Fashion 101: Fall Transition Fail

In theory, we are supposed to keep pieces from our summer wardrobe and slowly phase them out as the weather gets colder and our sweater stock accumulates. Every year I read about the “fall transition wardrobe” and begin to strategize how I’ll effortlessly marry my cotton sundresses with my mohair sweaters. But I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret: your summer clothes are finished and have no place in your fall wardrobe. Yes, I hate to say it but summer clothes are for summer and must be sealed in the back of your closet until you dig them out for a mid-February jaunt to the Caribbean. Summer colors are bright, summer fabric is light, and you are fooling yourself if you think you will be able to hang on to these pieces as fall sets in. So I am proposing  just ripping the Band-Aid off. Get it over with. Pack up your summer clothes in the back of your closet and embrace the fall. It is far less painful this way.

1. Get Rid of the Sundresses

If you do not put your sundresses out of your sight, you will be tempted to wear them. Yes, in theory you should be able to rock the sundress until the first snow with just some tights and a light sweater; but in practice, this is not such a great idea. Sundresses are for summer. They are lightweight, brightly colored, and no amount of burnt sienna jackets or forest green tights will change that.

2. Too Many Layers

Fall and spring are all about the layers, which makes sense because with temperatures swinging wildly during the morning, afternoon and evening, you will need to be able to peel off and add layers just to be comfortable. Too many layers, however, can leave you feeling bulky and weighed down. Not to mention make you look like a bag lady, or an Olsen twin circa 2005. I would keep the layering to three pieces, including a scarf.

3. Kiss the Sandals Goodbye

Sweaters with flip-flops are just not OK. Even though it may technically be warm enough to sport your sandals with the rest of your fall wardrobe, there is no denying that it looks ridiculous. This goes for gladiators too. This goes especially for gladiators. I would just go ahead and get rid of your gladiators now. Mark my words, they will not be around next summer. If it is not quite time to switch to boots try for flats or peep-toes. Now is prime peep-toe weather. Embrace it!

4. Trade in the Hat

This summer, lightweight fedora-style hats were all the rage. But sadly, it’s time to pack up the sun hat and opt for heavier-weight lids. Or savor this time between the blazing sun and the freezing wind to go head naked. You will be wearing knit beanies before too long, might as well enjoy the crisp temperatures now!

5. Shed the Jean Shorts

Don’t get me wrong, some shorts can transition into fall. Jean shorts cannot. Cutoff jeans shorts really cannot. If you are going to do the whole shorts-with-tights thing, opt for a heavyweight material, like corduroy or wool.

So, I know that dressing for fall can be difficult and that it is in fact a transition. There are many, many articles teaching you how to properly transition between these two tricky seasons. I just want to save you from making a few tragic mistakes. Remember, when the party is over, it’s over. Embrace the fall. There will always be another summer.

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    • Katie Rae

      I don’t think this article applies to Texas. It’s still 95 every day, and it doesn’t start getting cold till late October.

      • Shell

        Same for Southern California…it’s sometimes 95 at Christmas :/

    • Megan Kristel

      AMEN! I can’t stand when magazines tell us to put our wool cardigan over our cotton summer dress. It’s not chic or fashion forward, it just looks like you’re wearing your wool cardigan over your cotton summer dress. GREAT post!

    • LK

      I love this but I hate this and now I need to go shopping. Damn.

    • laura

      Dear The Gloss,

      I literally got out of the subway this morning and my first thought was “Why is that girl wearing flip-flops? There should be a rule against flip-flops after labor day. I should write to The Gloss and tell them to write about that.”

      Instead, I am writing to say: thank you for reading my mind.

    • Tasha

      It’s still around 90 degrees most days where I live so I would look kinda stupid walking around in boots and a cardigan. lol Now is definitely NOT the time to switch out of the summer wardrobe. Maybe in a few more weeks.

    • tammy

      I live in NYC and winter here doesn’t start till late October/Early November. Till then I will continue to wear my summer dresses(shorter ther better)/flip-flops and high heel sandals. In NYC there are only 2 sesaons Summer & Winter. Spring/Fall barely exist here. My winter wardrobe consists of Jeans/Sneakers/Long Sleeve Shirts/Jackets. Boots/Uggs no. I could care less about winter fashion. Nobody is watching anyway. I run all winter to keep warm. Summer is showoff time/Winter is Coverup time. Bottom line when I wear a jacket my summer clothes will go to the back of the closet. Till then my summer clothes/sandals are in full effect