How to Make Your Summer Wardrobe Fall-Ready (with what’s already in your closet!)



Fall 2007 Bottega Veneta Runway

I think it’s safe to say we are officially smack dab in the middle of what’s called “the dog days of summer.” With temperatures climbing into the near triple digits, the cool, crisp days of fall are far from our minds. Tell that to the fashion mags, which are currently full-swing into their fall trend reports. Right now, those photos of chunky sweaters, tweed jackets, and wool skirts can make anyone sweat. But not at the thought of wearing such things in the middle of a heat wave; for dedicated fashion followers, the first sight of a heavy knit in a magazine means it’s time to embark upon the daunting task of stocking up on fall wardrobe essentials.

But it’s not as tough as you may think – it’s as simple as taking the summer staples you already have and integrating them into your fall ensembles. So don’t sweat it – here’s how to keep your wardrobe cool from summer into fall.

1. Layer, Layer, Layer!

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Layers at Marc Jacobs Fall 2007 and Kate layering it right!

The easiest way to transfer your clothes from summer to fall is layering. Not only is it a practical way to ward off chilly temps, it also happens to be fashionable, as seen on Marc Jacobs Fall 2007 runway (i.e. blazers over vests and silk blouses, skirts over thick, black tights). So, don’t pack up your tanks, tees, and minidresses just yet. Here’s a few ways your summer favorites can be reincarnated into fall looks:

  • A white, lace cami under a fitted jean or corduroy jacket.
  • Bermuda shorts with tall, knee-high boots.
  • A short trapeze dress over thick, wool tights.
  • A long, tunic-style tank under a wrap sweater.
  • Your fave summer tee under a cropped, tweed jacket.

2. Today’s Summer Threads, Tomorrow’s Fall Trends

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You know those fall trends you’ve already been eyeing up in Vogue? Plaids from Marc by Marc Jacobs, heavy knits from Stella McCartney, tailored suits from Jil Sander, to name a few? You probably think you have to go and max out the ‘ol credit card to land these looks. Think again- you can start building your fall wardrobe with summer pieces already in your closet. Stock up with a few on-trend extras, and your fall wardrobe will fall right into place.

  • Menswear. You loved wearing stripes all summer, working that nautical trend, and stripes are still going strong for fall. To update your stripes, try a long-sleeved, striped knit shirt under a black vest to dabble in fall’s prevailing Annie Hall-inspired menswear trend. To get the look, take your striped boatneck tee and pair it with Rag & Bone’s Waistcoat Vest ($180 at

  • Romantic Details. When you think of romance, spring is usually the season that comes to mind, but this year, it’s going to be a very romantic fall. Think small bows and lots of ruffles. So, take your favorite basic tank from summer and combine it with a puff-sleeved blazer or one that ties with a big, feminine bow, like Victoria Secret’s ruffle-front jacket ($88 at or one with ruffles that skim the bottom, like Anthropologie’s Peplum Jacket ($98 at
  • Cozy Sweaters. No surprise here, but warm, chunky sweaters were seen all over the fall runways. And believe it or not, it is possible to take a wintry wool sweater and mix it with summery shorts. Wear a chunky fisherman’s-style sweater with khaki Bermuda shorts and knee-high brown boots for a classic, comfy fall look. Stella McCarney (the queen of knits this season) has just the right cropped cable knit sweater for this look ($995 at Or try a soft wool sweater with chunky details and bell sleeves from Bloomingdale’s ($189 at
  • Plaid. This fall, it seems everyone is mad for plaid, whether it’s a skirt, a coat, or a newsboy cap. Try pairing a basic black tank with a black wrap sweater and a tartan plaid, kilt-style skirt to channel fall’s top trend, the English schoolgirl look. Start it off with Jean Paul Gaultier’s Tartan plaid skirt ($955 at Or Try Diane VonFurstenberg’s “Throne Hunter” plaid coat ($465 at over a skimpy summer minidress.
  • Still have lots of last fall’s pieces stashed in your closet? You can wear almost all of them again as they will still be popular, like wrap sweaters, tweeds, voluminous capes, and herringbone blazers.

3. Store Some Summer Pieces
Even though today we live in a society where there’s an “anything goes” fashion philosophy, there are still just a few rules to live by when it comes to fall (this does not include the “Never wear white after Labor Day” rule – feel free to wear white whenever you darn well please!). A few summer trends that may look out of place are:

  • Eyelet
  • Sheer, see-through materials
  • Beachy prints (don’t let me catch you with seashells on anything come September!)
  • Lightweight materials like linen and seersucker

So, when it comes to your wardrobe, abandon your usual “Out with the old, in with the new” philosophy. This fall, make your old summer staples work with your new fall favorites. After all, there’s nothing that says you can’t wear your beloved Chip & Pepper t-shirt well into February, just as long as you pair it with your warm and wooly Marc Jacobs peacoat to avoid frostbite…blue is so not your color.

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