13 Ways to Wear Your Summer Clothes During Fall

Because you don't have to retire those maxi dresses just yet.

Letting go of summer can be tough. While we're all pretty excited to get hot chocolates into our hands and bundle up in duvet-sized sweaters, it's still a little rough saying goodbye to those warm sunny days...and the outfits that came with them. There's something to be said about slipping a flower-sprigged dress on and accessorizing with a popsicle and being street style ready. 

But just because the wind is getting mean outside doesn't mean you have to pack away those airy, rock-candy hued pieces. You can still keep a little bit of summer with you even as you're ordering that pumpkin spice latte. How? By layering like a genius. Below are 13 clever ways to transition your summer clothes into fall - take note and hold onto those maxi dresses a little longer!

1. Dust Off Your Blazers

A summer dress can easily stick by you until November if you layer it up with a chic blazer. Choose a dark hued one (in black, navy, or grey) to root the frock in heavy fall colors, helping it blend into the new season. 

2. Use Your Boots To Help You Transition

Another great way to transition a summer dress is to contrast it with clunky fall boots. Knee highs look amazing with short minis (and act as makeshift leggings), but they also look interesting when matched with long maxis. The tough, leather feel of them juxtaposed against a sweet ankle-length dress makes for a bold and playful silhouette.

3. Layer Your Tunics

Tunic tops had a big moment this past summer, and lucky for us they're one amazing layering piece when it comes to fall. Simply button the tunic to the waist, layer a knit sweater on top, and let the hem flow out behind you, creating bold proportions in your look. 

4. Pop A Blouse Underneath Summer Jumpsuits

Where summer jumpsuits served us well over Sunday brunches on patios and friends' barbecues on apartment balconies, they'll do the job just as well holed up in coffee shops hiding from the nippy cold. Just layer a collared, long sleeve top underneath and pop a beanie on top to add a relaxed, cozy vibe. 

5. Work Those Collared Tops

Speaking of collared tops, they'll also work wonders for strapless dresses. Those aren't strictly June outfits anymore, not when you now have the option of adding a long sleeve into the mix. 

6. Sweater Up Your Shorts

Have a favorite pair of shorts that have served you faithfully from May to August? Keep the good times going by matching them with cozy knits. And if it gets to nippy for bare legs, just pop some tights underneath the thigh-grazing hemlines. Think about it: They're not that much different from skirts, and you wear those all winter long. 

7. Pair Your Summer Prints With Winter Colors

Maybe it's not so much a summer staple that you want to transition, but a summer print. Help blend your electric pattern with the sea of grey and black coats outside by matching it with darker, fall-appropriate hues. For example, in this look the poppy print was matched with a dark green and black sweater, mellowing the flash of bright orange. And the reason it doesn't feel too overwhelming is because the green in the knit blends with the green in the pants. It's balanced, and feels just as right bundled underneath a peacoat as it does partnered with sandals. 

8. Warm Up Your Summer Dresses With Knits

Do you have a great dress that can work as an equally amazing skirt? Pull an easy layering move and pop a sweater over it. You'll be cozy, and still get to wear those happy summer prints. 

9. Work Your Overalls With Long Sleeves

Overalls can easily transition into fall with the addition of a long sleeved sweater or blouse. Then swap out the sandals for a pair of booties and you're set to go stomp across leafy sidewalks. 

10. Match Summer Colors With Classic Winter Knits

Just because we're closer to winter than summer doesn't mean those popsicle-like hues need to be retired. Instead, pair them with winter classics to make them feel season appropriate. For example, match a bright skirt with a cozy patterned knit or a chunky, heavy turtleneck. The top half of the outfit will transition the summer color right into cold-weather territory. 

11. Dress Summer Pants With Heavy Layers

The same can be said about your summer pants. Don't pack away your whites and light greys just yet! Instead, pair them with bundled up peacoats and heavy, long scarves. If you layer up, your pants won't look (or feel!) out of place. 

(Pro tip: Are you worried you'll be cold in the thin material? Just be sure to add fleece tights underneath.)

12. Warm Up Short Sleeves With Elbow Length Gloves

Your fancier, evening-wear tops won't feel out of place if you pull a more avant garde layering move and match them with leather, elbow-length gloves. Not only do they add a pop of rich color, but they give off an Old Hollywood, Doris Day vibe.


13. Use Leather Jackets On Top Of Maxi Dresses

If you want more ways to layer your summer dresses than just knits and cardigans, try adding some texture instead with the form of a leather jacket. The same can be said for a suede motto jacket or velvet blazer, too - the trick is to focus on texture rather than color, and matching the summer pieces with a classic fall material like leather or suede gets the job done. Instant transition!

Marlen Komar is a writer living in Chicago with a penchant for mom jeans and kimchi tacos, and primarily writes about fashion history. She has bylines in Bustle, CNN Style, Racked, Allure, Curbed, and Apartment Therapy, and rarely stays in one place too long as she travels for most of the year. Website: marlenkomar.com