Transitional Fashion: How To Nail It

In the past month, we’ve gone from ‘could fry an egg on the pavement’ hot, to ‘where did I put my slippers’ cold – good old British weather.

Whilst we may still have some hot weather this year, it does make you think, “can my wardrobe stand up to the ever-changing weather”? Having a wardrobe divided by weather can be a good excuse to go shopping, but it can also take a serious chunk out of your bank balance.

I personally favour a transitional wardrobe, meaning that I like to have pieces that can be worn all year round. Transitional fashion can involve something as simple as adding a pair of tights and a leather jacket to a summer dress, or layering thin shirts with nice thick jumpers.

However, there’s a fine line between carefully layering clothes and looking as though you just threw yourself, body first, at the inside of your wardrobe. We all remember the baffling mid-2000s trend of layering jeans with skirts and wearing several tank tops at the same time. We won’t discuss crochet ponchos – some things are too awful to think about.

Luckily, with the arrival of online shopping, we can now plan what pieces we buy and how to style them. When you’re physically in a shop you often grab the first thing you see but never actually end up wearing it. Shopping online gives you the chance to step back and think about how and when you’ll wear each purchase you make. Savvy shoppers know that buying staple pieces with multiple uses is not only a good way to spend money but also a time and space saver.  Fashion that can cross seasons is all about having the ultimate staple pieces.

Long sleeve styles

My first tip for transitional dressing is to look for long sleeve styles. Long sleeves can be styled in multiple ways regardless of season – roll them up or down, button the cuff, leave them loose, or fold them to look shorter. However, the real benefit of sleeves to transitional fashion is that they provide two essentials: shading your arms in the summer and keeping them warm in the winter. However, not all sleeves are created equal.  The best type of sleeve is ¾ or full length; these provide the most versatility and therefore the most benefit across different seasons. Cap sleeves or those shorter than elbow length look nice, but they won’t keep you warm in the autumn. I think we can all agree, styling an outfit is so much more fun when you know you won’t freeze.

Necklines matter

Another transitional fashion tip, one that sounds almost too sensible, is the importance of necklines. Deep and plunging necklines look great when the weather is good, but will go straight to the back of your wardrobe when the temperature drops. Even if you layer on jackets and knitwear you’ll still feel the cold, and a chest infection is never a good look.

The best kinds of tops for transitional fashion are versatile. Anything you can fasten both up and down is a great option – open it in the heat and close it up in the cold. A plunging neckline is still fine if you can get away with putting a top on underneath. In the summer, shirts with traditional collars can be worn open, in the winter layer knitwear over the top so that the collar still shows. Dresses that lace at the front can be loosened in the summer and tightened when it’s colder. Strappy tops and dresses can be layered over t-shirts and roll neck tops for a 90s vibe.


(L-R) Mini Shirt Dress In Grey Leopard, Black/Gold Star & Moon Flowy Mini, Jagger Maxi Print Mix

Learn to love jumpsuits

Jumpsuits are a staple part of a transitional wardrobe. Look for the ones made of thicker material with full-length legs and strappy tops. These you can layer under jumpers to look like you’re wearing a top and trousers combo, or over t-shirts (think Rachel from Friends). Once the better weather hits, voila, you’ve got an entire summer outfit in one go. Long sleeved styles are another great option if they’re looser fitting; you can add a leather jacket when the weather gets chilly, but still feel comfortable in the heat.

Shirt dresses for Autumn

Shirt dresses are another great transitional essential. While the most obvious way of styling a shirt dress is to add or remove tights and leggings, shirt dresses have many more options too.

In the summer, a shirt dress can be unbuttoned entirely to create a duster style jacket. You can also use a shirt dress as a quick beach cover-up over a bikini or swimsuit. As the weather gets colder, add thick tights, a leather jacket and some chunky ankle boots for the perfect autumn outfit. If your dress sits above the knee, consider tucking the front section into a pair of jeans for an oversized shirt effect. Shirt dresses are also generally loose fitting enough to wear a slip underneath, keeping you cosy in even the harshest weather. In warmer weather, a shirt dress will keep you effortlessly comfortable – what’s not to love?

Jackets for all seasons

No transitional wardrobe would be complete without a jacket (or two). Jackets are an investment piece in my opinion, worth spending an extra bit of money on. However, regardless of price, if you have a jacket you love, you can wear it year after year, regardless of changing trends.

When buying jackets for a transitional wardrobe think about two things; firstly, will this date? Secondly, do I love it? Pieces such as a classic leather jacket will be in your wardrobe for years – they were cool thirty years ago and they’re still cool now. The same goes for tailored blazers and dark washed denim jackets. These are transitional fashion trends that never change.

The simplicity of a classic design means it can be worn with anything at any time. Whilst in the heat of summer a leather jacket might be the last thing on your mind to actually go out and buy, but it’s a lifesaver to have on standby. Throw it on when the weather cools down in the evening, as an extra layer at a festival, or on your way home from a night out. As we enter the slightly chillier autumn months, we’re all in denial of needing (or wanting) to buy a coat – jackets are the ultimate transitional stepping stone. Just remember that if you want to layer a jacket with a nice thick jumper, get a size or two larger than normal.

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The key to transitional fashion

In short, transitional dressing as a whole is about finding the pieces that you will love, no matter how they are styled. If you have a wardrobe of versatile pieces that you dislike, it may as well be empty. Transitional fashion does not have to be limiting, pick pieces that you love both as individual items, and also when combined with others.

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