As the end of August approaches, students and parents alike must face the reality that another school year will begin. Among the 36 pencils and 12 glue sticks, everyone also shops for a back-to-school wardrobe, followed by a relaxed perusal of clothing as they get ready for the chaggim a couple of weeks later. This year, however, the two events overlap, with students barely unpacking their backpacks before breaking for Rosh Hashanah. As if that isn’t hectic enough, with the holidays coming early, it feels as though there’s almost no point to trying to shop for fall wardrobes when summer is still around. So what’s a family to do?
Welcome to “transitional fashion,” the term given to accessories or specific items of clothing that can spruce up an outfit instead of buying a whole new wardrobe. When the weather out here goes from “Why is it still summer in September?” to “When did fall start?” in a matter of 24 hours, here are some ways to make sure your summer wardrobe is instantly updated for fall. You and your outfit will also enjoy choices that are ready for warm weather during this early September Yom Tov that still evokes an autumn look.
Short sleeves, shorts, sleeveless sundresses or any classically “summer” outfits can still be worn into fall with minor adjustments, often using pieces of clothing already in your closet. A sleeveless top with slacks instead of shorts, or a cardigan over a sundress can “winterize” a wardrobe. For those who wear longer skirts and sleeves year round, it is sometimes difficult to design a wardrobe to highlight the differences in details between spring/summer and fall/winter. Carly’z Craze, a Teaneck clothing store serving girls and women, knows that there is a wide variety of fashion interests in the greater North Jersey community, and always stays on top of the trends to help their customers. The upcoming holidays keep all retailers busy and they are no exception. Because of the early timing, they also look to transition pieces to help women and girls with a fresh fashion look.
“Since we sell modest wear, most of our summer clothing is already good for the transition to early fall,” said Carly’z Craze owner Alene Brodsky Bloom. “The fabrics remain light to medium weight, but new colors such as wine, mauve and olive are introduced. Many of the items found at Carly’z Craze are wardrobe staples and can be paired with key pieces in any season.
Sweaters can make some people feel overly warm just by mentioning them in August, but not all sweaters are as wintery as you might think. A top with a slighter thicker material and a darker color may not be as warm as a full-fledged sweater but can still look perfectly autumnal and keep body temperatures cool at the same time. Paired with pencil skirts or over a maxi dress, it can bring these wardrobe basics into winter.
Cardigans or fuzzy vests can also add a fall or winter look to an existing wardrobe. The benefit of these wardrobe pieces is that they can be added on for style, but removed if it gets too unbearably un-autumnlike in weather. Denim jackets and denim vests are not dressy, but are great ways to layer an outfit without adding too much heat.
Scarves were previously reserved for days when your neck needed to be protected from a chill, but for the past few years have become their own accessory. A lightweight infinity scarf or similar style looks like winter, but doesn’t have to feel like winter.
As much as everyone wants to utilize existing pieces to bridge the changing seasons, sometimes you just need to buy that perfect piece that works on its own. “All kinds of hoodie dresses with banded bottoms are happening too,” said Brodsky Bloom. “They have trendy detailing such as ring pulls on the zipper, bejeweled ties for the hood and striped banded trims. The fabrics are light for the in-between summer and true fall season.”
Some changes are subtle, but send a message that “cooler weather is coming (even if it isn’t quite here yet).” Swap out nude stockings for black tights, or if you’re not a stockings person to begin with, just add black tights, and that makes the entire ensemble fit for the impending cooler temps. Also, many outfits seem perfect for warm months, especially when worn with sandals or open-toed shoes. But the mere switch to closed shoes instead of the summer footwear can make outfits look less like summer and more like something to welcome fall. Also, the addition of suede adds that extra fall feeling. Suede belts, suede booties, suede purses and any other accessory (though not all at once, please) are great additions.
Often with clothing, more coverage signifies more warmth, and while maxi dresses may defy this rule, sleeve length and skirt length often follow suit. Carly’z Craze suggests pairing long-sleeve blouses with a longer-length summer bottom such as capris, pants, knee-length skirts, maxi skirts or midi skirts. “Midis are actually a great, fashionable transition item. They look great with a tee shirt, a knotted button down, a lightweight jacket or a chunky sweater,” Carly’z Craze recommended. With lightweight fabrics, the long lengths give the impression of a fall wardrobe ensemble, but with enough color and breezy fabric to work during the warmth of summer’s exit.
Transition times can be rough, on a budget and on comfort levels, but these suggestions from Alene Brodsky Bloom and her fashion team of Jodi Mead, merchandise manager; Judy Gellerstein; and Naomi Haberman can help everyone make the most of their wardrobe with just a few adaptations.
By Jenny Gans