I headed out this morning to take my kids to school and felt just a little chilly in a long linen blouse belted over jeans. Coming back in from that quick trip in the car, I heard on the radio that it was 59 degrees — so that’s why I felt a little too cold. I could have really used an extra layer on top, but sometimes it’s a little hard to know exactly what to wear so that you’ll be warm enough early in the morning (and in the later afternoon and evening) but not too hot when the mercury rises during the middle of the day.
This transition between warm and cooler weather can be a challenge, but the solution to braving the up-and-down elements in style lies in wearing (and packing) layers. Here are a few ideas about how to
use them to keep yourself comfortable until it’s time for the heavy-duty winter stuff in a few months.
1. Leggings. A legging as pants is a no-no. But leggings as a layering piece is a great way for to bring some of your dresses into cooler weather. (This works for seasonless-type fabrics and styles; anything that screams “Summer!” — like seersucker or eyelet and whites and brights into storage.) Wear calf-length or ankle-length leggings under your dresses or skirts with cute closed-toe flats. If the temperature climbs up unexpectedly, just go into a bathroom and take that layer off. (And here’s a great primer on how to wear leggings — though I don’t agree with every point she makes, it’s a great starting place.)
Extra warmth: When it gets really cold, a pair of thin leggings can be worn under a pair of jeans or trousers and won’t create extra bulk.
2. Boots. High boots are a great way to keep your feet and legs warm while wearing a dress, skirt or even skinny jeans. Keep a second pair of shoes in your car or at your office in case the temperature rises.
Extra warmth: Add warm wool socks underneath boots for extra insulation.
3. Leather jackets. Thick wool jackets should “Winter!” but it’s too early for that in October and even November In many parts of the country. Leather jackets are better during this transition time — they can provide that extra layer of warmth so you can get a little more use out of your favorite short-sleeve T-shirt. Plus, this year, leather jackets are so current that they’ll instantly bring last year’s clothes forward into this Fall. When the mercury dips, just swap that cotton T for a long sleeve version or a cashmere sweater.
Extra warmth: Carry an infinity scarf or a small wool scarf ready to wrap around your neck.
4. Capes. A cape can be your go-to item when the winter winds blow your way. They’re easy to throw over an outfit and as efficient as a blanket for keeping you warm. They also look great over a sleeveless jersey knit dress. If it’s colder, pair with camel trousers, oxford shoes, and a classic white blouse.
Extra warmth: Get a great pair of elbow-length gloves to complete this look.
5. Wraps and shawls. Thick shawls are a transitional necessity. Have a go-to shawl in your car or main bag — it’s your back-up plan for when you forget to layer. (Best bet: Choose one in a neutral that can go over everything.) You’ll grab this shawl often — at the movies, in a chilly meeting room, or at a soccer game.
Extra warmth: Later in the season, you may want to pack a heavier scarf or shawl, too — for your lap at a football game, to put under your head on the plane, etc.