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Not ready to let go of some of your summer favorites, or to shell out big bucks on an entirely new wardrobe? The good news is you don't have to and, according to the pros, you probably shouldn't, but rather ease into the cooler weather with the help of a few tricks up your cardigan sleeve.
"It's important to smoothly transition your wardrobe between seasons as you want to be sure to dress appropriately for the weather, but still seamlessly stay on top of the season's trends," says Zadrian Smith, a celebrity stylist whose client roster includes Naomi Scott, Skai Jackson and Kathryn Newton.
The key is to build your wardrobe around foundation pieces, says Smith: “You’ll want to start with some great denim (I personally love Acne, Paige and Frame), crisp classic T-shirts or button-downs – think the styles of Lee Radziwill and Christy Turlington.”
Then, you’ll want to think about pieces that will transform your basics and elevate them to a new look. “A Levi's denim jacket thrown over your basics is the perfect get-up for a Sunday brunch with the girls," Smith explains. "If there’s someone special you're trying to impress, you may want to go with an oversized boyfriend blazer and stiletto pumps. This outfit shows you have style, but aren't a fashion victim.”
Now that you have some of the layering basics out of the way, read on for seven easy swaps you can make to kick-start your transition (pumpkin spice lattes not included).
1. What you have: a sundress
How to transition it: It may be getting darker earlier, but that doesn’t mean you need to retire your sundress completely, especially if it’s a darker shade. Just add a jean jacket and a pair of booties for the perfect day or concert look.
Levi’s Women’s Classic Trucker Jacket, $45, Amazon
Blondo Nando Waterproof Booties, $130, Zappos
2. What you have: a denim skirt
How to transition it: What’s so great about classics like denim is that it can be worn all year. Take your favorite jean mini or midi skirt to the next (warmer) level with a cozy knit sweater, tights and closed-toe clogs.
Asos Sweater in Fluffy Yarn with Crew Neck, $35, Asos
H&M 2-Pack 40 Denier Tights, $10, H&M
Dansko Women’s Maria Boot, $103, Amazon
3. What you have: a maxi dress
How to transition it: You lived in them all summer long (they’re perfect for running errands and look chic with a statement necklace). Keep the fun going by adding a cargo jacket to your long black dress (LBD) and replacing your flip-flops with some casual sneakers for a playful look that will take you through back-to-school season.
Old Navy Twill Field Jacket for Women, $45, Old Navy
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Low Sneaker, $50, Shoes.com
4. What you have: your favorite tank top or T-shirt
How to transition it: Avoid the cold shoulder (without having to ditch your signature knit) by tossing on a bomber jacket and swapping in skinny jeans for your shorts. You can also sub in cropped pants for a more polished setting.
Joe Fresh Women + Moto Jacket, $69, Joe Fresh
Lane Bryant Super Stretch Skinny Jean, $70, Lane Bryant
5. What you have: a jumpsuit
How to transition it: Jumpsuits were huge this season. If you’re not quite ready to give up your capri or long style, add a black blazer and pumps for a night out on the town.
H&M Fitted Blazer, $40, H&M
Cole Haan Eliza Grand Pump, now $90, Spring
6. What you have: a sleeveless sheath
How to transition it: Sheath and shift dresses are great for the office. Get more mileage out of yours (especially if it's made out of a more fall-friendly fabric such as wool or tweed) by layering it over a lightweight, sheer blouse when it gets too cool to go sleeveless. Add a pair of tights and your favorite shoes (heeled booties typically pair well) and you’re out the door in a flash.
H&M Long-Sleeved Blouse, $25, H&M (available in additional shades)
Gap Women’s Opaque Tights, $15, Gap
Honeydew Setback Heels, $160, Topshop
7. What you have: khaki capri pants
How to transition it: Don’t let the light shade fool you. You can still wear khaki capris (and especially cropped pants) after Labor Day, especially in the earlier part of September. Pair them with your favorite cardigan (bonus points if it comes in an earthy shade) and a pair of brown oxford heels for a quintessentially fall look that goes great with apple picking.
Chloe Knit Cardigan, $128, Anthropologie
L'Artiste by Spring Step Gabriel Wing Tip, $120, Shoes.com