Navigating the 7 Phases of Autumn

Wait, why is it 80 degrees out right now? Wasn’t it just 65 yesterday? Is that the sun out there peeking from behind the clouds? Why is it so much colder in the shade? Are the leaves going to fall anytime soon? Do I need to grab my umbrella?

Fall might just be the most confusing time of year for fashion. When the weather changes so abruptly and unpredictably, it can be really difficult to plan outfits that will keep you comfortable and cute throughout the season.

Here are some tips for navigating the seven phases of autumn.

1. Still Clearly Summer

Even though the season of pumpkin spice starts as early as August, you’re still typically in the dog days of summer from the end of July to early September–experiencing the hazy sunshine and high temperatures to match. If you can’t stop your heart from longing for autumn, please don’t bust out that sweater just yet. You’ll regret even taking it out of your closet when you’re outside and just can’t stop sweating.

What to Wear:

  • Instead of going full-blown fall fanatic at this time of year, transition gently into the season with a dark nail polish or lipstick shade.
  • Wear a dark sandal with black shorts if you’re sick of summer brights.

2. The FALLse Start

The FALLse start usually takes place towards the end of summer, when you can feel the chill in the air in the morning and you think to yourself, “This is it and I can’t wait!” However, that crisp air often heats up with the blaze of the summer sunshine, and before you know it, the temperatures are back up to 80 and you wonder if we’ll skip the season altogether.

What to Wear:

  • Whatever you do, don’t give in to the FALLse start. Keep those summer clothes in your closet.
  • Instead of immediately reaching for your chunkiest sweater and over the knee boots, focus on layers so you can feel comfortable all day long
  • A cardigan is the perfect transitional piece to help you stay warm during the cooler mornings and evenings, but can easily be tucked away into a bag or tied around your waist when it heats up during the middle of the day.
  • Shorts and a featherweight long sleeve T-shirt are also an easy pairing for day to night dressing.

3. Sweater with Sandals Weather

Experiencing sweater with sandals weather is like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This is where the temperature is cool and breezy, but bright and sunny at the same time. It’s just absolutely perfect. These are perhaps the most coveted days of autumn.

What to Wear:

  • This might be the only time of year you can wear two normally incompatible articles of clothing together. Pair dark-colored sandals with one of your favorite cozy sweaters to make the most of this beautiful weather!
  • You can also wear a skirt and sneakers with bare legs and a lightweight long sleeve T-shirt to enjoy the breeze.

4. Those Chilly, Rainy Days

At some point in the fall, you’ll probably have some sloshy commutes to work with a stretch of chilly, rainy days. Thankfully, you can still look cute–even when the weather isn’t!

What to Wear:

  • Dress in layers to keep cool indoors and so that you don’t have to stay soggy even if you happen to get caught by a gust of rainy wind.
  • A trench coat is a classic choice for rainy days. Pair it with a compact umbrella and a pair of ankle rain boots to be prepared even in a storm.

5. Cozy Sweatshirt Weather

There’s nothing quite like a brisk fall day in a snuggly sweatshirt. This is the weather that might make you think of homecoming, pumpkin picking–and cozy nights huddled around a bonfire. Can’t you just smell the comforting, smoky air?

What to Wear:

  • Pair a boyfriend sweatshirt with ripped jeans and crisp, white sneakers to stay warm through the chilly night.
  • This is also the perfect weather for a moto jacket paired with leggings and over the knee boots, or flowy dresses with tights and booties.

6. When the Office Heater Goes on Prematurely

Office heaters tend to kick in a little bit before the weather is ready for them to. This can make it brisk outside, but unbearably warm indoors. If you can’t adjust the thermostat, layers are your best friend this time of year!

What to Wear:

  • A cardigan is a great layering piece to ensure you’re bundled up enough for outside, but able to keep cool in the office. 
  • Layer one over a crisp white shirt or a flowy dress in a fall floral.
  • Keep a scarf for traveling that you can easily take off once you get to work.

7. Finally Fall, for Real

After a few weeks of temperature fluctuations, a mix of rain and wind and sunshine and the changing colors of the leaves, it’s finally, really, truly autumn. Now’s usually a safe time to switch out your wardrobe, learn how to wash acrylic sweaters and start dusting off your heavier coats. While this burst of color and fresh air doesn’t last long before the frost of winter makes an appearance, this is weather to enjoy to its fullest.

What to Wear:

  • The athleisure trend is still going strong. Pair printed leggings with a vest and your most comfortable sneakers for a day of hiking and leaf peeping.
  • Layer a sweater dress over a thick pair of tights and cute booties for a look that feels just as cozy and wholesome as the fall harvest itself.

Making the Most of Fall

Fall is such a beautiful time of year–not just for the crisp air and bright colors of nature, but also because it’s a transitional season that inspires us to have fresh starts. With a little bit of planning, you can look cute and feel great while making the most of the seven phases of autumn.