My Favorite Seasonal Transitional Items (Or, What I Wear When A Heat Wave Hits And I’ve Packed Up All Your Summer Clothes)

September was going swimmingly, with beautiful sunny yet cool days, crisp yet easygoing breezes and that pleasantly perfect balance of things being just warm enough to go without jackets but comfortable enough for a light jacket or coverup. In other words: perfect fashion weather! I was in heaven.

This week, though, we got a dose of July in September, with a spell of 90-plus degree weather and humidity. Ugh! And judging from the forecast, it doesn’t look set to let up until next week. What’s a lady to do? Dig up her summer clothes? Or just sort of improvise?

I definitely leaned hard on my ‘transitional’ items in trying to dress for this heat wave. The great irony is that transitional items are usually mixed in with the rising season’s staples. But this week was outfits that were all transition, all the time. It made me consider what exactly was a transitional item, and just what a quiet yet crucial role they can play in a wardrobe.

Great transitional items are tricky. They have to bridge two often very different seasons when it comes to climate — at least for those of us in the U.S. that aren’t down south below a certain latitude. Their color scheme has to blend in with, say, the brighter or lighter colors of summer with the richer, darker ones of fall. The materials have to be substantial enough and yet not too heavy, because what starts off as a lovely fall morning will often turn into a bit of summer in the late afternoon — only to return back to cool, easy fall in the evening.

Anyway, here’s what I leaned on for this heat wave, and what my closet transitional MVPs are:

The tank top in a transitional color with the mesh-covered midi skirt

For most people, a good transitional tank would be a neutral color. But I’m a girl who loves color, really, and I love the deep burgundy, wines and rusts of fall. I got this Fabletics tank at the beginning of the summer because it was cotton but with cutaways that provided nice ventilation, and I thought the color would work nicely with a cardigan or duster come fall. (Here’s a similar one from Koral.) I paired it with a mesh midi skirt (also Fabletics) that I also planned on using as a transitional piece — it’s basically a mini overlaid with a cloth mesh midi-length layer. (I got it last fall; it works great with semi-cropped sweaters!) Then I paired it with my new favorite ankle boots.

These boots

I could wear these ankle boots with anything in my closet! (You can see ’em in the pic way up top.) I got them at Kohl’s, believe it or not, with some Kohl’s Cash. I was looking for a non-black pair of ankle boots that I could actually chase a toddler down with, so this is what I found. They’re just high enough to add height but not so high that they’re crippling. But I also like them because the dusty grey is a nice bridge between summer and fall. My feet are on the warmer side in ankle boots, but honestly, this summer I was very much like, ‘Man, whatever, I love boots and I’ll wear them in the summer no matter what!’ Of course, now that we’re in a heat wave, I wear them with every single outfit.

The short-sleeved super-basic dress

Nearly all of my summer dressed are packed away. But even if I still had a few out, they’re all summery, with bright colors and funky prints that are way more July than September. Really, the only dress that works in a heat wave was the one short sleeved dress still in my closet — a super-basic wrap dress that I basically bust out for my more conservative occasions. (Mine is a super old one from Old Navy that’s lasted a surprisingly long time; here is a similar one from Michael Kors that’s in a maxi length.) To make it a little less basic, I wore them with my ankle boots, because they make everything just a tad more rock ‘n rollish and more autumnal, even when it’s sweltering outside.

The ‘I give up, it’s so freaking hot’ outfit

Of course, sometimes you are just like, ‘Man, it’s 95 degrees out and I just want to wear something that lets me not be so hot!’ So you dig up a pair of Forever 21 cutoffs and an Everlane t-shirt and go with it. But again: ankle boots. Boots are basically my protest statement against summer, like “I will not give it to your hot temperatures and awful humidity!” (Although basically I already did…) At this point, these heat wave outfits are basically “Knockaround stuff in my closet.” Heat wave, I officially give up!

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