8 Ways To Master The Art Of Transitional Dressing

Here's what to wear in autumn when the weather is being schizophrenic...

street style

by Caroline Leaper |
Published on

What in Karl’s name are we actually supposed to wear when the weather can’t decide if it's up for a heatwave or wants to drown us in torrential showers? 'Tis the season for transitional dressing, a time when *tights-or-no-tights *is a big decision, when you first lose sight of your pedicure thanks to the return of closed-in shoes, and when some strategic layering can mark the difference between hitting the party in new season-style and catching that cold your mother always warned you about.

Here are our top tips to guide you on your way to AW16…

Layering? Think outside the box…

Yes, you can do better than just throwing on a cardigan. Not quite ready to part with summer’s pretty slip dress trend, for example? Pop a lightweight roll-neck or a white tee underneath and you can extend its life well into the chillier months.

street style
Consider fine, ribbed knitwear your new go-to when layering.* ©Getty

Pull off the coat-shrug…

Forget shoulder-robing, the new coat styling trick to know is the shrug. Designer Demna Gvasalia got the trend started with puffa jackets on his Balenciaga catwalk and we’ve just spotted Kim Kardashian West elegantly shrugging off her trench on the streets in Paris. Perfect for those who can’t decide if they want to keep their coat on or off.

street style
Hailey Baldwin does 'the shrug'. ©Getty

Invest in the right fabrics…

Denim, lightweight suiting and a little bit of velvet… these are best fabrics in a transitional dresser’s arson. Mix and match the options, pairing with your favourite tops from summer, or the first knits of winter, depending on the temperature outside.

Let socks appeal

Want to wear your favourite summer sandals for just a little longer? Team them with a show-off pair of fancy socks and trot on in style. Just stay out of puddles, ok?

street style
Spot the socks... ©Getty

Switch up your colour palette

Inject just a couple of richer, warm-coloured pieces into your wardrobe and every outfit will suddenly feel autumnal. Navy, wine, mustard and copper are our fall favourites.

street style
Saturated colours x autumn leaves = Instagram gold*. ©Getty

Try bare legs and boots

It always looks so good in street style pictures, but the window of opportunity to wear bare legs and boots IRL is actually pretty short. A few weeks ago, you’d have worn that dress with sliders, and by next month you’ll be wrapping up in tights, so why not own this look while it’s a viable option?

street style

Get yourself a midi skirt

Pretty much every designer’s pre-fall collection featured a pleated metallic midi skirt – a surprisingly versatile number that can be teamed as easily with a silky camisole for nights out, as with a white shirt and tights for work.

street style
Giovanna Battaglia twirls in her silver midi. ©Getty

Embrace new lace

Do you know what we saw when we looked at all of those beautiful cut-out lace fabrics in the pre-fall 2016 collections? Ventilation, that’s what. Ideal for those who feel ready to tap into the trend for high, ruffled collars, but don’t want to get too hot on the Tube.

Inject these pieces into your existing wardrobe for a between-season update...


Best transitional fashion pieces to shop right now

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transitional fashion

Consider this Zara hybrid dress to be your fast-pass to perfect layering.

Asymmetric Dress, £22.99, Zara

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transitional fashion

Wear River Island's rose-printed slip dress with embellished ankle boots to a house party, or with a white t-shirt underneath for work.

Pink Floral Cami Midi Dress, £35, River Island

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transitional fashion

Monsoon's blouse ticks all the trend boxes - it's got the ruffles, lace and Victoriana vibes covered.

Frill Blouse, £59, Monsoon

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transitional fashion

Balenciaga's leather biker jacket is designed to shrug off the shoulders in that easy, chic way that a Parisian It girl might pull off.

Swing Leather Jacket, £1,995, Balenciaga

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transitional fashion

Uniqlo's long-sleeve rib knit is an ideal weight for layering. Consider this your new wardrobe staple.

Ribbed High Neck T-Shirt, £12.90, Uniqlo

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transitional fashion

Velvet's not just for clothes, you know? Designers were all about a soft-to-the-touch accessory, too, on the autumn catwalks. On the high street, we love Office's crimson ankle boots.

Literally High Cut Boots, £64, Office

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transitional fashion

Gucci's turquoise cross-body bag has to be the most delicious take we've seen on the velvet trend so far.

GG Marmont Chevron Bag, £955, Gucci

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transitional fashion

Topshop's glitter socks come in eight autumnal colours and are surely the quickest (and cheapest) way to update your pre-season look?

Glitter Ribbed Cropped Socks, £3.50, Topshop

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transitional fashion

Not sure how to master the art of transitional layering for yourself? Topshop Boutique's long sleeve dress does all the hard work for you.

Hybrid Mix Print Dress, £85, Topshop

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transitional fashion

H&M's metallic pleated skirt will go with everything from chunky jumpers to classic shirts. Consider silver your new neutral.

Pleated Skirt, £29.99, H&M

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transitional fashion

Can't choose which autumnal colour to inject into your wardrobe? Whistles' jumper dress has a slice of them all.

Multi Stripe Rib Knit Dress, £140, Whistles

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transitional fashion

The fanciest boots on the whole of the high street have got to be Topshop's embroidered ankle grazers. Show them off before the bad weather sets in.

Blossom Embroidered Boots, £42, Topshop

READ MORE: Coats That Will Make You Actually Look Forward To Winter

READ MORE: The Best Ankle Boots To Shop Right Now

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