THE AUTUMN EQUINOX has officially come and gone, but you wouldn’t know it. It’s not just warm—some days, it’s still downright hot. We know hope the worst of the heat is now behind us, but it still feels a bit soon for stores to be shelling out suede and heavy knits. Around these parts, it's hard to dress for the season and the weather, particularly when they don't seem to match up. So what’s a Houstonian to do when sweater season is more like sweaty season? We asked one local stylist, Valerie Halfon of Shop With Val, how she advises her clients this time of year. Swipe through her favorite picks for the season above, and check out her full list on her blog.

What are some staples to begin transitioning your closet for the cooler weather we hope is on the horizon?

One of the main things is really outerwear, regardless of where you are, but especially here because it does stay warm. Just having nice, light options for outerwear is really key for fall. Ankle boots are a big one—I think that’s going to continue to be the most popular shoe for women throughout the season. There’s just a lot more variety beyond the basic boots, and you can really have fun with it. For pants, textured jeans are in, and what’s really nice is a lot of options are cropped. A fun way to stay current but not feel like you’re sweating.

What trends should people look out for?

General trends for fall in particular are plaid and animal prints—especially leopard. Whether it’s a shirt or a handbag or any piece of clothing, some kind of animal print or plaid will definitely help keep it current as well as seasonally appropriate.

Should we resist the temptation of carrying sundresses and sandals with us into October?

People need that reminder that it is fall, especially if you’re planning to do any traveling. You want to slowly think about that transition. Instead of a sandal, try peep-toe booties—something suitable for warm weather that doesn’t feel super summery. Layers are key; you can still wear a tank top under that leather jacket. You just want to look like you’re in the current season, even if it is a little warmer.

Many Houstonians—including me and you—are transplants. Do you find your clients struggle to navigate our version of autumn?

Definitely. A number of my clients here are from the northeast or a place with a different climate, and it is an adjustment. I focus on helping them find that happy medium—this [piece] feels like fall, but you can wear it and still be comfortable in it—and try to help them find the things that maybe weren’t as practical coming from a cooler climate.

I think people get excited for fall. Fall fashion is typically really fun, and I know people here want to wear boots and sweaters and layers. You just have to find the right weight so that it still feels practical and you’re not going to look silly walking around in 70s temperatures with knee-high boots and a jacket.

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