Trans-seasonal Dressing: It Can be Done!

What on earth does it mean? And how do I do it?

Tran-seasonal dressing is the shift from summer towards winter and back to summer again. With the change in season, so your wardrobe must also adjust. However, the good news is that you don’t need an entirely new wardrobe every season. It’s all about learning how to get more bang for your buck with your current wardrobe.

So stay with me, girls. I’m about to show you how to dress trans-seasonally. But be warned! You may discover your inner-stylist!

 It’s about learning how to layer, which isn’t as difficult as you may think. It’s when you start to swap camisoles for sleeved tops or pop on a cardi, when you add a lightweight jacket or change from light cotton cardigans to woolen versions and add a scarf, or when you change from sandals to ballet flats. And on it goes.

Understand the power of fabrics and color. Notice how fashions darken in winter? Why not break up the black and lighten up?

The Rules

There are a few general rules to follow if you want to get more wear out of your wardrobe, all the while maintaining your sense of style. Here are a few of my top tips for staying stylish at the turn of the season:

Cover up in winter

If it’s cool enough for you to start covering up on top, then it’s also time to cover those tootsies. Nothing looks worse than thongs or sandals in winter. Remember, wearing UGG boots with shorts and a tube-top is no--and never will be--considered cool, stylish, or practical!

Get to know your fabrics

Whenever possible, look for natural fibers. They add a touch of quality and class to any wardrobe. Look for cotton, silk, linen, or wool. Just a touch of elastane is plenty to add movement and stretch, but wherever possible avoid polyesters and acrylics (you don’t want to wear plastic!). These man-made fibers don’t breathe so you will perspire a lot more. Cottons are cooler in summer, and merino wool is warmest for winter.

Understand color

Ever noticed how dark it gets in winter? And that’s not just because of our distance from the sun! Fashion colours also tend to darken in winter. Why is that? Surely we could brighten up a little to lift ourselves out of the darker, colder weather.

Fashion Fact #1

You wear 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time!

It’s true! Here’s a little trick to try if you want proof. Every January turn all of the hangers in your wardrobe backwards (it should only take about sixty seconds). Each time you wear an item, hang it back up in the normal fashion. In June, any item that is still hanging backwards has not been worn in six months. Donate it unless you can come up with a good reason to save it.

Wearing white

Many think that wearing white in winter is a no-no. Nothing could be further from the truth! The trick is in the fabric. Obviously a sheer white top or light, white cotton or linen pants spells summer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t wear white in an appropriate weight of fabric. Creams and winter whites look divine in winter! Team white with tans, red, grey, black or navy and you’ll see what I mean! Or try my favorite trick: top to toe in shades of winter white or pale shades, warming up the whole look with a touch of camel or tan.

Winter white. Who says you can only wear dark colours in winter?

Time to swap!

Trans-seasonal dressing means it’s time to swap! Like the gradual change in weather through the seasons you should ease your clothes into the transition too. Just because it’s officially summer on the calendar, doesn’t mean the weather knows the dates. To dress with style means you know when to put something on or take something off because you read the actual weather outside and know what’s appropriate for the season.

It’s time to swap sleeveless for three-quarter or long sleeves, sandals for ballet flats, ballets for boots, bare legs for tights or pants, cropped for long, cardis for jackets, and your trench coat for a woolen one.

Fabric is very important. Stick to natural fibers when possible. Light colours are fine in winter but they need to be the right fabric weight.

Learn to layer

It’s easily the most useful styling technique you’ll ever learn. It means you can still wear that summer frock well into autumn because you know what type of cardigan will work over it, or what type of skivvy or tee could be worn under it. Try adding leggings under skirts, tunics and dresses as the weather cools. Replace your strappy sandals with ballet flats and add a little jacket or cardi and you’ve instantly turned a summer frock into a truly trans-seasonal outfit.

Fashion Fact #2

70% of the first impression you leave comes from your body language!

Do you have ‘attitude?’ Do people say you look very serious, aloof, or shy? Or do you appear relaxed, open and friendly? Why do you almost immediately get a sense about someone? It’s not always because of their clothes!

We are all influenced by a person’s body language. It includes how you walk, talk, your posture, your expression, your eye-contact. No matter what you choose to wear, you need to understand the power of the messages you send with your body. The choice is yours.  Remember, you’re never fully dressed without a smile!

Nailing the layered look with confidence:

There are tricks to layering that give you confidence and immediate style.

Think proportion and balance. The goal for most girls is to create a proportional hourglass figure. No one has a waist under their breasts, so avoid placing belts under them, please! Lower your belt to your natural waistline or lower (not higher) if you want to make the lower half of your body look smaller or more in proportion.

Wear longer tops skimming just at or slightly above your hips.  Avoid tops and jackets that end at your widest point. Tops can be fitted, floaty, or loose and comfy. It’s your preference because you can create the illusion of a waist with a jacket or cardi layered over it!

Summer tops, tunics and frocks don’t always have to go into storage when the cooler weather arrives!  Well, some of them might have to if the fabric is just too sheer, floral or summery, but many can be worn all year round. With layering you can instantly transform your summer outfit for autumn and spring by adding or peeling off layers as the weather changes.

Crop your skinny jeans (roll ‘em up, I mean!). Cuffing your skinny jeans will not only feminize your look, but will also mean your jeans can easily be worn in summer without looking too heavy. You’ll be surprised at how much cooler you feel just by cropping your pants a little! If you don’t believe me, try rolling them up in winter and see how chilly you feel!

Fit and Flare. Think tight on top, loose on bottom and vice versa. If you’re wearing loose, flowing styles on top that add volume to your frame, wear things that are more fitted and lean on the bottom half. If you’re wearing a fitted top, go for looser cuts on the bottom. Think about it as the yin and yang of dressing.

Top Tip: 

You don’t have to be a clone of your friends. Wear what suits you, your personality, your body shape and your budget. Be yourself –because everyone else is taken!

Fashion Fact #3

Color can be an accessory too!

Hair clips, ribbons, hats, accessories—and even nail-art--if over-used, can weigh you down like a Christmas tree! Accessorizing doesn’t always mean you have to add bling. Shoes, bags, belts, scarves and camisoles can have much more impact. Remember, less is more. Using color as an accessory can really bring your outfit to life.

Pick a color and repeat it twice. It can be the color of a shoe, bag, belt, scarf, camisole or tee. By repeating it twice you look put together, not thrown together!

When shopping, don’t spend your entire budget on fashion/trend items. You’ll end up with a wardrobe that’s outdated next season with pieces that don’t go with anything. Follow the stylist’s formula: 60% investment pieces, 20% basics and 20% trend items.

Build a scarf wardrobe. Never was there a handier accessory to have in your wardrobe! Know why I love them so much? Because scarves can take the place of a necklace (and are easy to find, and much cheaper than jewelry), they add a pop of color or tie in another color to pull your outfit together, they create different necklines to recreate outfits, they can be used for warmth in winter or as a light shoulder covering in summer, and they keep you warm when traveling in air-conditioning –like your own blanket to put over your knees!

You can add a flower brooch to your scarf to give your outfit real individuality. Some specialty shops have flowers with safety pins underneath or a clip that can be worn in your hair. Online video tutorials will show you hundreds of ways to ties scarves. Here’s my favourite tutorial to help you bring out your creative side:

Build a scarf and accessory wardrobe. Store all your bits ‘n pieces in handy clear hanging pouches for inspiration!

So, what’s stopping you? Go forth and layer! Go forth and accessorize! The options are endless and you’ll be wearing so much more of your wardrobe season in and season out!

Erica Jones