted.

But I told myself to wait a week or two, maybe even more. The containers I planted late last spring are still looking good. Maybe not as good as a month ago, but not at all bad.

Nor am I ready to decorate our front door with the autumnal spray of silk cattails, Chinese lanterns, berries and leaves I bought last fall. And I'm not even thinking about pumpkins (although those Halloween-theme catalogs keep arriving).

The official start of fall is less than two weeks away. And the kids are back in school, of course. But I'm not ready to give up on my summer containers and hanging baskets quite yet.

The mums will have to wait.

First Day Jitters

   About the only thing I remember about my first day of kindergarten was the dress I wore. I do, however, remember years later how excited and nervous I was starting middle school. That's because we had moved into a new house just weeks earlier - in a new town and a new school district.

I knew no one. Talk about First Day Jitters.

It turns out I had a great year, but I'll never forget the feeling I had waking up that morning, as I write about in my column today.

Our fourth-grade daughter said the butterflies were dancing around in her stomach Wednesday morning, too. There's nothing like the first day of school each year - for kids and parents alike.

How did things go in your household this week? Or perhaps you have a memory to share from your own school days.

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