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RISMEDIA, October 12, 2010—(MCT)—Squeezing fall life out of summer fashions has never been easier. This fall’s looks are about layers and accessories, which mean even those tissue-weight T’s and tank dresses you wore in the hottest months can have a place.

Here are some simple ways to ease the transition from your summer wardrobe to your fall clothes.

1. Think tights and leggings. A thicker pair of shorts paired with opaque tights and a blouse is a great fall look, says Elise Loehnen, editor at large for Lucky Magazine. You can winterize any dress with tights and a cardigan. Add a pair of cute short boots, which are hot this fall, and you’re on top of the trend.

2. Layer under as well as over. “People never think to layer things under dresses, but if you have a sheath dress, you can layer it above a white button-down blouse. Or put a sundress over a T-shirt,” Loehnen says.

3. Whenever possible, belt it. Belts are a great way to give shape to an outfit with layers. If you’re layering a cardigan over a dress, for example, a belt will go a long way toward defining your waist and giving your body some shape. “When you’re wearing lots of layers, you can drown yourself in fabric and look frumpy,” Loehnen says.

4. Add animal prints. Even tossing on a lightweight animal-print scarf over a dark-colored summer dress and heavier shoes can make a great fall look. Or wear animal print shoes. “Try to bring in something a little more cool-weather looking, so even if it isn’t heavy weight, it has a heavy visual look to it,” says Susu Bear, who writes the fashion and shopping website.

5. Cardigans go great over most any summer dress, or, for an edgier look, add a jean jacket or a leather jacket, says Liz Johnson, owner of Revolver Consignment Boutique in Raleigh. Chunky sweaters are also a good option.

6. Embrace the vest. Put a vest on over a shirt, with a pair of leggings, and you’ve got a fall look that’s perfect for a day that’s not cool enough for a sweater, Bear says.

7. Go for the chunkier shoe. A heavier shoe—we’re not talking strictly boots, either—helps take a summer look into fall. “It’s all a matter of balance,” Bear says. “If you’re going with a lightweight dress, you need a chunkier shoe.”

8. If you’re going to add one piece to your early fall wardrobe, make it an olive green military style shirt, says Loehnen. “Olive is a great cool neutral color that mixes well with others, and it’s a little more unexpected than brown. You can layer it over a T-shirt or tank top, wear it as a proper shirt or wear it as a blazer.”

9. Don’t worry about rules, but do think about coverage. Save the beach looks for next summer. When it comes to fall dressing, “something needs to be covered, whether it’s shoulders or legs,” Loehnen says.

10. Let the accessories do the work. You’ll be surprised how a heavy necklace and the right shoes can bring a sleeveless shirt and pencil skirt into fall. Wrapping a cashmere or pashmina scarf around the neck provides you with more coverage, and when the cool morning gives way to a beautiful fall afternoon, the scarf can be removed.

(c) 2010, The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.).

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.