Managing Trans-Seasonal Dressing

Artwork by Erin Fitzhugh Gregory

The change of season is a frustrating time wardrobe-wise. One day it is warm, and the next, cold. It sometimes even seems as if there are a number of seasons in a single day. Mornings and evenings can be downright chilly even if the middle of the day is pleasant, so we frequently end up being inappropriately dressed for the temperature!

Also, limited closet space forces most of us to separate summer and winter wear, and swop them around every 6 months. This is a job I personally find very time-consuming, and so tend to put off as long as possible. So is there a solution?

Aim for a trans-seasonal wardrobe containing garments that can, with different styling, be worn both in summer and winter. For example, a long sleeved white shirt and jeans can be worn with sleeves pushed or rolled up or left down, legs cuffed or not, and accessorized with boots or sandals, and layered with a camisole, a sweater or a trench coat, according to the temperature.

Layer dressing

Layering is a key strategy here. Think for instance of a light strappy dress worn over a T-shirt, or under a vest. Tights, boots and a sweater or coat will extend wear further into winter. The added plus is that layers can be removed should the day turn out warmer than you anticipated when leaving home.

Various bloggers have emphasized the importance of accessories (a large scarf that can double as a wrap is on almost everyone’s list of trans-seasonal must-haves). Basic garments ideally serve as a neutral background against which the season is recognized through imaginative styling. One can then spend money on high quality basics that will last, as accessories are typically not very expensive and can be changed according to trend or time of year.

Items that lend themselves well to multi-seasonal use are jeans, shirts, fine knitwear, skirts and dresses, a blazer, ankle boots, a leather jacket, sneakers, T-shirts, a trench coat and cardigans.

One dress, summer to winter

More and more designers are embracing trans-seasonality as part of the movement towards reducing overconsumption. Tara St James of Study NY, for example, specializes in “seasonless” attire.

Being able to navigate seasons with ease, also extends to one’s choice of fabric. Jonathan SaundersMark FastRichard Nicoll, Christopher Raeburn and Holly Fulton have all collaborated with The Woolmark Company to showcase light Cool Wool fabrics demonstrating the trans-seasonal nature of Merino wool.

Holly Fulton               Richard Nicoll                  Mark Fast

Denim is also an all-season favourite.

As prospective designers/fashion practitioners or as consumers, all of us can contribute towards eliminating waste in the fashion industry. It only takes a small change of habit.

And if it simplifies my life and wardrobe, I am all for it!

My personal take on trans-seasonal dressing: Chiffon skirt, denim jacket, tights and boots