Unlike in other parts of the world, this summer was cool by Southern California standards--the lowest average temperatures of the past ten years. It still got hot, with plenty of days over 90°. Those kinds of highs, at least, seem to have finally come to an end and I've been looking forward to autumn and thinking about what I learned over the summer.

Some lessons to take into next year:

1. I'm not a Vans girl. As happy as I've been embracing breezy West Coast style, it turns out Vans were a step too far. I loved the look of my Vans, but after more than a dozen wears, they never broke in and still give me blisters with every wear. I am back to my beloved Chuck Taylors and---this is exciting--cognac leather is back in the custom lineup! I ordered a new pair last week, differing from my old pair only in that these have gold (!) eyelets.

2. I don't have enough lightweight toppers. For all but the hottest days, a tried and true formula for me is a sleeveless top or dress with an interesting topper. I have many toppers that work for transitional or cooler weather, but really only one that's truly lightweight. I'm on the lookout for more and have already ordered the one below to try.

3. I'm still finding a need for both uniform dressing pieces AND arty/interesting options. Some days I wake up wanting to pattern mix and experiment and other days I'm happy to wear jeans and a black top. My wardrobe needs to be built around having BOTH these options available, and I'm finding if I limit myself to a few formulas, I can fulfill both those needs while still maintaining a closet small enough that it doesn't make me itchy.

What did you learn from this season's dressing?