In Wisconsin, where I'm from, you never know when fall will try to get a jump on winter. One day it's 80º F and humid, the next it's 40º F and rainy. Then you're back to sunny and 70º F and everything is wonderful. But then it's the beginning of October and — wait, are those snowflakes on the windshield?
That's why, for unpredictable transitional periods like this, I rely on these five pieces more than anything else in my wardrobe.
Warmer than a standard flannel, less bulky than a jacket, a sherpa-lined men's flannel shirt is perfect for tossing over your long-sleeve tee or mock when it's chilly — or for throwing in the car if it might be chilly later. I like to keep mine draped over my office chair, too, for Mondays when the heat hasn't quite kicked in.
Much like #1, this one's less bulky than your typical jacket and easy to keep handy. Fleece's warming power comes mostly from trapping your own body heat, so though it doesn't look like much, rest assured — a men's fleece jacket can keep you toasty in a pinch.
For the days when the wind has a little extra bite and those raindrops look suspiciously like snow, reach for a down vest. Put it over your fleece jacket, and you'll be able to handle whatever trick Wisconsin fall tries to play on you, no matter how cruel. The best part is you'll still look like you're dressed for fall and not like you're about to go on an arctic excursion (save your men's down parkas for actual winter, please).
If you're not up for layering and just want to be moderately ready for whatever the weather decides to do next, invest in a couple midweight men's sweaters. You'll be warm enough to get by for a short time outdoors if the weather skews chilly, and you won't overheat if temps turn out to be mild.
You didn't think we were going to skip this one, did you? It's been quite a rainy year for us here in Wisconsin — you may have heard of the Madison flooding — so we've all been keeping our men's rain jackets close by. I like to go for something light and packable, like our waterproof rain jacket that packs into its own pocket. I can toss it in my bag or car and never get caught off guard by a downpour.
So there you have it, folks. You can't always predict the weather, but if you have the right gear, you don't need to. You'll be ready to handle whatever comes next.