Labor Day has come and gone. Social media is a buzz with memes about how it’s fall, but not really since most of the country is still ringing the sweat out their t shirts. As far as the fashion industry is concerned though, it is practically fall. Any day now stores will be liquidating any sign of summer and unloading boxes of woolen goodies for your less than thrilled self to stock up on.
This time of year can be difficult. Why? Because it is still summer regardless of what retailers and pumpkin spice sipping baristas across the nation would like you to think. But there’s something in all of us that treats Labor Day as the signifier that summer is over and fall has begun. Maybe it’s because it’s back to school season and that was always synonymous with stocking up on new jeans and sweatshirts. Damn those new Levis on the first day of school made me sweat, but boy did I look good. Regardless of the reason we all feel like we should suddenly step out of the pool and slip into flannel shirts this time of year so it can be a tough time to figure out what to wear. Here are a few of my personal rules I try to follow as much as possible when thinking about how to transition into fall.
1.Put Away Your Shorts
Or at least put away the majority. There will still be those stifling days where having your bare legs out for the world to see will be the only way you will cool off and that’s fine. At minimum, put away all bright florals, pastels, and light colored shorts. You won’t be needing those anytime soon. If you are going to keep a few pairs of shorts for those random hot days, keep them basic and straightforward. Keep out your darker color shorts; anything brown, navy, olive, even the khakis can stay. They can be paired with the warmer tones of fall and provide a good base for a harvest in Hades sort of look (should you need it).
2.Put On Pants
With the exit of shorts comes their longer lengthed relatives, the pant. Now obviously your pants have always been there. You’ve worn them out to dinner or to highly air-conditioned indoor parties, but now is the time of year to really make them your friends. Replacing shorts with a pair of pants and pairing it with a simple t shirt can suddenly transform a look from summer to fall. Like shorts, keep the colors dark. Stick with darker denim, maybe even try a brown, gray or black wash. With chinos, again stick with darker dyes like navy, dark khaki, olives, grays, black, etc.
3.Darken Your Color Palette
A key distinction from warmer seasons to cooler seasons is the noticeably different color palette. Box up your summer stripes, madras shirts, sea blue sweatshirts, all of it. Put it all away and pull out your burgundies, your chestnut browns, your olives, and your cozy charcoals. Just mix in some pieces that fit in with the autumnal color wheel. Instead of a bright blue t-shirt, try a nice navy crewneck. Instead of a bright red madras button up try a merlot-toned floral print. Instead of green chinos go with a dark olive trouser.
4.Tread Lightly With Layers
I repeat, light layers. Do not throw on your warmest sweater. Lightweight layers are the best way to ensure that you don’t overheat during this period where it’s still pretty warm but you want to be fashionably relevant. Stick to cotton button ups and lightweight sweaters that have less body. Layer a thin merino wool or cotton sweater over a button up. Pull out a denim jacket instead of a tweed blazer (its time will come my friends). My personal favorite (a piece that doesn’t get enough respect in my opinion), layer a vest, sweater or suiting, over a shirt to give the illusion of fall layering while keeping your arms cool and unencumbered.
5.Fall-ify Your Footwear
The final piece that will truly transform your wardrobe from ready for the sun and sand to ready for a pumpkin spice latte is your footwear. Put away the sandals. Instead grab a pair of leather wingtips, suede chukkas, or a Chelsea boot. The simple addition of a boot to an outfit like jeans and a t-shirt will make you more fall ready. Was that a leaf I just felt crunch under foot? It doesn’t matter, because you’re wearing boots and you’ve got me convinced it’s fall.