Fall in the front, summer in the back.

By Betsy Cribb
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Credit: Anthropologie

I love dressing for fall. I love swapping out my sundresses with chunky sweaters and my white jeans with the old-faithful boyfriend jeans that I've benched for the hot summer months. But there's a catch: Fall takes a little while to make an appearance down here in Alabama.

Labor Day hits, white jeans are banished (Though, confession, I'm prone to breaking that rule: Dark jeans just don't feel right when it's 80 degrees), and the weather can't decide if it wants to hold on to that muggy summer balm or give over to those gloriously crisp fall breezes. And while the weather takes its sweet Georgia time deciding what to do, we Southern gals are left to grapple with that age-old seasonal conundrum: What on God's green earth are we supposed to wear?

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Enter the closed-toe mule.

Credit: Anthropologie

Buy It: Schutz Jaquard D'Ana Slides, $188; anthropologie.com

While it won't solve the issue of what to put on the rest of your body (that's a story for another time), the closed-toe mule demystifies the enigma that is summer-to-fall footwear: Your toes can march into fall, prepared for the first sign of crunchy leaves, while your heels can coyly soak up the last of that waning summer warmth. Business in the front, party in the back. Like a mullet, but far less regrettable and oodles more timeless.

Originally viewed as an inside-only shoe by the likes of 18th-century popes and courtiers, mules were made popular as go-anywhere kicks by Marilyn Monroe in the ‘50s, and they've been popular, on-and-off, ever since. Mules are officially back again, and no wonder: The slip-on style is totally versatile. Mules are the easiest way to elevate a laid-back look or finish a tailored one. They're at home with a chambray dress, and feel just right with shantung cigarette pants. Plus, they come in myriad styles at a variety of price points, from higher-heeled booties for fall tailgates to party-perfect floral flats, so there's an option for everyone.

Put the sandals away, snap up a pair of mules (we can't get enough of these red-hot loafers or these pearl-covered pretties), and step into fall knowing they've got you covered!