Fall Fashion: What to Wear When the Weather Gets Weird


The calendar says it’s sweata weatha. It’s fall. But it was 75 degrees yesterday. The weather can be so unpredictable this time of year. So, what are we supposed to wear? I left my house in a sweater and boots recently. It was 82 degrees at my daughter’s field hockey game. I drove home, sweating, and it wasn’t even a hot flash. The same thing happened a few days later only my weather app went from 72 to 48.

Who wants to wear a wool sweater when it’s 79? Or a sundress when it’s 50? Nobody wants to feel like a Fashion Don’t. It’s fall after all. So what’s a girl to do?

Living in Rhode Island for 16 years, I have learned a thing or two about dressing for the seasons. I’ve gathered some tips that come from personal experience and sprinkled in some advice from my fashionista blogger friend, Audrey Couto McClelland of Mom Generations below.

Fall wardrobe tips:
1. Ease into the season. Don’t start wearing your heavy parka just yet. Save that puffy piece for shoveling season. Switch it up for a lighter jacket. Think leather, denim or a colorful windbreaker on game days.
2. Welcome the season with color. Just because it’s warm out one day doesn’t mean you can’t get excited about the season. Why not wear a fitted tee or light sweater in plum or burnt orange? If those colors don’t appeal to your color-me-beautiful wheel, try something in navy or a deep red.
3. Layer it up. The best way to avoid the uncomfortable onslaught of warmer weather in the afternoon? Wear layers. I’m not talking about unfashionable layers like the ones you remember wearing on vacation as a kid. Try these on for size:
a. Pair a cute top under a long cardigan.
b. Wear a long sleeve top over a dress with boots.
c. Pull a jacket over a short-sleeved sweater and jeans.
4. Give yourself options. Keep some options in your car or office so you still look put together even after the temperature changes. I keep my trench coat in my trunk along with an extra pair of ballet flats just in case.
5. Don’t sweat it. Workout clothes can still look nice when you add a little oomph. After I finish Pilates class, I like to keep a long sweater cardigan in my bag along with a pair of boots. That way, I’m feeling dressed for the weather and ready for what the rest of the day brings.
6. When in doubt, wear a dress. Audrey says if you’re in need of an easy dress this fall, she has one you can count on this season. She bought one on Amazon for $24.99 a few weeks ago (it comes in a variety of colors). She had it in a ball in her suitcase from a recent trip and tossed it on for a conference and it looks great. True to size.
7. Sherpa style. Audrey also recommends a trendy black and white buffalo check plaid Sherpa pull over, available at Abercrombie. Pull one of these over a cute top and jeans and you’re good to go.
8. Dress it up or down. Audrey features fun how-to videos on her Fashion Over 40 site. One of my favorites shows five ways you can wear a black dress and it really fits with the fall season. Pull a denim shirt over a dress. Toss on a wool wrap. I also like her idea of pairing a dress with a cozy sweater cardigan – she recommends an adorable one from H&M.

9. Pattern Appeal. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns this season. Audrey gives us permission on this too, yay. My thinking: You can wear a plaid wrap over a floral dress as long as they are in the same color family. For more tips on what to do when it comes to mixing it up, check out this helpful article.
10. Make it last through the seasons. Some pieces in your wardrobe CAN go from summer to fall. If you have a dark top that’s meant for the summer, try pairing it with a denim or tweed jacket and it gives it a whole new look.
11. Cropped. My favorite style of jeans right now is a cropped skinny jean. When there’s fringe on the bottom, it’s even better. Whether you start the day with rain boots or end it with heels, they work with just about any ensemble. I love pairing these with leather or suede boots too.

Enjoy the fall and enjoy expressing yourself with your own style!

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Jackie Hennessey is a Rhode Island mom who honestly gets what other mothers go through. Having worked full-time, part-time, and been a stay-at-home mom too, she sees motherhood from a variety of angles. And thankfully, with a sense of humor. Jackie blogs about her take on motherhood and mid-life at ventingsessions.com and writes about it in her award-winning gift book, How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker. Jackie is a native Texan with some roots and relatives in Rhode Island. (She's a NASA kid and her Houston accent usually comes out when she's blasting Willie Nelson in the car.) She has more than two decades of experience in public relations and journalism and holds a BA in journalism from Texas A&M University, where she received the “Best Aggie-Life writer” award. (She still has the tacky maroon plaque in her home office to prove it.) Jackie was a cast member of the 2013 and 2017 Listen to Your Mother Shows, where she formed lasting bonds with the incredible women she shared the stage with in honor of Mother’s Day. Her writing has been featured in The Barrington Times, the book Mommy Diarist and blogs like Scary Mommy and BluntMoms. She has donated her PR expertise to many local non-profits from Arts Alive to Dress for Success since launching her professional pr consultancy in 2006. When she’s not writing, consulting, volunteering, ubering her kids around, vacuuming up dog hair or folding laundry while binge-watching Netflix, she likes to vent with dear friends over cheese dip. Jackie is married to her high school sweetheart and they live in Barrington, Rhode Island with their two teens and three fluffy and friendly Golden Retrievers.