When it comes to seasonal style, most people fall into two camps: those who want to eke one more wear out of their summer staples, bravely baring their arms when the windchill calls for fuzzy hats. On the other side: autumnal romantics who don scarves as soon as the temperature dips below 70, giddily mark their calendars for the return of pumpkin spice and whistle while prepping their swimsuits and flip flops for deep storage. Whether you’re summer-loving or a fall fanatic, we all have to contend with what to wear when transition is in the forecast.
The key to getting dressed for that fickle in-between season is layering. With a little planning, you can pull together effortless outfits that can just as easily be bundled up as peeled off. You’ll want to start by building looks around key foundational pieces, of which denim jeans are the best choice for their versatility and seasonless appeal. Raw, dark denim, like these classic straight and modern slim styles from Bluer Denim, pairs well with tops of both lightweight fabrics and heavier knits. Plus, denim can be dressed up or down so you can wear jeans to that client meeting or a stroll around the apple orchard. To help you get started, we’ve rounded up some looks to pair with your favorite jeans whatever the weather. And if you’re just looking for a little fall inspo to go with your pumpkin spice, consider these options for your harvest mood board:
Denim jeans plus:
1) Crisp white shirt
From screen legends to rock royalty, the classic white shirt is a mainstay. It’s gender neutral, doesn’t have to be expensive to look good and can be worn multiple ways with jeans. For warmer temperatures, layer a ribbed tank under and roll up the sleeves. When things start to cool, throw on an oversized cardigan. For either style, make sure you turn up a crisp cuff in your jeans to show off the selvage, a nice tie-in to the bright white of your button-up shirt.
2) More denim
Denim on denim may have been meme-ified thanks to some unfortunate pairings in the early aughts, but it can be incredibly polished when styled right. Even fashion editors are praising this modern nod to cowboy chic this season. However, to avoid looking like a costume, you’ll need to limit the western embellishments (hold the bandana and Tony Lama boots) and opt for a modern denim shirt cut in a slimmer fit in a contrasting tone to your denim jeans. Like the white shirt, it can be layered up or over depending on the weather.
3) A mix of high and low
One of the tenets of true street style is blending luxury pieces with accessible staples: think velvet top with jeans and high tops when it’s warm enough to go without a jacket or graphic t-shirt with a structured trench when you need one. The key to looking sophisticated not slapdash is to make sure the outfit is balanced. And it goes without saying, your “low” pieces should still be in good condition, i.e. clean and pressed.
It was truly liberating for corporate workers everywhere when jeans plus a blazer became acceptable office attire. The look is both approachable and professional and can be personalized based on your style preferences: keep it classic with herringbone, plaid or solid flannel or more contemporary with a bold print like leopard, stripes or even floral, all patterns that complement dark denim. Once again, the blazer can be layered over a lightweight top when the weather’s warmer or worn with a turtleneck or long-sleeved pullover when it gets colder.
Accessories are like the icing on the cake, a finishing touch to any outfit to make it truly your own. Fall is the perfect season to bust out a little more flair and with so many options: hats, gloves, scarves, there’s unlimited ways to layer on the warmth. With your denim outfit as the starting point, you can add personalized touches like a beanie or brimmed hat depending on if you’re feeling grunge or dapper. Scarves are a great way to add texture and color to any outfit, whether its a silk bandana tied around your neck or a muffler that’s loosely draped. If you lean towards monochromatic, i.e. all black or gray, a scarf with a cheeky print adds a shock of color and fun to even the most somber outfit. For gloves, choose a style that works for the weather and your lifestyle: fingerless for texting on-the-go or fully covered when the windchill is relentless.
It can be hard to say sayonara to summer, but fall offers a lot to celebrate: a rich palette of deep tones, an excuse to drink mulled wine and the opportunity to update your look, without having to undergo a full closet makeover. So grab those jeans, dust off your Chelsea boots and get ready to enjoy getting dressed again.