Every guide preparing you for a transitional season – that’s autumn or spring, specifically – goes through the same notes: Get ready with blazers, sweaters, button-downs, and bombers. Have something with shearling on it, and make sure you’ve got a pair of trainers and lace-up boots in your wardrobe. While these touch on your essentials, they cover pieces you likely already own and become redundant after a while. If you’re already all set, why even bother? But, with autumn just roughly a month away, certain transitional pieces reflect 2017 specifically without hitting you over the head with trendiness. Maybe you already have them in your wardrobe, or you’ve tried them out this past summer and wonder how much more mileage you can get out of them. Or, if it’s a spring- or summer-specific item, such as pastels, what can do you with it for autumn? To supplement your existing basics, update your wardrobe with the following:
Maybe you’re feeling a little bit classic or you want to experiment with something workwear influenced. In either case, a denim jacket exemplifies the transitional garment precisely: a bit of weight, but not too much, rugged enough to handle cooler, more blustery days, and, in more modern times, a silhouette that’s both versatile and structured. As well, although denim jackets have seen a higher profile in 2017, the trend itself isn’t a flash-in-the-pan moment. Assuming you opt for a more timeless look, with dark to medium-wash denim and a more relaxed fit, what makes sense this season will last you through the upcoming spring and at least the next 12 months.
Patterned Oxford Shirts
In one sense, the proliferation of patterns signifies the changing seasons, as if your wardrobe’s emerging from winter’s drab, dull hold and unfurling with an explosion of colour and prints. In another, colder temperatures arrive more gradually, and thus, your style doesn’t need to suddenly shift. Rather, autumn’s the prime opportunity for stepping away from summer’s pastels and migrating toward darker, deeper tones with a floral, geometric, or plaid print. The easiest and most pragmatic approach, of course, is through a button-down shirt, preferably an Oxford or something similarly lightweight – ideal for those warmer afternoons through September. As the months wear on, all you need to do is layer – with a blazer, a solid-colour T-shirt underneath, a V-neck sweater on top, or some combination thereof.
Light-Coloured Jeans and Chinos
A transitional garment borrows from two seasons without a second thought. Perhaps, like the Oxford mentioned above, this is a darker-hued pattern over a lighter-weight fabric. Or, in the opposite direction, that’s adapting a heavier weight cotton – for instance, one used for jeans or a pair of chinos – to a faded colour palette. Already, there’s been buzz about white jeans, but more practically, here’s where your pastels from this past spring have an extended life and offer an alternative to groan-inducing khakis. Thus, view your ice-blue, dogwood, and orange sherbet shades through a new lens: a wispy and effervescent compliment to navy blazers and darker prints that simultaneously manages to hold its own.
Streetwear revived these a few years ago, reinterpreting them for a younger audience that has long perceived this garment as something your grandfather wears. Rather, whether you opt for the more athletic-leaning styles or something classic, this button-front, knit piece excels as a layer in more ways than one. Of course, it gives you some warmth over an Oxford or poplin shirt, especially when the office gets cold, but its occasionally slouchy silhouette effortlessly slides over graphic tees, essentially making it the new flannel. And, when you’re developing your own layering system, it makes an effective “mid” piece between that lightweight shirt and a heavier-weight bomber, shearling, or denim outer jacket.
Varsity & Souvenir Jackets
What’s the difference? Many might say it comes down to the material and detailing. Yet, both find a niche as a versatile layer – sometimes a stylish liner, other times a colour-blocked outer – in different iterations throughout the season. Through September and into October, either becomes a statement-making light jacket, especially when you’ve got a sweater, cardigan, or sweatshirt underneath. Yet, as the temperatures continue their decline into December, the nylon or cotton becomes too lightweight to withstand the chill. Rather, as a solution to keep it in rotation, many turn it into a contrasting mid garment, intentionally letting it pop, through colour or finish, against a heavier outer, like a peacoat, camel coat, trench, or shearling-lined jacket.
Desert and Chelsea Boots
Extending this theme further, desert and Chelsea boots present a substantial yet lighter construction: Not lined, not particularly tall, and only featuring a few eyelets or elastic goring. Thus, insulation won’t bog you down, they still tuck into your trousers, and it takes very little to put them on. Yet, in comparison to your traditional summer footwear, particularly boat shoes and canvas trainers, there’s more to their design, and should you wake up to see a bit of frost on your windows, all you have to do is add a thicker pair of socks underneath.
In 2017, you can’t entirely categorise denim shirts. On one hand, they’re a relic of the ‘90s, being nothing more in the present than a basic normcore piece. On another, they beef up your standard chambray – a key spring garment – with a heavier-weight material. Thirdly, they often find their way into western shirt territory, featuring key aspects like a defined yoke, pearl snap buttons, a rounded hem, and even embroidery. Then, more recently, the standard weave and medium-wash shade appear amongst classic button-downs, adding variation to the stiff collar and structured shape. Yet, however you choose to wear it, with a dark or light wash and even a little distressing, the thicker feel automatically turns the denim into a transitional essential. Wear it alone, maybe even with the sleeves rolled up, on the days with more sun, and go for an Americana-influenced ensemble with a shearling jacket over the top once the leaves start falling off the trees.