Add layers, accessories to transform fashions for fall By JACKIE HOERMANN The Kansas City Star See more photos at: Transform fashions for fall With so many summer clearance sales going on, you’ve probably shopped yourself into a tank-top delirium. But don’t cry over spoiled looks. There are dozens of ways to carry summer clothes into fall without shivering. Keylee Sanders, fashion expert and founder of Style Studio, has worked with big-name celebrities and stylists, including Ashlan Gorse and Clinton Kelly. Sanders, who’s based in Los Angeles and San Francisco, is originally from Louisburg, Kan., so she’s familiar with Midwestern weather. Her advice for late-summer shopping? Buy wisely. “I’m a big proponent of sales,” Sanders says. “Especially because most of the pieces you see on sale can be incorporated into your wardrobe year-round.” She recommends investing in classic pieces and silhouettes that transfer from season to season. “Tank tops I never get rid of. They go underneath anything and add an extra layer against your skin in the winter. Sun dresses are good, too — just stay away from patterns that scream summer. You can easily wear dresses into the fall with a cardigan, a belt and a pair of boots.” But the best trick for transitional dressing? Layers. Sanders recommends thinking outside the box. Fall vests, coats, cardigans, blazers, long- and short-sleeved shirts can all be mixed and matched with other summer pieces that can be stripped or added if you get too warm or chilly. Layering your lower half with tights allows you to continue wearing summer skirts and shorts. “Tights are still going to be in this season, and that’s a great way to transition and keep some summer pieces in your wardrobe for a couple more weeks,” Sanders says. And don’t forget your feet. Full-coverage shoes are ideal for cooler mornings and evenings, but when temperatures are up during the day, we long for sandals. Sanders’ solution is the peep-toe. “As long as there’s no snow on the ground, you can wear open-toed shoes,” she says. “Boots are even designed with peep toes now, and they go with everything.” Staying in vogue doesn’t require the fashion-conscious to splurge on high-priced items. Last season’s look can be upgraded with the right accessories, says Meagan Doyle, owner of Addie Rose Boutique in Overland Park. “If you’re on a budget, accessories are the easiest way to move into a trend,” Doyle says. “You can wear a T-shirt or blouse from a few years ago and add a cool-weather accessory, like a fedora, a couple bangles and feather earrings, and you’re in the trend.” ■ SHEER ENVY This airy floral top is thin enough to wear during the hottest days of August. Or add a leather jacket for cool September nights. •Floral boho blouse $74, Ark & Co.; denim leggings $52, Flying Monkey; leather wrap bracelet $64, Lilly Dawson Designs, all from Addie Rose Boutique •Ruched camisole $38, Classiques Entier, Nordstrom ■ THE SHORT AND LONG OF IT A long-sleeved blouse and a pair of tights (left) make wearing shorts in autumn a not-so-shocking statement. •Kristi CDC top $278, Marc by Marc Jacobs; Cari silk linen short $198, Marc by Marc Jacobs, both from Nordstrom •Wood, metal and leather bangle set $30, ZAD, Hemline The maxi skirt (right) is the new maxi dress, says Meagan Doyle of Addie Rose Boutique. “They’re showing a lot of maxi skirts with the oversized sweaters.” •Cropped knit top $30, Piko 1988; Sienna maxi skirt $62, Karlie, both from Addie Rose Boutique •Gold bar shield necklace $30, ZAD; wicker bracelet $20, Kenze Penne; Coraline distressed leather sandals $180, Mesœeca, all from Hemline ■ DRESS THE PART Sleeveless dresses in dark hues are ideal for fall, especially when paired with cool-weather booties. •Delia silk charmeuse pleated dress $360, Milly; Carmen short lace boots $298, Frye, both from Nordstrom •Gold weave bracelet $30, ZAD, Hemline ■ LIGHTEN UP “The bell-bottom type jean was really big for summer, and the lighter color denim can be worn through fall,” says Annie Kennedy, owner of Hemline. “The sweater can be worn with a bando under it in summer, and you can add more warmth in the winter by layering thicker pieces underneath.” •Multistripe pullover $108, Free People; seamless bando $15, Fornia; Blue Hippie bell bottoms $178, Seven for All Mankind, all from Hemline •Fantasy heels $45, Liliana, Addie Rose ■ WHITE LIES Wearing white after Labor Day is no longer taboo. “White on top or a white dress is more easily accepted than white pants, especially if you add a chunky knit sweater or some brown boots,” says Meagan Doyle, owner of Addie Rose Boutique in Overland Park. “But you can do white pants if they’re a heavier material. It’s all about finding the right fall jacket or shoes in a fall color.” ■ SCARF IT UP Scarves are the easiest way to add an ounce of warmth when a jacket is warranted. •From Kohl’s: Chloe Crinkled Floral Scarf by Apt. 9, $28. OH LA-LA-LAYERS “Bringing different layering pieces together and combining them in new ways will make you feel like you have a whole new wardrobe,” Kennedy says. •Scuba leather jacket $995, Vince, Nordstrom •Boxy oversized top $98, Free People; mustard seamless tank $15, Foznia, both from Hemline •Marled open-front sweater vest $50, Apt. 9, Kohl’s ■ BELTING IT OUT A supple belt is seasonless. Try it with jeans or cinch a cardigan at the waist. •Tan leather belt $15, Sam Brown, Hemline ■ CLOG CARRIES ON The clog trend is still in style — with a new, slender heel approach — and will keep the toes protected. •Jerrell heel $138, Vince Camuto, Nordstrom ■ CROSSING OVER The cross-body bag is ideal for fashionistas on the move and causes less strain than carrying other purses. •Saddle bag $180, Melie Bianco, Hemline RESOURCES Addie Rose Boutique: 4870 W. 135th St., Overland Park, 913-681-2224 •Hemline: Country Club Plaza, 610 W. 48th St., 816-753-0150, www.shophemline.comKohl’ for area locations •Nordstrom: Oak Park Mall, 11143 W. 95th St., Overland Park, 913-492-8111, www.nordstrom.comSkyline Downtown Salon: 2001 Grand Blvd., 816-221-2001, CREDITS Models: Tiffany Toombs and Katie Cowan, 385 Agency, Hair stylist: Angi Ouderkirk, Skyline Downtown Salon Makeup artist: Nick Jenkins, Skyline Downtown Salon

Add layers, accessories to transform fashions for fall


By JACKIE HOERMANN The Kansas City Star Photographer JILL TOYOSHIBA | The Kansas City StarSara Hooser designs alternative wedding gowns, such as two-piece styles that let the bride wear a long, traditional skirt for the ceremony and switch into a cocktail skirt for the reception.  White’s all right for most wedding gown designers, but Sara Hooser of Overland Park dares to design differently. Hooser, 26, is sketching and stitching her way into bridal couture with alternative options such as yellow gowns, black bodices and cocktail dresses. The first collection from her Ila Bean label debuted in March at Altar Bridal in Waldo, where Hooser works as a full-time manager. What makes a bride “alternative”? A girl who wants to stand out a little bit. In a sense, she wants to incorporate something different or unique. My dresses are classic shapes with a twist. They have a lot of personality, and they’re playful. What inspires your designs? I look at high-fashion runway designs, textures, bouquets, fabrics, architectural designs and shapes. I’m also inspired by the shape of the girl I’m designing for and what will flatter her. So brides can come to you for custom looks? Yes. Brides and bridesmaids can tell me their ideas, and I’ll sketch them out. Once, I made seven one-of-a-kind bridesmaids dresses, and it ended up looking more cohesive than I imagined. They had one-shoulder dresses, spaghetti-strap styles, tapering and pleats, but it worked because the dresses fit their bodies so well. Do you create gowns for a lot of friends? Yes. Last year, I made one of my best friend’s wedding dress and all four of her bridesmaids’ dresses. I also made a dress for one of my friends from college. Hers was pink with ivory lace. Having so many friends’ weddings has given me opportunities to work on different designs. How does it feel watching your creations float down the aisle? It’s touching and a little emotional, especially for my best friend’s wedding. You spend so much time making them perfect. I’m sure it takes longer than we realize. It does. There’s about a 12-week turn-around time for each dress. Pattern-making and draping take a long time, but for me, all the details at the end take the longest. I’m a perfectionist. How did you get interested in fashion? My mom. She sewed a lot of my prom and homecoming dresses, and we would work on different dresses together. She fueled my passion for design. Why did you name your label Ila Bean? Ila is actually the name of my great-grandmother, and Bean is a nickname my sister gave me. I think it’s quirky and fits my dresses’ personalities. How do you name the gowns, such as Sadie, Penelope and Molly? All my dresses are named after girls in Beatles songs, the lesser-known ones. I’ll probably mix it up in the future. I have three sisters, and they wanted me to name the dresses after them, so maybe I’ll do that for the next collection. Are you married? That’s a question a lot of brides ask me (laughs). I have a boyfriend. How do you approach designing or talking to brides about wedding gowns if you’ve never spent a whole day in one? I think it helps that I haven’t been married. I don’t have my wedding dress in mind to compare theirs to. I’m open-minded and supportive of whatever the bride wants. Does the boyfriend find your proximity to the wedding industry intimidating? No, no. He’s supportive and really sweet. He even bought me two sewing machines for my birthday last year and said, ‘I’ve given you what you need to get going — you can take it from here.’ Do you watch “Say Yes to the Dress” or any bridezilla shows? Shows like that kind of stress me out. I watch them sometimes, but there’s so much added drama, and that never happens here. But movies like “The Wedding Planner” or “My Best Friend’s Wedding” never get old to me. What’s your forecast for gown trends this fall? You’ll still see so much texture, like ruffles, flowers and tiers. Also, expect some interesting, nontraditional lace patterns that were big before the royal wedding but have been amplified by it. For color, pink will be really popular, and I’m seeing light café or latte colors in gowns, sashes and cummerbunds. Where can brides buy your designs? It’s best to try them on in the store (Altar Bridal). If you live out of KC, you can find me on or go to my website, SAVE THE DATE  When: Friday and Saturday Where: Altar Bridal, 332 W. 75th St., 816-926-0555, What: Meet Sara and Altar Bridal consultants at the Heidi Elnora trunk show. Elnora, a former “Project Runway” contestant, will preview her upcoming collection, and the store will offer discounts.

Sara Hooser’s dress styles aren’t wed to tradition

Honey Oat Cookies

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Every once in a while when I’m bored, homesick or just embracing my domestic goddess, I cook. It doesn’t happen everyday because my shoestring stipend and time rarely permit me to indulge. But when I can, I do.  When I … Continue reading

Craftiness: Knitted Hats

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Broke girl DIY: Hooked on knitted hats I used to be a fairly crafty person back in the day, before college, internships and adulthood creeped up on me. My experiences with knitting, however, haven’t been brag worthy. While I was escaping the … Continue reading

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Dear World, I’m baaa-ack! And a little surprised that I survived a week of hiking into the backcountry, horseback riding, rafting on class 3 rapids and a roadtrip with a gaggle of Dammrich women.  But I had a fabulous time. Check … Continue reading

By JACKIE HOERMANN The Kansas City Star “Flower children” such as Rich Koch (back left), taught in the school and coached the athletic teams for $20 a month and a bunk in the convent. “Sister Berta! Sister Berta!” squeaks a 7-year-old girl as she runs into the arms of Sister Berta Sailer. “She’s too cute,” Sailer says. The girl is one of an estimated 10,000 children served in the last 40 years by Operation Breakthrough, a nonprofit organization providing social services to children and families in Kansas City’s urban core. To mark its 40th anniversary, the center is having a celebration in September. In 1971, Sailer co-founded Operation Breakthrough with Sister Corita Bussanmas in their living room as a temporary day care for four infants. Since then, the effort has grown into a full-service center that supplies more than 500 children a day with meals and academic enrichment programs as well as access to a clothing donation center, a food pantry and medical, dental, optometric and therapy services. Sailer is always touched by stories of success and appreciation, including this encounter at the 20th anniversary celebration in 1991. “My grandpa knows you,” a child told her. “How do I know him?” she asked. “You got him his first job.” Sailer hopes to reconnect with “her kids” again, many of whom have gone on to lead successful careers. Alumna Kim Randolph was one of the first children to attend Operation Breakthrough in the early 1970s. The education she received was “phenomenal,” she says, but what stayed with her most were the positive personal experiences. “I basically grew up there,” Randolph says. “My mom was a single mom, and she worked in the mornings, so we’d do odd jobs for the sisters in the morning before school, like taking care of the babies. And we’d go back over there until my mom got off work. I even got my first job there.” Randolph, who will attend the upcoming reunion, has since established a career as a chief operating officer at Davis Safety Supply. “I think every one of us (alumni) can tell you that they left a mark on us,” Randolph says. “I don’t care if you went on to make mistakes. Even if you did, you always remember the good you received. … I wish my kids had those experiences.” Randolph’s story and others are what Sailer calls one piece of a million-piece puzzle she and Bussanmas started four decades ago. “We want everyone to come back and help us put the pieces together,” Sailer says. “We’re trying to put together our history.” OPERATION BREAKTHROUGH BY THE NUMBERS 85: Percent of families served living below the poverty line 100: Homeless children served 300: Volunteers each month 550: Children attending daily 1,700: Children waiting to get in ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION A block party celebrating 40 years will include live music, performances, food and activities for kids. “We want alumni, volunteers and all community members to come out so they can celebrate their own achievements as well as the achievements of the organization,” says Christine Minkler, special assistant for events and history at Operation Breakthrough. “Our next task is to put together an archive to record our history. We want people with memories to share them with us.” When: Noon-5 p.m., Sept. 10 Where: 31st Street and Troost Avenue Share your story and pictures: Email Details: MUSIC FEST Operation Breakthrough is a beneficiary of the Kanrocksas Music Festival, today and Saturday at Kansas Speedway. A portion of proceeds will go to the center; single-day tickets are $99. Visit for a schedule and more info.  

Operation Breakthrough to celebrate 40th anniversary reunion

By JACKIE HOERMANN The Kansas City Star Photographer Roy InmanFind an excuse to accessorize in a tunic dress (Double Zero $42, available in gray and navy). From the Longhorns and Lace Collection at Runways, 4800 W. 135th St. It seems we retrogress more each season. We rocked back into the ’80s, tripped into the ’70s, and now we’re embracing antiquity — with a contemporary twist, of course. Tunics weren’t always fashionable, but we are fans of modern incarnations. High-end designer Victoria Beckham took the shape from plebian to posh in her spring 2011 collection for New York Fashion Week. Unlike tube tops and spaghetti straps, you don’t have to fidget and fuss with the tunic. It’s easy to wear and flattering on most body types. A close cousin of the shift dress, the tunic is just loose enough to skim the figure and hide trouble spots. This gray tunic from Runways boutique will transition nicely into fall and winter months, but to really make it pop, accessorize colorfully, says Dee Bayne, owner of Runways. “We put on an amethyst and crystal necklace by Vintage Moon Jewelry and added a leather-studded bracelet and a glass bauble bracelet.”

Fashion Fusion | Tunics stand the test of time

By JACKIE HOERMANN The Kansas City Star Critics wildly decried the romper last year as an impossible comeback. But a brave and daring few brought the trend to stores, and fashionistas indulged. Now they’ve caught on, mostly for practical reasons. True to its namesake, the romper, originally designed as play clothes for children, is made for romping around without worry. The modern, grown-up take is perfect for the park, pool or bicycling. The floral print romper from Leonard’s spring 2011 ready-to-wear collection has an airy look that seems fit for lounging around. A romper is also a trusty alternative to a cover-up during swimsuit season. The Nikki Grant Boutique in Westport carries a versatile romper that translates well into nighttime. Owner Nikki Grant said the secret to taking the romper from day to night is in the shoes. “Dress it down with a pair of really cute gladiator sandals during the day,” she said. “For night, I’d dress it up with a pair of strappy nude sandals.” Photographer Roy InmanStep out on the town in the Amy romper (Charlie Jade, $165). From the Nikki Grant Boutique in Westport, 4149 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 101 

Fashion fusion: Dress up or down a playful romper

By JACKIE HOERMANN The Kansas City Star House + Home | New trends in dorm décor Moving into a dorm or an off-campus apartment can bring a feeling of independence unlike any other. Until, that is, you open the door and take in your new home: blandly colored, empty and lacking decorative freedom. No painting, no candles, no nails in the wall, you’re told. Plenty of creative collegiates overcome residential rules with a lot of photos and magazine clippings, but there’s more to modern dorm decorating than just posters and double-sided tape. Holly Becker, interior design consultant and author of “Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home,” thinks that limited options force you to be more creative. She recommends revamping tired spaces with flea market finds. “You can buy a bunch of frames and paint them bright colors,” she said. “Or even take old doors or shutters and lean them against a wall or behind a bed to make a vintage headboard.” To maximize small spaces, Becker suggests placing a mirror across from a window and avoiding dark colors. You can also add warmth to a room by using different tints of the same color or by layering different fabrics. The less creative need not fear. Plenty of stores, including Target, Function Junction, CB2 and Bed, Bath & Beyond, offer trendy dorm pieces during the back-to-school shopping season, and many will guide you with lists of dorm essentials and preplanned color schemes. Before you shop, remember that your space should be conducive to studying, but it should fit you, too. For example, if you’re into geography, a big map is an easy way to make your space your own. University of Missouri-Kansas City resident assistant Maggie Light works with medical students and often sees decorating schemes that match students’ personalities. “There’s always one person with a full-on skeleton.” MAGNETIC FRAMES Keep your family, friends and beloved pets close by in a 3-inch-by-2-inch frame you don’t have to hang. EATING IN Attempt a home-cooked meal with an attachable colander, or cozy up to your ramen noodles with this soup mug. •Pot drainer, $5.97, Function Junction; soup bowls, $1.99 for a pack of two, Target A HELPING HAMPER This hamper with removable laundry bag keeps your dirty laundry from being everyone else’s business. •Chrome laundry bag stand, $19.99, and mesh laundry bag in nova blue, $5.99, The Container Store ■ MOVING LIGHTS UMKC residential life coordinator Katie Garey calls modern lighting trends “less gaudy.” “We’re not seeing Christmas lights too much anymore, which used to be really big.” Instead, dorm lighting has become chic and practical and can easily be moved from desk to bed. •Architect lamp with adjustable clamp, $32.95, CB2 LEAVE A NOTE Dorm Co sells a variety of wall decals, including these dry-erase calendar clings. “It’s an easy way to communicate with your roommate by leaving quick messages or to sync schedules,” says Jeff Gawronski, the head of product development.  •WallPops dry-erase set, $19.99 for a four-pack, Dorm Co SOFT SEATING Floor pillows soften a space and are easy to move around, whereas chairs and futons limit rearrangement possibilities. •Round pintuck floor pillow, $49, Urban Outfitters SPORTING A CADDY A shower caddy is a must for students who use a community bathroom. •Shower caddy in green, $3.99, Target FAKE A HEADBOARD Get the feeling of sleeping with your headboard from home. This decal is available exclusively online in twin and queen sizes. •Olivia headboard wall decal, $55, Urban Outfitters RESOURCES CB2: The Container Dorm Co: Function Junction: 2450 Grand Blvd., 816-283-3033, River Market Antique Mall: 115 W. Fifth St., 816-221-0220, Urban Outfitters: 530 Nichols Road, 816-753-8500,

Dormitory decor doesn’t have to be boring