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Animal Party

One of my most favorite boutiques in Asheville - anywhere, really - is Scout Boutique in Biltmore Village. Dema, a local native and fashion expert, stocks her store with the cutest things. I can't tell you how obsessed I am with this printed dress.

My eyes laser beamed onto this number the minute I walked in the door. No stranger to animal print (it's kinda my thang), I LOVE that it's a zebra print done well. Zebra stripes can get dicey reallllll quick but this dress pulls it off in the cutest way. Per usual, animal prints will be everywhere this fall and this swingy shift taps into the trend nicely.

Make that two trends. The lace-up neckline you see here? Another fall fave. I prefer dresses and tops with wider laces and grommets but that's just me. Here, it helps to break up the busy print by your face and adds interest to the neckline.

I decided to go for it and mix in multiple animal prints and motifs in this look. This leopard minaudiere works because its compact, and the print itself is the right scale. I wouldn't do a big leopard shoulder bag, or even an envelope clutch, for that matter. If layering prints frightens you away, stop, turn around, and come back to the party. Just go with a solid neutral bag.

I've gotten so much use out of this clutch over the years! You know when you're getting dressed and you feel like your outfit needs something, but you're not sure what? That something is called pizzazz. Zing. Oomph. Color, print, shine, texture, dimension...those kinds of things. A printed clutch works wonders in these situations!

Back to the dress, because let's be honest: that's why we're all here! It's SUCH a good transitional piece! For the next few weeks, all my OOTD posts will be geared towards switching seasons, making sure you get great outfit ideas with wear now/wear later potential. Shopping this time of year can be tricky because we're excited for all the new pretty stuff but we just can't even because it's still effing 90 degrees outside!

Swingy shift dresses are brilliant buys for getting over the summer-to-fall hump. Fall fashion is heavily weighted towards florals and prints, so start by picking a fun patterned dress, then make it seasonally appropriate with your shoes. Sandals, flats, heels, booties...the world is your oyster, dear friend. When the leaves start turning, you can start adding layers.

Let's just all agree that shopping for new booties is one of the best things about fall. It's a slippery slope, though. Just when you think you've got all the colors, lengths, and heel heights covered, you happen upon even more details and embellishments you just have to have. For instance, I never considered a high-profile quilted ankle boot a necessity but every season I break these out, and every season I love them all over again. They're particularly fun with dresses, but they look pretty BA with skinnies, too.

Just one more animal on this sartorial ark to talk about before we wrap it up. I love love love these elephant stud earrings. I bought them before my trip to Paris almost two years ago (!); they bring such a fun element of whimsy to an outfit, but all you're doing is wearing stud earrings. Chic, but simple. The hematite is sold out, but the gold are amazing. So is the coordinating necklace.

If you're in Asheville, you can swing down to Scout to pick up this dress, or call the store to reserve it. Tell Dema that the Tony Townie sent you! For the out-of-town crowd, see below for the information to contact Dema to have the dress shipped to you. I'm already cooking up some more styled posts in partnership with Scout, so look out for those! (For the legally minded, or if you're simply curious, this post is not sponsored. All opinions expressed herein are my own).

Dress: BCBG, Scout Boutique, 18 Brook St., #102, Asheville, NC, 28803. 828.505.1984

Bag: House of Harlow (old), updated version here

Boots: Zara (old)

Earrings: Candy Shop Vintage (available in gold only)

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