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FALL FASHIONS FULFILLED

Juella Gumbs is an up and coming fashion consultant from New York, providing styling consultation services via her brand "Julustyles"

Just as soon as we get used to the hot, stick summer days, Mother Nature always sends a reminder that it won't last forever. Humid days and nights are replaced with chilly weather, Fall slowly making its appearance. While cooler temperatures are reason enough to celebrate, the daunting task of switching our summer wardrobes to suit the changing solstice becomes a pain. Things don't quite fit the way they did a couple of months ago, you wonder what the hell you were thinking when you purchased that trendy sweater; you're just not feeling your clothes and get that burning desire for a little (or a lot of) retail therapy.

But before you go out and spend your hard-earned dollars, there's a few things you should do. First of all you need to really go through your closet and see what still fits. Especially make sure your basic pieces are still in good condition and don't need to be replaced. It would suck if you blew your cash on things you don't really need and then realize your trench coat is way too tight around your torso. Can we say "Too many barbecues?" Yup, I've been there too...

It's hard to be objective with ourselves. We think we look good in anything we put on, and while confidence is a blessing to have, that's far from the truth. Everything isn't made for everyone, so here's your second task: be your toughest critic. Whether you try on clothes and have a mirror showdown, or pull up last Fall's photos on Facebook, analyze your proportions and fit. Did those jeans flatten your derriere? Did that turtleneck make you look choked up? Or God forbid that coat made you look two sizes too big. An objective eye a year later will help you see what works for your body type and what doesn't.

The last thing you need to do before hitting up the stores is come up with a budget. After you've assessed what you need, make a list and attach a figure to it. You want to be as realistic as possible; we can't always have everything we want so prioritize. Using online and mail-in coupons will also help stretch those dollars.

Now comes the fun part: shopping! We're flooded with images in the media everyday on what the season's hottest looks are. For the savvy fashionistas you've probably done some damage stocking up on Fall's must-haves. For the rest of us who have yet to brave the task, here are my top five trends to refresh your wardrobe:

1. Go Red- in anything! Of all the jewel tones that are popular this season, red's by far the most compatible with any skin tone and it commands attention. Try seductive red lips or stand out in a red coat. If you really want to brave the red trend, do a head-to-toe monochromatic look. Also remember there are different shades of red like burgundy that look great in pants, shoes and handbags.

2. Think 70's- billowy silk and chiffon blouses and flowing skirts are just some of the fantastic pieces of that era you need to add to your Fall wardrobe. Don't let the lightweight materials deter you from trying this trend. After all, that's what plush fur vests and bad ass leather jackets are there for; wear leggings below that ankle-sweeping skirt. You can really make these items your own with the pieces you layer with. To complete the 70's vibe, you need to have at least one pair of wide leg trousers. If you're on the skinny side, flares are your best choice. Ladies with the extra curves should go for trousers that hug their hips and fall straight from there.

3. Get Printed- from leopard to floral to polka dots, there's a plethora of prints to choose from. My personal favorite is leopard; it's proven it's staying power for the past couple of seasons. I bought a leopard sling bag last year and it's my favorite thing to throw on with everything, including other prints. Have fun by mixing and matching; the best trick to successfully pull this off is ensuring both prints have similar colors. If two prints don't look good together you're sure to know. Get an honest opinion from a friend for validation. Also be mindful of the size of the print. For instance with florals, a large print can overpower a small frame and vice versa.

4. Be Sexy- Don't be shy; get in touch with your feminine side in lace. As delicate as lace is, it's making its way onto structured pieces like blazers, flirting with the idea of masculinity. But of course you can stick to its pure provocative nature, wearing see-through lace blouses and even wide leg pants. How far you want to push the limit is completely up to your bravado. Just keep it classy. A little imagination is never out of style.

5. Snuggle Up!- what's Fall without some fur? Whether real or faux, you're guaranteed to make a fashion statement and stay warm of course. At the end of last Winter I snagged a faux fur clutch on clearance and had to put it into hibernation as Spring and Summer rolled in. Let's just say it'll be doing its fair share of work as the temps continue to drop. But my ultimate favorite fur piece to grab this time around will be a vest. There's something amazingly glamorous and effortlessly chic about them. It's the perfect way to jazz up a boring sweater.

Whatever you decide to incorporate into your wardrobe this Fall, make sure it says something about you. Have fun choosing those pieces that warrant the impression you want to leave on everyone you come into contact with. Most importantly: wear the trend, don't let the trend wear you!

Juella Gumbs

Get More Fashion tips from Juella by clicking here

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