Thursday, August 23, 2007

Reader Question: Transitioning to Fall

I've been getting a lot of e-mails from readers asking about advice for transitioning their summer wardrobe into one that's more appropriate for fall. Retailers present the fall collections as if Labor Day marks a shift from summer to fall, when summer clothes are no longer appropriate or wearable. But as most of us know, September is usually too warm to pile on heavy sweaters and leggings, and we end up gradually adding warmer pieces to our outfits as the weather cools. I don't think there's any reason to give up summer clothes once fall hits, but there's a need to tweak outfits to acknowledge the seasonal change. Here are some of my recommendations for pieces that will help you seamlessly transition from summer to fall:

Layer cardigans and lightweight sweaters over summer dresses and skirts.

This Gap cardigan is heavy enough to wear all fall and winter, but it has a feminine, body-conscious shape that will look good over lightweight dresses. Here's a more traditional cardigan, which can easily be dressed up or down. A cable knit sweater is a classic fall piece that's easy to layer. And if you can afford it, a basic cashmere sweater will go a long way, in addition to being incredibly soft and comfortable.

Throw on a lightweight jacket over a tank top or sleeveless dress.

This swing jacket from Urban Outfitters would work over a tank or tee in September or a heavy sweater in December. 60's-style cropped jackets are definitely in this season, and this wool wrap coat is a trendy but practical option. I also love vintage-style coats in bright colors, like this one. Finally, you can't beat a classic trench coat, especially a double-breasted one like this.

Wear tights under skirts and dresses to keep legs warm.

My all-time favorite pair of tights are these reversible tights from Spanx. They're slimming, comfortable and they kept my legs warm even in January (another bonus is that they don't snag easily). Gray is a color that keeps popping up everywhere, and would be a great choice for tights. I'm also a fan of textured tights, like ribbed and cable knit styles.

Find flats in darker colors and heavier materials or metallics, three big trends for fall.


Ditch your flip flops, sandals and heels in summer colors and prints for a pair of flats in fall colors and materials, like this flannel pair from Steve Madden. I'm dedicating this week's Friday Finds to fall flats, so be sure to check back later this week for more shoe recommendations.

Anyone else have tips for transitioning from summer to fall?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On 31 August I pack away all my clothes that are definitely spring or summer: anything with linen, anything with a flower pattern, straw hats and bags, open-toed shoes, and pretty much anything in a halterneck (except my halterneck sweater).

At the same time, I take out everything I'd put away for the summer: pullovers, velvets, corduroys, heavy knits, things in 100% synthetic fabrics, felt hats, coats, closed-toe shoes, boots, opaque tights.

I don't, however, necessarily start wearing all these heavy things. Every night I check the weather forecast for the next day's maximum temperature.

23 degrees and up equals a hot day. That means no sweaters except cardigans that are easy to take off; no 100% synthetics next to the skin; and it's a matter of choice whether to have a cardigan or blazer to hand but the outfit is planned around assuming I won't be wearing one unless I'm going to work or church.

18 to 22 degrees equals a warm day. That means no coat, no opaque tights, no boots, no felt hats. Also no velvets or corduroys. It is however compulsory to have a cardigan or blazer to hand, but also to allow for taking it off.

11 to 17 degrees means a lightweight coat and closed-toe shoes, not opaque tights. In September, I'd only wear a fabric hat, but in October I might wear a felt hat. I also would not wear boots at this point because boots snag my fishnet tights.

10 degrees or less means a warmer coat, a felt hat, opaque tights, and boots.