After months of bright maxi dresses for women, gauzy beach coverups, and structured fit and flare dresses, it’s nearly time to put the summer styles away for the season. But, the beginning of fall doesn’t have to mean the end of summer dress season. Instead, you can wear your go-to summer dresses with some of fall’s favorite accessories to create looks that are as warm as they are cute.
In fact, in an article for Marie Claire, authors Sara Holzman and Marina Liao stated that “fall fashion means figuring out how to layer.” This way, you can ensure you’re warm enough while getting the most out of the more summery items in your closet.
Here’s how to transition your summer dresses to fall.
By simply layering a women’s cardigan sweater over your favorite summer dress, you’ve instantly created a fall look that you can recreate week after week (until it gets too cold). Choose a cardigan sweater in a harmonious color that goes with many of the summer dresses in your wardrobe—you can try classic colors like navy, black, or cream, or try something a little more fun (and very autumnal) like olive green or maroon.
Once you have a cardigan you like, you’ll be all set to layer it over your summer dresses to create a casual, autumnal look that you can wear well into the season. You may even want to get yourself another cardigan so you can wear the look (dress plus cardigan) more than once a week.
By adding leggings to your summer dress look, you’ll instantly have an outfit that’s warm and ready for any fall outing. Keep in mind that this style looks best when worn with shorter summer dresses, ideally dresses that are knee length or shorter.
It’s also best to wear black leggings for this look, which will help keep the focus on your cute summer dress and not on your leggings. For shoes, try low booties or a pair of knee-high leather boots. For accessories, wear some dangly earrings or a bold necklace.
Nothing says fall more than lightweight jackets like denim jackets or a barn coat or a long khaki-colored trench. You can wear your favorite summer dress styles with a crisp jacket for an outfit that screams fall, and you can really wear any summer dress style to achieve this look. Fall coats look just as good with a maxi dress as they do with a midi dress.
Plus, this outfit is versatile. You can easily slip off your jacket if it gets too hot (like many fall days do) or throw it on when a breeze comes through.
For a football game or a day spent apple picking, simply put a fall-colored flannel button-down shirt on over a simple summer dress. You can try this look with a long black maxi dress or with a light knee-length summer dress in a color like tan or gray. Flannel shirts make anything they’re worn with look instantly autumnal, so they’re a great way to instantly transition a summer dress to fall.
This look is nice and casual and will easily allow you to run around after your kids or your grandkids or just spend a nice day outside without worrying about being uncomfortable.
Layering a turtleneck underneath a sleeveless or spaghetti-strapped dress is a great way to make your summer dress look more autumnal. According to the Marie Claire article, “to wear your summer pieces ... into the fall, slip a thin turtleneck sweater underneath.” This looks particularly good with a structured midi dress or with a slinky dress with spaghetti straps. You can slip on a pair of skin-toned tights and loafers to complete the look.
While cardigans and dresses may be a little expected, a turtleneck layered underneath a dress is an unexpected fall look that will likely have those around you wondering where you bought your outfit. So, don’t be afraid to flaunt what you’ve got a little when wearing this look.
The start of fall doesn’t mean you need to pack away your summer dresses until next year. Instead, you can simply layer some warmer items (sweaters, jackets, and more) to create a cozy outfit that you can wear well into the season. Plus, who doesn’t love a bright summer dress on a gray fall day?