I get very excited about fall, because it means I get to add on to my uniform. One of my many shopping theories is that you should always have some go-to outfit -- a uniform, if you will -- that consists of basics you can add to or subtract from, depending on the season.

(Other shopping theories include "try to look French," "you can't go wrong with a sundress and flops," and "if you look like you just exercised, that's kind of hot.")

My fall uniform theory very much falls into what my friend Al calls "Elegant Cowgirl." It's a dress theory that affects thousands of Southern ladies every year, and only you can stop it. Wait. I mean, only you can admire it, and try to emulate it, because it's AWESOME. Here's my interpretation.

New additions to the uniform are noted in the list below. I already own five of the eight things pictured here, but I am really excited to add the new things in when the weather changes.

1. White t-shirt. It is imperative that every Elegant Cowgirl own one, or two, or twelve of these. I have spoken of this before.

2. Bright lipstick. Look, it's fall. Fall is dreary. You are going to need something to punch up that wan face of yours. That and some good self-tanner.

3. I wear my tooled leather belt with everything, from jeans and shorts to cute little dresses. I am not ashamed to say that I found mine at Abercrombie & Fitch about 10 years ago. This one comes from a place called oldfatguy.com. As one's belt does. Anyway, if you don't have one, you are missing an integral part of your Elegant Cowgirl look. Please rectify this immediately.

4. This bracelet will be mine this year. I've been wanting it since I discovered Giles & Brother, which was a long time ago, but I've never sprung for it. Fall 2011 is my time, y'all!

5. I'm heading into my third season with these No. 6 boots, and they show no sign of a) looking in any way worn or b) looking in any way less stylish. They are also the most comfortable boots I've ever owned. Yes, yes, they cost $$$. I don't want to hear it. If I amortized the price yearly, I think I'd be at just around 40 cents per wear.*

6. A striped scarf always improves the picture. Especially in Louisiana, where we wear tank tops and jeans until Christmas. We can at least pretend to be seasonal this way.

7. This one will be my big purchase for fall. I have many jackets and blazers, but none seem as versatile, or as well-made, as this one from EmersonMade. Wear it with jeans! With shorts! A skirt! A dress! A tennis uniform! Et cetera!

8. Bootcut jeans. Learn them, live them, love them. And no matter what your trendy 16-year-old daughter says, they'll never go out of style or look bad with your boots. I prefer Madewell. The end.

So there you go. My fall uniform and exciting new additions. Enjoy, and I can't wait to hear about your own new fall purchases.

*Amortization Rationalization: A condition marked by excessive spending on one item, during which the spender convinces herself that she will wear said item at least one thousand times, thus rationalizing her purchase. May hit each fall and spring shopping season.

AuthorAB Chao