My timing couldn’t be worse.

Blame it on the weather — and why not? I’ve been blaming everything from my lack of exercise to my horrendous tomato plants on that rainy spell we had a few weeks back. But my yen for autumn trends started about the same time the lone maple tree on Main Street in Orono began to turn crimson. It’s easy to fall for snuggly sweaters, sophisticated jeans and — gasp! — closed-toe shoes when it’s cold enough to wear a sweater coat to work — in mid-August.

Yes, I’ve had a wish list of fall trends going since the fat September magazines started showing up in my mailbox. No, I haven’t been able to find everything on it until now. For some reason, fall seems to have come early to Maine but late to Bangor-area retail establishments. But it’s all here, now. Just in time for the triumphant return of summer.

As I said, my timing couldn’t be worse. But my shopping couldn’t be better.

• Ruffles and bows: You can’t turn around without hitting a frilly blouse, whether your interest lies in New York & Co.’s elegant satin halter ($32.95) or the ubiquitous, retro tie-collar blouses. I liked the romantic, off-white number at Bella Luna ($48), where I also found this filmy little fuchsia blouse, resplendent in ruffles and rickrack ($48).

• Trouser jeans: You can find these in every price point and for women of all ages. For the 40-plus crowd, I’d suggest the dark Larry Levine trouser jeans at Marshalls. Women in their 30s might like the fabulous Michael Kors model at T.J.s. But if I had to settle on one pair, it would be these Level 99 cuffed jeans from Bella Luna ($118). They’re the same jeans you see in the Anthropologie catalog, minus the shipping charges. A splurge, to be sure, but worth every penny.

•Logo? A no-go: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If I see another Louis Vuitton knockoff I might just, well, knock off. This season, I’m buying something fabulous and different. I haven’t decided whether it’s going to be leather or fabric, but I was leaning toward the sale rack at Angela Adams until I dropped by Maureen Elizabeth Handbags in downtown Bangor. There, I found these handmade tapestry bags and this streamlined, one-of-a-kind clutch.

•Shoe la-la: If you only buy one pair of shoes this season, make it a pair of lace-up Oxford pumps ($29.95 at Target). Since I do a lot of walking, I opted for the kinder, gentler Oxfordesque pumps I found at T.J. Maxx ($29.99) — same look, different level of pain.

• Scarf it up: Who cares if it’s 80 degrees and sunny? Stylish New Yorkers have been sporting voluminous scarves since midsummer. But why should they have all the fun? Pick up something gauzy and bold at T.J.s, New York & Co., Macy’s or Target (pictured scarves, $12.99). This is one way to make a bold statement for an understated price.

• Dress rehearsal: It may be the schoolgirl in me, but I can’t get enough of the A-line jumper-style dresses that seem to be popping up everywhere. I’m especially fond of the tweed model at Bella Luna, the black and red jersey dress at The Pretty Woman in Orono and the Calvin Klein jumper I spotted online at The key to pulling on this look as a grown-up is to keep it simple: Thick tights, a superfitted top underneath, plain jewelry and sexy shoes.

• A better sweater: Chunky yarns and cozy knits are the way to go this season, whether you choose a cropped jacket (pictured, Bella Luna) or a long vest — my favorite is the gray fisherman-style vest at Dressbarn, which closes with a kilt pin.

ShopGirl would love to hear from you! Send questions, comments or suggestions by e-mail to:, by U.S. mail to Kristen Andresen, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402-1329, or by fax to 941-9476. For exclusive online shopping tips, go to