Dresses That Brighten Fall Days

From Morning Coffee Runs to Post-Office Happy Hour in Style

The Gracia dress by Tory Burch ($395) combines colors that work unexpectedly great for fall. Here's your chance to dazzle in an array of blues, grays, red and hot pink. The gathered neckline and three-quarter sleeves add subtle charm without overwhelming the print. Keep in mind, though, that this is 100 percent cotton, so bundle it up with opaque tights and a cashmere cardi. Available at Hysteria (125 S. Fairfax St., Alexandria) or online.

Nanette Lepore's Pretty in Plaid wool dress ($348) might seem a little too 1992 at first glance, but the possibilities are endless. (And we'd like to remind you that plaid is back again in a big way.) We like the idea of matching this with a slouchy cardigan in a shockingly contrasting color, or maybe a pair over-the-knee boots. Bet you'd never dreamed that padded cap sleeves could work out this well, but then again, this is Nanette Lepore we're talking about. Available at Proper Topper (1350 Connecticut Ave. N.W. and 3213 P St. N.W.) or online.

Zachary Smile's Criss-Cross Dress ($225) combines retro draping with houndstooth-printed cuffs and a contrasting waist. This one's silk, so pair it with a chunky cardi in a nubby knit to stay warm while playing up a variety of textures. Available at Barney's Co-Op (3040 M St. N.W.) or online.

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