Casual Pieces for the Summer to Fall Transition

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From Left, Mango Sheer Cotton Blouse ($40) // Mossimo Cap Sleeve Vest ($28) // Pink Patterns Scarf ($60) // T by Alexander Wang T-Shirt Dress ($89) // Current Elliott Skinny Jeans ($216) // Madewell Transport Tote ($168) // ALC Striped Pullover ($330) // D. Perkins Pleated Maxi ($55)

The fall to summer transition is right around the corner, and what a weird time for my closet.  I desperately want to wear chunky knits and tall boots because the calendar says September, but D.C. weather is more appropriate for sandals and cotton dresses.  This morning, I want to talk a bit about the transition pieces that get me through the odd weather, starting with my casual wardrobe.

First Column.  This lightweight cotton top is a great layering piece.  You can wear it alone tucked into jeans or chinos, or put if with a cardigan, blazer or vest.  I like this Mango top, but I’d also look at this more expensive top from Equipment and this under-$75 blouse from Dockers.  And since you’ll probably need a cami to wear underneath, I like the Shimera brand from Nordstrom.

For outerwear, I thought I might take a page out of Miss M’s playbook and try a vest.  This inexpensive Mossimo piece is a great way to indulge in a trend without morning after regrets.  I also like the styling on this Ralph Lauren vest (higher collar, longer cut).  You could also go for a full field jacket like this distressed Madewell number, or this inexpensive Old Navy piece.

Not sure how to wear it?  Layer over the cotton blouse with jeans, or over a light sweater.  You can also wear it over your summer sundresses with a flat boot.

Second Column.  Did you buy a t-shirt dress this summer?  Well, you’re in luck because it is one of my favorite fall layering pieces.  I like the slouchy look of this Alexander Wang tee and this James Perse dress.

I also like lightweight scarves for year-round wear.  My favorite brand is lovequotes, but J.Crew and Banana Republic also have some nice choices this season.

Third Column.  I’m really feeling distressed jeans for some reason.  I think it’s because all of my jeans are “work appropriate” (dark washes, bootcut, slim cut, etc.), and I want something that’s just casual.  I also found these J.Crew jeans, but I’m not sold on the wash.  And I may do the responsible thing and either pick up a cheaper pair or distress an old pair of my own jeans.

I carry my shopper tote more than I carry my satchels these days, esp. on the weekends.  This Madewell tote is a good replacement for the discontinued IIIBeca tote that I carry.  I also like this $50 tote from Poverty Flats, it comes in a lot of lovely colors.

Fourth Column.  A light sweater is a great option for chilly nights.  You can wear it with shorts or a skirt, or over a maxi tank dress.  I like this stripe, but you could also try a chunkier open knit or a sheer linen blend.

Lastly, if you want to preserve the breezy look of summer for a bit longer, a maxi skirt will keep you covered on chilly days but give you the lightness you’re looking for.  This Dorothy Perkins skirt comes in several colors, I’m also digging the bright yellow.  This pewter grey from BCBG is also phenom, or channel your inner Sienna Miller with a boho-chic peasant skirt.

So what are you craving for the early fall?  And make sure to check back later today for a few office appropriate transition pieces.



  1. Janine Boyd says:

    Wow, you must have read my mind…I was hoping you would post something about summer to fall transition pieces! Thanks…your site is awesome!!

    July 31, 2013/Reply
  2. Ann E. says:

    Is there anyway to keep the pleats in chiffon dresses skirts if you have to wash or dry clean them?

    July 31, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Dry Cleaners should put them back in. If you’re washing at home, plastic paper clips will hold them.

      July 31, 2013/Reply
  3. ginger says:

    I see the ON jacket is sold-out. I’m not always keen on spending big for weekend/casual jackets, ON often has a good value. I say that, with the caveat that you’ve always got to try them on, the fit can be unpredictable.

    July 31, 2013/Reply