I don’t know if you’re experiencing fall weather yet, but here in San Diego it’s usually 70-80 degrees through October. I didn’t know that “fall transition” or “pre-fall” was a thing, but I’ve always felt it. I consider it the time when it feels like it should be fall but the weather hasn’t caught up yet. The time when pumpkin spice lattes come out and it’s still too warm to wrap yourself up in a scarf and riding boots. Lately it’s continued to be 70-80 degrees and often I’ve been like, “Should I wear shorts and sandals? But it’s September–shouldn’t I be wearing boots and scarves?” The reality is that no one around me in “real” life cares. Many San Diegans wear shorts year round, haha. But *I* care! Because I love fall and want to indulge! 😀
Whether your transition to fall is long like mine or fairly short, many of us experience it at some point. Since mine will probably be long I figure I’d better give myself a game plan so that I can stop debating about wearing shorts and bright colors everyday. I’ve come up with 3 outfit formulas and some guidelines for myself for the transition into fall or “pre-fall” period. I thought I’d share them for anyone who’s looking to add a little fall into your life before it actually cools down!
1. Dress or Skirt + Ankle Boots
When it’s still too hot to wear jeans but I’m tired of wearing shorts, I wear a dress or a skirt so I can still have bare limbs. However, to differentiate it from what I wore in the summer I swap sandals for ankle boots. Ankle boots instantly make almost any outfit feel more like fall, but they are a MUCH cooler alternative to riding boots. If it’s really hot, I’ll wear something like the second outfit. If it’s more mild, like in the low 70’s, I’ll add a light jacket like my denim or utility jackets or I will wear a lighter weight long sleeve like in the fourth outfit.
Even though all of the outfits I showed above are casual, you can use this formula with work wear as well. You just need to use your work appropriate dresses, skirts, blouses, and booties with the formula! That said, a lot of offices are air conditioned so you might not even have a problem of weather being cool enough!
If you want to plan outfits, think through some dresses you have that could be worn with ankle boots right now! Then, focus on 2-3 skirts you have that could be worn with ankle boots and find a few different tops for each of them. You’ve got outfits for the next couple of weeks!
- Choosing the Right Pair of Ankle Boots
- How to Wear Ankle Boots with Jeans and Skirts
- How to Wear Ankle Boots Now and Later (warmer and cooler weather)
2. Jeans (or Shorts) + Short Sleeved Tops in Neutrals or Muted Colors
In the summer and spring I tend to wear brighter, bolder, and lighter colors. In the fall I switch to darker colors, more neutrals, or more muted tones. Of course I don’t live by those as hard and fast rules and I wear neutrals in the summer and brights in the fall/winter. But, when the weather isn’t helping me indulge in fall style (jeans, riding boots, plaid shirts, vests, and thick cardigans) and I need to work extra hard to do so, I lean towards neutrals and muted colors. In addition to black, tan, grey, white, and navy neutrals, I’d wear colors like olive, maroon, blush, mustard yellow, burnt orange, dark purple, and teal. If it’s so warm that I need to wear a short sleeved tee, it makes it feel more fall-appropriate when that t-shirt is olive instead of hot pink, you know what i mean?
2b. Slacks + Short Sleeve Blouses in Muted Colors (Work Wear)
And of course, this could be adapted for work wear. I feel silly noting it because the formula just seems like any normal work wear, but I get asked all sorts of questions regarding help with workwear so I’m just putting it here in case!
In the examples above I mostly showed tees, but here are some blouses in fall colors, many of which could be appropriate with trousers for work or jeans for casual outfits. All are from Old Navy or ModCloth and are under $50.
3. Utility Vest + Short Sleeved Top or Dress
One thing I love about fall is all the layers. Layers make outfits more interesting, and it’s much, much easier to pull together an outfit with a “completer piece.” But sometimes it’s too warm for a cardigan, sweater, or puffy vest. That’s why I will always need a utility vest in my closet. The color and heavier weight fabric has a taste of fall, but you can wear it with a short sleeve or sleeveless top to keep cooler. You can even wear it over a dress with bare arms and legs if you need to!
This could also work with other types of vests, as long as they are lighter weight. A few other vest ideas are in the collage below! All of these are from Macy’s, Target, and Nordstrom and are under $50.
In a nutshell, for this fall transitional period I’m gonna reach constantly for my ankle boots, focus on neutrals or muted colors, and get mileage out of my utility vest. Are any of these your go-to’s during this time also? And if anyone has a go-to fall transition outfit formula, please share it in the comments below!