By Emma Korstanje
As far as the four seasons are concerned, it is no secret that fall dominates in the scenic beauty department. Boasting a crisp wind that is more of a friendly acquaintance than continuous nag, gardens bursting with various colorful squashes and the famed ever-changing leaves that leave one with a desire to pursue a career in watercolor, this transition season successfully makes the journey from summer to winter a pleasant one.
Unfortunately, these changes come at a cost and even more unfortunately, this cost can only be paid with sacrifices of the wardrobe sort. As the flowy bohemian dresses and perfectly lived-in sandals of summer are banished to Narnia, or at least a bin in the attic, staying en Vogue becomes more and more difficult and the temptation of leggings and a large t-shirt becomes all too real.
“When the weather starts changing, it takes me longer to decide what to wear,” says Lauren Page, a freshman early childhood education major from Savannah. “The temperature varies so much throughout the day, and that makes picking outfits hard.”
In this concern, Page is not alone. The struggle of finding an outfit that is equally fashionable as it is practical can seem an impossible task when greeted with chilly, deceiving mornings that fade into warm afternoons in the sun. Dressing for the weather itself is difficult, let alone attempting to maintain a personal style.
This introduces the age-old question on every fashion lover’s mind—how does one create a transition wardrobe to match this transition season? Luckily, the trends of this season do a perfect job of simplifying this seemingly daunting task. Basic layering of pieces has taken on a whole new form, improving the overall balance of looks. A resurgence of styles pulled straight from the past three decades is here and refusing to be ignored, bringing an exciting edge to the Athens runway. Overall, with the aid of a few choice pieces, obtaining a desirable transition wardrobe is entirely too possible.
The first key to fall dress is mastering the ancient art of balance, in outfit creation at least. This balance is referring to achieving the perfect combination of warm weather clothing and cool weather clothing: summer and winter. This is a task made easy with the rising popularity of blazers and trench coats outside of the business and rainy day circles. The pairing of either of these pieces with a comfortable t-shirt dress is a sublime example of this idea, while also adding an edge that the normal cardigan and dress combination wouldn’t reach. This concept of balance could also apply to combinations such as sweaters with skirts, or if a determination to not give up crop tops is present, lighter weight shirts with a favorite pair of jeans (extra points for “boyfriend” cut jeans, a disheveled style blowing up the runways) will work. The juxtaposition of warm and cold is a great solution to the dilemma of changing weather.
Mirroring what nature does every fall, fashion also changes its colors and patterns as the days grow shorter and cooler. A color palette that mimics the season emerges, heavily featuring reds, yellows, browns, oranges, purples and greens. This year in particular, olive green has been a strong contender in many fashion spreads, as well as strong pops of color like deep red accents.
Playing with texture is also a great way to add some excitement to an outfit, and this season the most valuable players are denim, fringe and leather. Denim is back with a vengeance, appearing in a very early 2000s fashion in jackets, skirts, dresses and ripped jeans that put the infamous Hollister version to shame.
“I enjoy fringe because it’s more of a boho, laid back style,” says Kristina Caldwell, a freshman biology major from Suwanee. “It can go with anything.”
This sentiment is clearly shared by many as this Western version of shredded fabric is a staple in many wardrobes. Leather is also a good texture to mix up an otherwise dull outfit, and autumn weather is the perfect time to debut it as the temperature is cool enough to be comfortable but not so cold that the generally not insulated fabric is too little protection.
Of course, accessories cannot be forgotten. This season, mixed metals and an emphasis on gunmetal shades is ever present. Also, although the minimalism that dominated the summer months is still very popular in jewelry, an appreciation for chunkier statement pieces to match the heavier clothing is gaining ground in the fashion industry along with many layered pieces to create a sort of carefree style. As far as handbags, over the shoulder bags are sported by many bohemian-chic stylists as a wardrobe necessity.
Last, but most certainly not least, shoes can be one of the best transition pieces for an outfit. Some of the clear forerunners of the season are ankle height boots, also referred to as “booties,” and the simple strappy stilettos with an ankle strap that seem to dominate all of those outfit-of-the-day Pinterest posts. “Sneakers with a dress is one of my go-to outfits,” says Alison Luther, a freshman cellular biology major from Suwanee, pointing out one of the more unexpected but still popular options. “It’s cute, but still practical for a student.” This combination, as well as Birkenstocks with socks, are standing out as popular pieces this fall. These sometimes overlooked bits of apparel can take an outfit from okay to amazing with just one click of the heels.
The weather’s transition to fall is a beautiful process, triggering a change in wardrobe to accommodate it. These suggestions reflect what could be considered the trending topics of the fashion industry and while helpful in the process, the most important key to a successful outfit is the confidence to rock it. With just a few select pieces and a belief in one’s own personal style, the summer to winter transition season can be some of the most enjoyable months on the Athens runway.