Now that temperatures are slowly dropping and fall is here, it’s time to start bundling up and embracing the chilly weather. I don’t like the idea of packing away all my summer clothes, never to be seen until next year, so I’ve found ways to wear my sundresses, shorts and tees in fall-friendly, transitional outfits. With just a few tweaks to my warm-weather duds I can comfortably brave the brisk conditions without having to say goodbye to some of my favorite pieces in my closet. Another bonus? Saving money by remixing the clothes that are already in my closet, rather than having to go out and get new clothes for the season. In these transitional months, layering is a life-saver. While it might be crisp outdoors, indoor spaces can be quite warm, so being able to slough off excess layers while indoors and bundle up when headed outside is important. Almost any sundress can be fall- and winter-friendly with just a few tricks.
- Add tights so you can keep wearing pretty short dresses without your legs freezing. If tights feel like they won’t be warm enough, layer two pairs of tights, or wear leggings under your tights. I have a pair of thick, opaque nude tights that add lots of warmth, but can be worn under patterned tights to show the pattern, or under colored tights without altering the color of the tights.
- Layer tops, sweaters or longsleeve dresses under sundresses to add warmth.
- Bring in textiles like plaid, herringbone and tweed — all classic autumn looks.
- Get some cute socks at different lengths to wear with boots. Mid-calf, knee-high, thigh-high, ankle, etc. All add both warmth and texture.
- Throw a scarf on. It can be a pretty silk scarf, or a bulky knit scarf. Play around with proportions, colors and textures. A fun scarf can be a great way to add a pop of color or a pretty pattern. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns, prints and textures.
- A classic trench coat is a great weight for the chilly, but not frigid, temperatures of fall. You always can layer sweaters underneath if you need more warmth.
- Wear cute hats like beanies or a chic beret to stay warm (and keep the rain from ruining your hairstyle).
- Wear items with sturdy, thick fabric. Find dresses that are well-constructed and made out of fabric that is heavier to keep you warm.
- One of my favorite tricks for styling maxi dresses in cold weather is to wear leggings or thermal tights under the long skirt. You still look fabulous and no one can tell you’re snug as a bug with your warm leggings on under your skirt.
- Cardigans, cardigans, cardigans. Layer a cardigan over a sundress and belt it to define your waist and keep it from feeling too bulky, or for a more tailored look, get a shorter cropped cardigan and button it up.
- Bring out your boots, or invest in a nice pair that will last you through winter. For warm toes, get your boots slightly larger than your normal size so you can wear a couple pairs of socks, or thick wool socks.
- Some dresses don’t have good lining and your tights will stick to the skirt of the dress, causing the skirt to creep up your thighs as you walk. Have a few slips at different lengths for those dresses to keep your tights from sticking to your skirts.
- Layer to stay warm. Even if it doesn’t show, a camisole under your top or dress will add warmth. Multiple layers, no matter how thin they are, capture heat and keep it close to your body. Multiple layers allow air between them to contain your body heat, so don’t underestimate the power of layering.
- Continue styling shorts by wearing leggings or tights under them. Try tights with a cute pattern like polka dots or lace. I often find that a good thick pair of tights or leggings is just as warm as jeans.
Go Local To add those few pieces you might need to flesh out your fall wardrobe on a budget, go the thrift route. There are usually tons of scarves, plenty of cardigans, and usually coats at great prices. Supporting local small businesses is important to me, so if I can’t find something specific that I’m looking for at the thrift store, I’ll try to give my business to a local shop. There are some wonderfully curated local boutiques here in the South Sound that are perfect for completing your fall wardrobe.
Annette B 2711 Sixth Ave., Tacoma \\ Satori 2503 Sixth Ave., Tacoma \\ Urban X Change 1932 Pacific Ave., Tacoma \\ The Elquists 780 Commerce St., Tacoma \\ Hot Toddy 410 Capitol Ave S., Olympia \\ Lola Boutique 522 Capitol Way S., Olympia \\ Sweet Life 2525 Capitol Mall Dr. S.W. Ste. 101, Olympia \\ Bloom 4779 Pt. Fosdick Drive N.W. Suite 100, Gig Harbor \\ Kristy’s Boutique 113 W. Meeker, Puyallup