In this post: Want to extend the season for your cute summer clothes? These ideas will help you update your summer capsule to create fall casual outfits.⇒
There’s a buzz in the air.
Yep, while we’re all still basking in the warmth of summer, lurking just beneath the surface is the knowledge that fall is coming. There are many things to look forward to in the fall and one of my favorites is fall fashion.
But even I’m not ready to go out and buy a new fall wardrobe. Long before I start thinking about burgundy cashmere sweaters and camel hair coats, I take a much simpler approach.
I’m still enjoying my cute summer clothes and I’m thinking about ways to extend the wearing season to take these items well into fall. It’s a lot simpler than you may think.
Gone are the days when it was out of the question to wear white after Labor Day. Read on for my tips and secrets for updating your summer wardrobe to create fall casual outfits.
Fall Casual Outfits
As some of you know, I spent 25 years as a fashion designer, so while I love home decor, styling apparel is my true comfort zone. I love quality classics, punctuated by a few trendy items to stay current. I’ve been using a capsule wardrobe approach since well before it was an established thing, so I’m all in on the concept. Best of all, your summer capsule is the basis for your fall transition wardrobe.
One great way to build a foundational wardrobe for any season is to start with great quality, affordable pieces in classic colors and shapes, and to focus on fit. This is the framework you will build upon, adding a handful of on-trend items for a fresh jolt each season.
The Ultimate Transitional Color Palette
The entire point of a capsule wardrobe is to have a selection of items that work well together, so that you can limit the amount of things you own, without reducing the number of looks you can style, all done by mixing and matching. Hence, any aspect that promotes cohesion will help in this effort, but the single greatest unifying element is color.
A tight and coherent palette of tasteful tones will yield a note of sophistication and a sense of refinement. You can always introduce a pop of color with accent pieces, but the bedrock of your wardrobe should adhere to your selected color story.
For my transitional wardrobe from summer into fall, I chose the quintessential classic palette of black, white, khaki and indigo, the most wearable colors in any closet. I prefer clean and simple patterns like stripes or dots, to add a note of interest to my mostly solid attire. These are colors that can be worn all year long, so they lend themselves well to spanning the seasons.
In the look above, I’ve paired a chalk stripe blazer with a sweater knit tank top, rip and repair jeans and chunky ankle boots. Easily my go-to look, the jacket and booties help move a sleeveless summer top into a fall outfit.
PRO TIP: At 5’1″, I’m a huge fan of raw hemmed jeans, because it makes it easy to adjust the length myself. Whether I cut straight across or purposely go uneven, I always add a bit of extra shredding once I’m happy with the length. These jeans come raw-edged, but you can always do the same with a hemmed pair, as well.
Wearing White After Labor Day
If you think it’s time to pack away the white pants, think again. Contrasting lights and darks is a super-easy transitional wardrobe trick, much like balancing lightweight fabrics with heavier ones, and white looks great when paired with black or denim blue.
In summer, where you might have accessorized with a light shoe or a bright color handbag, as you move toward the fall season, play white off of black. A simple cardigan for extra warmth and black sandals can extend the life of your favorite ensemble into the next season.
If white feels too stark, you can always go with cream and get the same look. As the season progresses replace the heels with boots, add a leather jacket and a neutral scarf.
PRO TIP: To underscore a casual vibe, I love to mix knits and wovens, so with a constructed blazer or vest I prefer a knit tee, and with a cardigan sweater I favor a button down top.
It’s All About Layering and Balance
Obviously, transitioning your summer looks into cute fall outfits is most reliant on adding layering pieces. Tailored jackets can add a business-like edge to a humble t-shirt, shown here in stripes over skinny jeans. The blazer is one of this season’s top fashion trends, a great layering piece to top off your casual fall outfits.
Not quite outerwear, like the ubiquitous trench coat, but a whole lot more tailored than a long cardigan, it can dress up the casual nature of a pair of shorts or add a sense of relaxed chic to a pair of deconstructed jeans. Wear it over leather leggings and high boots, or most ‘of-the-moment’ with trousers and sneakers. Take advantage of the playful balance of casual with formal.
At the same time, just because you’re wearing a jacket with long sleeves, doesn’t mean that sandal season is over. Transitional dressing is all about mixing it up and adding cool weather touches, but you don’t have to wear accessories that are appropriate for ski season. If you want to wear the knee-high boots, pair them with a flirty white blouse rather than a bulky knit sweater. There’ll be plenty of time for that later.
Don’t Pack Away the Shorts So Fast
And, of course, don’t forget the sunglasses.
A Few More Transitional Fall Outfit Ideas
- A lace up cotton tunic over a tee is perfect for cooling temps.
- Every capsule should have a white shirt, for every season.
- A denim skirt is a great capsule addition and will take you many places.
- Plaid shirts feel inherently fall-like, even in light fabrics and neutral colors.
- A denim jacket looks terrific over white jeans.
- Leopard print is a great classic that works with a neutral palette.
- Pop a knit beanie on to add a bit of fall attitude to any summer outfit.
More Options for Your Capsule
I’ve compiled a few more pieces that can work within this summer-into-fall capsule and curated them into several cute transitional outfits. Find them below with links to the products. Then enjoy an iced coffee on the terrace and don’t even think about pumpkin spice latte.
1 – Sleeveless sweater shell, medium wash skinny jeans, plaid button-down top and ‘dad sandals’.
2 – Gingham check 3/4 sleeve button down top, retro patch pocket shorts, shrunken cardigan sweater and chunky low top sneakers.
3 – Cinched-waist V-neck white top, destructed light wash straight jeans, wool blend shirt jacket and suede lug sole Chelsea boots.
4 – Crochet sweater top, patch pocket denim miniskirt, railroad stripe barn jacket and beige platform slides.
5 – Grey heather ringer tee, plaid crop kick flare trousers, black fatigue jacket and lug sole loafers with chain detail.
6 – Raglan zip hoodie, crew neck tee with subtle stripe, 7/8 legging, and platform suede sneakers.
To get the look, click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.
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