How To: Build The Perfect Transseasonal Wardrobe

A guide to getting dressed when the weather doesn't know who it is.

Of all the things that are chilling on my #blessed list this week, not sweating from my face takes the cake. Thanks to our pal global warming, summer stuck around here in Australia well past its use-by date, and while that means extended beach swims and an increased opportunity to eat ice cream guilt-free, it also means that I haven’t been able to properly crack open my transseasonal wardrobe yet. A tragedy, given that the in-between seasons are my favourite months for dressing (and just for living, in general). Correspondingly, my entire Instagram story is stuffed with the cries of New Yorkers who, until very recently, were still up to their eyeballs in snow, blizzards and winter clothes. Uh, weather? It’s almost the end April—wtf is going on?

That all changed when I checked the weather app this morning. While it seems counterintuitive to jump for joy when you see the temperatures dropping and the number of sunny days depleting, that’s exactly what I found myself doing. The human brain works in strange and mysterious ways!

Goodbye summer, hello 75% of my wardrobe! 

While I’m sure we can all agree that the in-between seasons are the best, sometimes it can be awkward getting dressed when the weather is in a state of flux. During these finicky transitional months, it’s not uncommon to experience four seasons in the space of one day, making getting dressed each day a bit of a ~nightmare~. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered below with our comprehensive guide to getting dressed when the weather isn’t quite sure who it is… 

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Stockings

Stockings can flip the switch on an outfit, taking it from summer to winter approps, quicker than you can open your weather app. Conundrum: The skirt you wore all summer (and have grown creepily attached to) now exposes your goosebump-riddled legs to the elements. Solution: Stockings! The same can be said for warm days that bleed into cold nights—wear your warm weather-appropriate outfit (be that a slip dress, t-shirt and skirt, or pair of dungarees) to the office/day-time activity, then throw on a pair of stockings as you dance off into the night.

Hot tip: Coloured stockings are currently having their 15 mins of fame and are a super cute way to stay on-trend without traumatising your bank account. If brightly-coloured tights aren’t your thing, maybe patterned tights—which pair well with Carels and mini skirts—are more up your alley? If neither of the above are simpatico with your vibe, there’s nothing wrong with a classic pair of black 50 denier stockings (they’re thick enough to keep you warm, but sheer enough that they communicate “I am très chic” and not “I work at a library”). 

PSA: Cardigans Aren’t Just For Grannies

Cardigans are back and you heard it here first” — Jai Kaldor, COH Editorial Assistant, 2018.

She’s not wrong. We’ve already stolen their pearls, and now we’re coming for our grandma’s cardigans (just kidding, G Ma, we’ll buy our own, but thanks for the #inspo). The real MVP when it comes to transseasonal dressing, the humble cardigan will go with everything from your dependable vintage-inspired jeans to your trusty black trousers. Tuck them in to your pants and pair with a constellation of your favourite necklaces for a strong lük.

Top, Bassike (Similar style) | Pants, Levi’s 501

Acquaint Yourself With Puff Sleeves 

To ensure you don’t pass out from boredom while getting dressed in these transitional months, mix things up with interesting silhouettes. Puff-sleeved blouses are the best way to add volume to your look, given that they will simultaneously make you feel like you’re a Victorian-era lady and your mum in the 80s.

Remember, Midi Length Skirts & Boots Are MFEO

Dance the line between femme/masculine AND winter/summer, with a midi-length dress and a pair of knee-high boots. While they’re both #trending at the moment, I’m willing to bet a sizeable sum they’ll both be in our collective psyche for the long haul. If the weather starts to err more on the icy side of things, add a light coat to your look, and if the days are heating up, opt for a shorter sleeve dress. Also, if boots that cuddle your knees aren’t for you, cowboy boots and ankle boots also work a treat.

Blazer & Trousers, Vintage Dolce & Gabana (Similar) | Top, Etsy (Similar

Blazers Are Your BFFs

While you patiently wait for the day to arrive when you’re able to reconnect with your favourite winter coats (can’t wait, trenchy), I’ve got but one word for you: blazers. Whether pinstriped, black, grey, or plaid, blazers will have you lookin’ sharp as a tack, and will provide enough warmth to stave off those in-between-season-induced goosebumps without overheating when you step inside (or if the weather decides to surprise you by going full summer on your butt).

And, why stop there? Suits have been putting the ‘suit’ in suitable transseasonal clothing since before we were born, and no wardrobe is complete without one. 

Invest In Good Basics 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: good basics are worth their weight in gold. They are your wardrobe’s infrastructure, and without them, you will find it terribly tricky to build a viable transseasonal wardrobe. Good quality t-shirts, masculine-inspired trousers, linen jumpsuits, and classic blue jeans are all a must.

Top, Uniqlo | Dress, Bec & Bridge

Learn To Love Layering

Not that I’m suggesting you aspire to becoming an ogre or an onion or anything, but if Shrek taught us anything, it’s that both things are layered, and layers are a good thing. This especially rings true in the context of getting dressed: wearing multiple layers is kind of like receiving multiple hugs all-day-long. The key to layering is that you should be prepared to take some layers off if the weather goes full bat shit on you, or failing that, ensure that the layer closest to your skin is very light and breathable. Layer a light turtleneck under your favourite evening slip or wear your favourite vintage t-shirt with a long-sleeved shirt underneath and a denim jacket over the top. 

Protect Ya Neck

Forgive me for going full overbearing Mum on you, but I just wanted to circle back on turtlenecks for a hot minute, because it is very important that you keep your neck warm in these breezy months. Eschew heavy materials in favour of slim-fitting, light cotton turtlenecks that can slip seamlessly under your button-up shirts or pair perfectly with tweed shorts and ballet flats. If you’re turtleneck adverse, you can always keep the area north of your collarbone toasty by way of a high-neck blouse.

Words, @madw0n