When September rolls around, it seems like your sweaters and boots are just begging to be let out of the closet and into the crisp fall air.
But with summer weather still hanging on, we have to find outfits that straddle the middle ground between two seasons. It’s called transitional dressing, and it’s often most challenging this time of year.
You can wear a lot of your summer pieces well into fall; it’s all about how you style and layer them.
Take the crop top for example. It might be the first item in your closet you label “Summer Only,” but it can be incorporated into a fall transitional outfit when paired with the right pieces.
First, combine your crop top with high-waisted shorts or high rise jeans. You can show a little more stomach with jeans because they’re more modest, but choose shorts that rise to your natural waist unless the crop top is longer. Then, add a long cardigan with a thick cozy knit over the top to bring the look into fall territory.
If you like to push the fashion boundaries, you can also try wearing a maxi skirt with a summery crop top. Opt for one with a sleeve to balance out the fullness of the skirt.
Another simple summer-meets-fall outfit is wearing sweaters with shorts. It’s something you can’t quite get away with any other time of year. Combining a loose-knit sweater with a pair of shorts gives off an effortless vibe and lets you show a little skin without leaving you freezing. Try tucking in just the very front of the sweater so it doesn’t overwhelm the outfit.
You don’t have to pack away all your summer dresses, either. Take advantage of the early fall when you don’t have to wear leggings or tights under skirts and dresses yet. Tying a plaid shirt at the waist is a big trend, and it’s perfect for those days when the temperature fluctuates a lot. If you get chilly, you can just untie it, roll up the sleeves and wear it the traditional way over your dress.
Layering is key when it comes to transitional dressing. In the winter we layer to keep warm, but in early fall, it’s more about wanting to test-drive our new (or long forgotten) fall clothes. Either incorporate one heavy piece or pile on items in lightweight fabrics.
Adding a thin turtleneck or button up shirt under a top and jacket adds depth, as well as warmth. Accessorize with semi-sheer or textured tights, colorful printed scarves and thick socks. Footwear alone can take an outfit into the new season. Replace sandals with booties and scrunched socks to add some warmth and coziness.
Just like the trees, fashion always shifts its color palette when fall comes around. Summer is associated with bright colors and light tints, while fall is all about warm and dusty shades. During this in-between stage, choose summer styles in autumn colors or cold-weather pieces in summer colors.
Also, that “rule” about not wearing white after Labor Day is a myth. Adding white to an otherwise autumnal palette will keep your look fresh.
Fall may be fashion’s favorite time of year, but don’t completely give up on summer yet. Have fun and experiment with mixing your summer staples and fall favorites. You just might put your clothes to work in new and unexpected ways.