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What to wear in WNY's wacky fall weather

Warm and sunny one day. Cold and rainy the next. Dressing this time of year in Western New York can be problematic.

Some people make it look easy – perfect layering strategy, stylish rain boots, midweight coat for ducking out of the office at lunchtime ...

We reached out to several of the stylish WNYers who have appeared in The Buffalo News’ ongoing fashion series "716 Style" (formerly known as "Fashion Friday").

How do they dress this time of year? What are their fall essentials? What colors do they like? How do they pull it all together?

Here are their edited responses, plus links to the fashion feature in which they first appeared on

Jennifer K. Fortune, media director, FIFTEEN, an advertising and marketing agency on Delaware Avenue; featured on Feb. 15.

What to wear this time of year – especially in Buffalo where the weather can span three seasons in the same week – is tricky.

I don’t subscribe to traditional rules of not wearing white or cropped pants after Labor Day, so while I have retired the linen, it may be too soon for turtlenecks and tights.

For me, it’s about layering. I always have a tank or tee shirt on as a base layer, in case the temperature climbs (or the office thermostat isn’t regulated) and have to peel off some layers throughout the day.

This time of year, I rely on a jean jacket, blazer, duster or leather moto jacket as both my outside protection from the elements AND my inside wardrobe. I find that these pieces are both functional and fashionable. They even transition a long summer dress into fall.

If you tend to run cold, toss a wool wrap in your purse. It does the trick without digging out the heavy winter coat.

As for footwear? My toes are covered, but I am still wearing flats, loafers or ankle booties with no socks/tights.

And yes, this has backfired on me once or twice when I walked outside my office to find 2 feet of snow!

"My toes are covered, but I am still wearing flats, loafers or ankle booties with no socks/tights," said Jennifer Fortune. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Fortune).

Brad Hahn, executive director of Explore Buffalo, a nonprofit that provides tours and programs focusing on Buffalo and WNY history; featured online March 8.

I spend a lot of time away from my desk in the community, so adapting to the daily weather changes is essential for me.

My fall go-to is a button-down shirt from The New York Store in Lancaster,  jeans, and a fleece jacket or vest (usually from L.L.Bean). I confess to having a large collection of fleece jackets and vests in different colors and weights that I rotate through, sometimes in the same day!

I usually have at least one extra jacket in my car or office, and it's not unusual to see me wearing a different jacket in the afternoon from what I was wearing in the morning as the temperature changes.

Today, for example, I'm wearing a new sportcoat from The New York Store, but I also have an L.L. Bean fleece jacket, rain coat, and heavier coat in my car to be prepared in case the weather changes later today - who knows what those clouds will bring?

Now's also an important time to have the right footwear, so my L.L. Bean boots reappear after their summer hiatus, but on the nicer days I can still get away with my Sperrys. (And, yes, I usually have a spare pair of shoes in my car.)

My wool Western hats featured in my Fashion Friday profile make their seasonal reappearance, too.

Brad Hahn in a favorite hat for when the days turn cooler. (Sharon Cantillon/News file photo)

Jackie LoVullo, wreath designer whose business is call Zenjoy; featured online Aug. 2.

I love wearing ponchos with my fall attire. I have quite the selection – fur, wool or cotton.

The colors I prefer wearing during the fall season are mostly bronze, burgundy and purple with a little sand thrown in for accents.

I also have an ankle boot fetish. I love wearing Tom’s wedge boots. Comfort is key! I have a few pairs including a bronze suede that looks perfect with skinny tan jeans and a leopard-print blouse or sweater and a pewter shine boot that looks so cool with black jeans and a funky large sweater with a bold colorful scarf.

For rainy weather I have two colorfully vibrant (hooded) ponchos that look like a Monet painting. I also have four pairs of Hunter Boots – three knee-high (two purple and one sparkle); the shorter boot is black. They look great with tights and a bulky sweater along with an extra-large scarf uniquely tied.

Jackie LoVullo in one of her ponchos at Ellicottville's Fall Festival. (Photo courtesy Jackie LoVullo)

Katherine Kolber, marketing director Buffalo Dental Group; featured online June 28.

Shoes: I love to wear my Jeffrey Campbell Cromwell boots. So great to wear with some jeans or a dress. For more all-purpose boots, I always wear my Sorel Joan of Arctic boots. They’re insanely comfortable and great in the mud, rain or snow.

Katherine Kolber wears her Save The Duck Puffer jacket on a hike in the Adirondacks. (Photo courtesy Katherine Kolber)

Jacket: My navy Barbour Beadnell jacket is the best for transitional weather. It’s light enough to wear for a cooler fall day, but you can add a zip-in vest for extra warmth.

When I’m hiking, I love my black Save The Duck Puffer jacket. I did a 12-mile hike in the ADK’s a few weeks ago, and it’s so lightweight, but kept me warm when I was on the peak in the 30-degree temps.

That jacket is so compactible. It’s the most realistic synthetic down I have found. The company is an Italian company I found out about from this cool outdoor store in Ellicottville, Adventure Bound.

Jeans: Since I love a good all-American look, I do love a simple well-loved pair of blue jeans, but I definitely keep my white jeans around all throughout the fall. I love that they look a little more elegant, and go with anything. I don’t really care about what the fashion “rules” say. I think if you feel good in something, you should wear it.

Colors: It’s important to stick with basic colors, I do a lot of whites, tans and navy.

The main thing for me is sticking to basic pieces and dressing up a simple outfit with earrings or a pop of color somewhere.

Phylicia Dove, owner and creative director of Black Monarchy, 527 W. Utica St.; featured online July 12.

Fall is one of our favorite seasons! It’s where we get most creative with our fabrics and designs at Black Monarchy.

For us, fall is about accessories. Bring on the scarves, tights, that fun pop of color and transform any normal outfit. Headwraps are one of our favorite fall pieces. They are a great way to have the cozy warmth of a hat with some extra style and color.

During this season we also introduce our French-inspired logo beanie hats in black wool. Overcoats and hoodies are a part of our staples. These provide a great spin on a traditional sweater.

The colors we are drawn to during the fall are red, orange, royal blue and of course the “lbn” little black number with splashes of color!

Phylicia Dove in a headwrap and Dasha (shoulder accessory) she sewed by hand using Angelina fabric from Ghana. (Photo courtesy Phylicia Dove).



* Take a look at a recent 716 Style feature:

Meet the SPCA's Gina Lattuca


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