Jori dropped me an e-mail with this timely question:
What to do when the fashion season and the weather can’t seem to agree? Now that it’s April, we’re all excited to wear some of our springy clothes – but here in New England, the weather this time of year can be warm and springy one day but cold and wintry the next. It feels wrong to go back to wearing winter clothes on those cold days, even if it’s probably the sensible thing to do for comfort. So how to make spring clothes work on non-springy days? Of course, this issue isn’t just about spring either. How can winter fashions be deployed in warm-weather climates? Or summer fashions in places like San Francisco where mid-July days can be foggy and downright chilly?
As I wrote my response, I would occasionally throw a baleful look out my window. Because, you see, we’re due for more snow here in MN this week. And although it’s the end of April and I’d love to be strapping on my sandals, that is just NOT in the cards right now.
Here are my dressing suggestions for times when the season and weather fail to align:
Even if you can’t switch from heavy materials to light ones (or vice versa), you can certainly alter your color palette. Right now, I’m trying to scale back my black, gray, and dark brown and focus on creams and whites, pastels and brights. (Emphasis on “trying.”) If I have to pile on the layers, I can make sure they’re layers that bear seasonally-appropriate shades. My giant, engulfing cardigan can be ivory instead of ebony. My boots can be tan instead of black. My scarf can be peony pink instead of charcoal gray.
Although this is most applicable to hosiery, it can be applied in other areas as well. Sheer tights are ideal for transitional seasons: They offer protection from wind and weather, but aren’t as oppressively thick and dark as opaques. During a warm autumn, they can make a sleeveless dress look perfect with boots, and do so without making you melt. During a cold spring, they keep your gams warm without weighing down your ensemble.
You can also layer on several sheer garments to create an airy-but-warm look. Joelle does this beautifully here.
Speaking of, artful layering is a fabulous way to craft outfits that fit both season and unseasonable weather. In spring, you can pile on a camisole, blouse, scarf, cardigan, skirt, tights, and boots but still look springy if they’re all in seasonable colors and textures. In fall, you can do a simple tank, short skirt, tights, and boots – an outfit that gives you plenty of leeway in terms of warmth – and look perfectly autumnal if you go for rich fabrics and darker colors.
OK, I’m thinking mainly of florals. Even if it’s freezing out, adding a floral print to your bundled-up mix will help you look less bundled. Flowers! They’re springy! It cannot be denied! And, of course, darker prints with fall and winter motifs will help transition you through an overly warm autumn … but maple leaf-printed blouses are a little harder to come by than ditsy floral dresses.
Although boots are becoming appropriate for year-round wear – especially in lighter colors and materials – they are indisputably heavier than sandals. So if you want to look like you’re dressing for fall, putting boots with an otherwise ethereal group of garments will help root your outfit in the season. If it’s a frigid spring you’re dealing with, try your sheer tights with pumps or peeptoes instead of boots. A lighter shoe will lighten your overall look.
Are you dealing with a persnickety transitional season, too? How are you dealing, stylistically speaking? Do these suggestions sound do-able in your climate? I’d especially love to hear from those of you who live in climates where the weather DOESN’T change, and so you’re forced to express seasonality in less traditional ways.