How to Boca-fy Your Fall Wardrobe and Other Season Must-Haves

deborah james
Athleisure by Tee Lab.

With the recent onslaught of rain and wind, the approach of Halloween and the nationwide obsession with spiced gourd products (pumpkin spice deodorant is, unfortunately, on the market), I think it’s finally time to get serious about my fall wardrobe.

As a South Floridian born and reared, I own a few sweaters and jackets (all also a few years old). I have one pair of boots and fewer than five long-sleeved shirts. I am often either too hot or too cold on any given day in the fall.

Deborahjamesboutique

So I talked with Deborah Shuart, owner of Deborah James, a contemporary women’s clothing store in Royal Palm Place in Boca Raton and Las Olas, on what to wear this season. The store’s selection is directly influenced by Deborah’s trips to New York, Milan, Paris and LA during fashion week and countless hours of product research. Here’s some advice she had—after 30 years in business in Boca—along with the must-haves of the fall 2017 season.

Shine

AGL-boot
Sequined boots by AGL.

“Everything is very shiny right now,” she says. “It’s very good for Boca because we’re so glitzy.”

You’ll see everything from sequined jacket sleeves to ornamented boots. Sparkle and shine on shoes is particularly popular. Another thing: “The sneaker is the huge story this season,” Deborah says.

Athleisure

Athleisure by Tee Lab.
Athleisure by Tee Lab.

This trend is here to stay. Layer lightweight hoodies and athletic fabrics under jackets and sweaters for effortless comfort and spot-on style.

Yes velvet!

Velvet dress by Raquel Allegra.
Velvet dress by Raquel Allegra.

When I met Deborah at her store, she was wearing the cutest tie-dyed ocean-blue dress EVER with booties. On first glance, I assumed the dress was cotton, but it was smooth, silky velvet. Velvet is coming out in the daytime this season—and can be worn from morning into the evening.

“I always call it ‘fake fall,’” Deborah explains. In Florida, we can get away with wearing fall colors and adding texture all while staying comfortable in Florida fabrics. She’s not saying to wear a velvet tracksuit. Pick a short-sleeved velvet dress or shirt in a fall color, and you’ve made it.

Beauty booty

Boot cut pants from Avenue Montaigne.
Boot cut pants from Avenue Montaigne.

Boot pants are back in! And Deborah says that in Paris, high-waisted jeans are EVERYWHERE. Combine them.

That’s so 2016

So that I don’t totally give myself away as a fashion failure, I asked Deborah what’s going out of style. Of course, personal style is just that, personal, and you can wear whatever you want whenever you want. But some things are truly past their prime. The bomber jacket was huge, and it’s finally stepping off the pedestal and back into the closet. Bomber, make way for the blazer.

I also wanted to know what should be a wardrobe staple. Cropped jeans have been in stores and runways for a while now, but Deborah says it’s an essential addition to any wardrobe. Rippy cropped jeans (light washes are popular now) pair perfectly with booties, slouchy sweaters, basically anything.

R13 cropped jeans.
R13 cropped jeans.

Deborah is cool. And everything in Deborah James is cool. Much cooler than the way I currently dress, but not too eccentric or high fashion as to be inaccessible. As Deborah likes to say, her store is for everyone. She recently had four generations of one family come to the store at once, and everyone (except the baby) found something. The key to nailing Boca style: create a luxury casual look with fine fabrics and lightweight leathers.

About Deborah:

Deborah in Paris, where she recently attended the Spring/Summer 2018 fashion shows.
Deborah in Paris, where she recently attended the Spring/Summer 2018 fashion shows.

Deborah’s father, James (hence the store’s name), was a menswear manufacturer in New York City, and fashion has always been a part of her life. She attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked her way up at Burdines, moving from New York to Miami. When she wanted to start a family, she realized the corporate world didn’t have time for her three children, so she opened her own store in 1987. Deborah James is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, with special events throughout October.

Entire month: Spend $500 in the store and you’re automatically entered to win a free pair of Golden Goose sneakers.

Golden Goose sneakers.
Golden Goose sneakers.

Oct. 13 Las Olas, Oct. 14 Boca Raton: Select from the newest collection of Avenue Montaigne. The pants are luxurious, impeccably tailored and cutting edge. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Oct. 17 Las Olas, Oct. 18 Boca Raton: Shop Tee Lab’s Cali-inspired layering essentials in exclusive fabrics that are perfect for our Florida lifestyle. Meet Tee Lab rep LeAnn Morgan while you shop. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Oct. 20 Las Olas, Oct. 21 Boca Raton: Norma Kamali’s representative, Neeta Behl, will help you select from the newest arrivals of free-spirited, creative looks. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.


This post is sponsored by Deborah James. Visit deborahjames.com  or call 561/367-9600 for more information.