The difference, for me, begins at dusk. Fall creeps in around 6:00 PM, with its lavender skies, crisp (but not biting) air, pure (but not pungent) smell. It beckons promise, this summer-to-fall transition — the promise of a fresh start.
But it’s also a traditionally awkward time, as far as clothing is concerned. The days tend to be hot, but the winds pick up at night. Often times, we have difficulty mirroring our wardrobe to the moody weather. It can be, in a word, jarring — and it only gets worse as we fall into winter.
How are we supposed to go from short-shorts to long trousers? From bright florals to rich, deep tones? From flouncy, chiffon-like fabrics to corduroy and cable-knit sweaters? From the beach to the pumpkin patch?
The answer: gradually.
After 23 years of trial and error (emphasis on the error), I’ve found the secret sauce is patience and brevity — making tiny, autumnal adjustments to your summer wardrobe, and wintering up some of your fall clothes.
It doesn’t have to be one colossal change. Your wardrobe should shift with ease, like dusk, and take its time, like the changing purples of the sky. Sappy? Absolutely. But the truth of the matter is: your closet is a living, breathing thing that evolves and adapts just like you do.
So, proceed with caution. Handle with care. One foot in front of the other. Throw some socks on under your sandals.
Too far? Fear not. Here’s how mada takes on the transition, in 5 simple steps:
The Shoe Switcheroo One of the simplest ways to handle the transition is swapping your summer shoes out for your fall and winter ones. I have yet to encounter a sundress that doesn’t look cute with a pair of Doc Martens, combat boots, or really any booties, for that matter. For a super-edgy take on The Switcheroo, pair some chunky boots with a trendy silk skirt and a cool band tee.
The Shoe Switcheroo can also be as simple as swapping your sandals for your sneakers. Even throwing a colorful, graphic pair of socks underneath sandals and pairing that with a classic, clean dress can be an ultra-hip look.
The Mullet Don’t worry — it’s not that kind of mullet. Think of this one as a kind of metaphorical mullet: the pairing of a summer item of clothing on top, and a “cold weather” item on bottom (i.e., a flowy blouse with long jeans).
Conversely, you could pair a “cold” piece on top and a summery piece on the bottom (i.e., a chunky sweater with a shorter skirt and tights). The juxtaposition of the items, in addition to looking chic, will help your body adjust to the changing temps in a subtle, gradual way. You’re not too bundled up, but you’re not too exposed either.
The Hat-Trick Sometimes it really is as simple as throwing on a hat. A good hat can change the world. And it can take significant pressure off the rest of your look. Think: Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally.” Find a hat that fits your personality, whether it’s a beanie or a beret, wide-rimmed or made of fur. And be sure to physically try on any and all hats before you decide to purchase one. Everyone’s head shape is different, and hats can look unbelievably different on you than they do on someone else, let alone the rack.
The Covert Cover-Up A lot of times, you can keep your sundresses if only you throw a cute oversized denim jacket OR flannel OR leather bomber jacket OR fabulous winter coat over it. You can even be extra bold and pull a chunky, oversized, cable-knit sweater over your sundress. It’s really as simple and easy as that.
The Layer-Under This step is exactly like #4, except you’ll be layering heavier items underneath. Put a black turtleneck underneath a spaghetti-strap tank top for an uber-edgy vibe. Or throw a thin sweater or crew neck top on underneath a sundress, or any summer top. Just remember that the world is yours — even when it’s colder.