~ MAKING YOUR SUMMER AND WINTER WARDROBE WORK AS A TEAM ~
‘Tis the season to dress between seasons! It’s my favourite time of year to construct an outfit because you get to layer your clothing without feeling like James McElver trying to avoid an excess luggage fee on his EasyJet flight to Glasgow.
Trans-seasonal dressing allows you an opportunity to exploit the best of both your summer and winter wardrobes (while also avoiding the worst parts: sweat patches and lumpy thermals). And it comes not once, but twice a year! Autumn and Spring wardrobes are mostly interchangeable which means you can acquire what someone else, on the other side of the equator, is parading around in and wear it concurrently; even though it’s warming up on one side of the globe and cooling down on the other.
So what staples must one commandeer from their summer and winter wardrobes, for a successful trans-seasonal look?
Jumping in feet first, Spring and Autumn are the best times to have fun with your footwear. Free your legs to soak up the last morsels of the sun’s kind rays, but keep your trotters warm with socks under your sandals. Pair ankle or knee-high boots with a summery midi-skirt to keep the chills to a minimum, or strap on some Mary Janes with a mini skirt and tights, if you can’t be bothered shaving your legs (bonus points if you don’t care and rock bare, unshaven legs!).
Tights in all colours of the rainbow, a throwback to the early 2000s (this era is clawing its way back whether you like it or not! Remember footless and stirrup tights too?), made a splash down the runway earlier this year and last year. It’s an opportunity to go bolder with an everyday outfit or to do some serious tonal blocking – including going all fluro-green leopard, if you please, via Tom-Ford.
Logo tights, executed by fashion heavyweights such Balenciaga, Gucci and Alexander Wang are also rewriting the book on hosiery.
Another trend the fashion world became quite ‘caught’ up in recently was fishnets, worn as the main feature as well as peeping out, wherever it could, through trousers. They’ve also been de-grungified, moving away from the 90s and into the new millennium, adorned with diamantes and other sparkly goodness just like Son Jung Wan demonstrated at NY Fashion week.
Beyonce wore shiny skin-colour fishnets at #baechella last month – need I say anymore?
Possibly the best thing about hosiery is you don’t have to pay an arm or a (stocking endowed) leg for them. I got these polkadot tights from the Bonds outlet store for $5.
If you don’t want to walk the fashion tights-rope then try a midi-dress on for size. It’s a flattering length, even for for the vertically impaired like my self, and can also work with flats, and over pants.
Faded light blue jeans have been reigning supreme ever since the nineties revival started, but why not switch up your baby blues for a something a few shades inkier? Darker hued jeans are mounting a comeback and labels such as Re/Done, Rag and Bone, J-Crew, and Brock Collection are popularising these heavier blues. Darker jeans are easier to dress up than their faded blue counterparts. Wear them cropped for a perfect transitional season look (showing off your socks and sandals, perhaps?) pairing them with a tucked in turtleneck. Opt for grey/black if you’re not a fan of indigo.
Turtleneck tops rule my wardrobe during the in-between seasons (and into winter too). They can be worn under almost anything, without looking bulky, and can add depth and colour to an outfit – they’re like tights for the top half of your body! I dread the day turtlenecks revert back to being only appropriate when impersonating Steve Jobs, Velma Dinkley or The Wiggles.
Don’t dig the turtleneck? Wear a long sleeved shirt, buttoned up all the way up, instead. This can be layered almost just as easily as a turtleneck/skivvy.
Next, take your summer staples – your spaghetti strap singlet, your corset, your prairie top, your bustier – and layer it over your turtleneck or shirt. (I highly recommend watching The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Movie if you want some more traditional vest-like inspiration. Juliet Ashton, played by Lily James, wears the best yellow blouse and vest combo ever!). It’s like a hug for your vital organs and helps brings you in, in all the right places, while letting your arms run (flap?) wild and free. Bonus points if your under-layer is slightly too big and you make it fit by layering or cinching it (see my post on altering your clothes without a tailor here).
So you put in all this effort to create a thoughtfully constructed summer-meets-winter ensemble and then your coat comes along and hides all your hard work. Spring and autumn allow you to wear your (lighter) coats open like lush velvet curtains bordering a stage – the stage being your your body and the performance your outfit, of course.
Chunky cardigans are also perfect for those ambivalent months when the weather is a bit confused, and also don’t steal the outfit show. This works with your denim and leather jackets too. Or try a blazer for a more polished look. You don’t have to go “all the way” with your cardigan: try just draping it over your shoulders instead.
Similarly you can wear a jumper draped over your shoulders and tied around your neck like a scarf. Ever since I watched the episode six, season four, of Broad City where Margo (an older witchy version of Abbi) fervently claims that you lose most of your body heat from your upper back, I was sold.
But what about your scarf? Just because you’re up to your neck in jumpers doesn’t mean your scarves have to miss out. They too can get involved during those mid-temperature months – how about wearing a scarf as a wrap-around top, layered over a skivvy? It seems only fair if your jumper is acting as a scarf!
You can also promote your scarf further north, from your neck up to your crown. You only need to read my piece on how to curb bad hair days (here) to know I am rather fond of the head scarf, as well as the beret. But a felt hat is ideal for this time of year. The sun is still shining, so you need that brim, but the breeze is chilly, so you need a fabric warmer than straw. Protected in the sun and shade – best of both worlds!
Now you’re dressed from head-to-toe for the milder seasons, so go out and smell the flowers, or jump in a pile of crispy leaves.