Summer dress with fall scarf

How To Wear Your Favourite Summer Clothes in Fall

There are still some nice summer days left but, let’s face it, it will soon be over. We don’t really want to put away our summer dresses in September. Well, never mind, they can easily be combined with transition pieces to continue wearing them in the fall. And I might add… whoever decreed that you don’t wear white after Labor Day was wrong! Not all white clothes are equal, but, most of the time, it’s just a matter of styling them.  The same thing applies to pastels.

To illustrate how to transition summer clothes, I chose three dresses from my wardrobe that I paired with different pieces to create outfits that are suitable for fall.


Layers are obviously the easiest way to transition your summer clothes to wear them in the fall. Pairing more “substantial” pieces with lighter clothing adds a bit of warmth and comfort. It also adds a fall vibe.

Several combinations can help to extend the life of summer pieces in your wardrobe. A cardigan on a floral dress or a jacket on a camisole are perfect matches for those days when the temperature may rise during the day. This is the great advantage of “layering”, you can add some thicknesses or take them off as needed. A knitted sweater on a sleeveless or short-sleeved shirt allows you to wear them all year round. Although it doesn’t always work, wearing a long-sleeved sweater under a sleeveless top can also be an interesting alternative.

One of my favourite pairings: leggings under a dress or skirt. Total comfort! As a bonus, if you have leggings with a certain level of compression, it hides the belly under a tight dress. It’s also ideal for those times when you want to wear your beloved wrap dress on a windy day… I recommend the Capri length, especially to continue wearing sandals. That said, to wear with boots, the long version is also perfect.

Black and White dress paired with black Capri length legging from Zyia Active. Cascading cardigan, Le Château; obi belt, Karina Mercier; shoes, Zinda.


In the same vein, tights are also great to wear with dresses and skirts for fall transition. It’s a classic, isn’t t? You can choose it opaque or diaphanous, black or coloured, plain or printed, depending on your mood and the look you’re after. It is also interesting to pair them with shorts!

Here I wear black lace tights with a short romper. I also added a black long sleeve top underneath. Romper, Muse par Christian Chenail; top, H&M; tights, unknown; shoes, Neosens.

An essential accessory for fall, the scarf is very useful to bring a fall vibe to an outfit. Long, square, infinity, shawl… the variations are endless and so are the ways to wear each one of them. Just experiment and try different ways to drape and tie them.

As for belts, braided cotton will be replaced by dark leather or fabric and will preferably be wider. I have a soft spot for obi-style belts, they’re so easy to wear with a dress or over a jacket.

This is one of my favourite belts, here in a faux suede. It’s so versatile! I’ve matched it here with a knitted cardigan in a lilac colour that echoes the one in the print. Cardigan, knitted by me (Featherweight cardigan pattern, Knitbot by Hannah Fettig); obibelt, Karina Mercier


The same principles apply to jewelry. Go for volume and elegance rather than lightness. Don’t forget that the idea here is to make a summer garment more fall-like. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear some type of jewelry for fall. It depends on what you’re wearing, to begin with.

Here, a jersey motorcycle-style jacket and a multi-strand necklace tone done the summery feel of the maxi dress. Jacket, Suzy Shier; necklace, Andrée Tétrault.


Although sandals are always in order if it’s hot, a closed-toe shoe or a boot is better to give a fall touch to your outfits. The open-toe boot represents the concept of transition in itself so it’s the perfect time to wear them. The same goes for openwork shoes or boots.

Shoes by Neosens

I love knee-high boots that are well fitted to the leg. They are a great match with a dress. Tights are optional, depending on the temperature. Tall boots can also create a bold or sexy look when worn with shorts.

Combat boots, Dr. Martens style, are also a favourite for autumn. They always look good with jeans and sports pants but can also bring a rebellious touch to your short clothes.

I like to wear this dress with light beige and gold sandals in summer but also like to pair it with my beloved Doc Martens for Fall. Dress, made by me (Vogue pattern 8379); cardigan, Zenana Outfitters; boots, Dr. Martens.

Colours and materials

The first key when adapting your summer clothes to fall: colours! Some summer clothes that are neutral or dark will be easy to wear, even late in the season. However, lighter colours, pastels and even small floral prints can also be part of the transition. You have to wear them with pieces that are bolder or richer in colour.

Choose warm autumn colours such as mustard yellows, bright oranges or browns for example. Of course, you can’t go wrong with black, navy and charcoal as they will match almost any shade. Jewel tones, the rich and deep colours of gemstones, are also to be considered. They can be easily matched with their pastel counterparts, plain or printed. They will also go well with white or khaki.

The second key, the materials! Thicker and more fluffy fabrics, soft and luxurious, will bring the desired autumn touch. Think soft knits, velvet, leather and suede as well as their faux versions in textile or synthetics. Be careful not to juxtapose very light and playful summer fabrics with something too heavy or downright made for winter.

Patterns and prints

Some patterns just represent fall. Think of plaids, for example. These patterns can therefore be an asset for the transition wardrobe. Again, avoid strong contrasts as these types of patterns will, most of the time, be used on heavy or woolly materials. Some of them just won’t work with pieces that are too summery.

Animal prints can also update your summer basics for pumpkin latte season. But they have to be used sparingly. Only one piece of clothing or as an accent with accessories.

A touch of leopard print can add a luxurious touch to your outfits and add warmth to light colours. Small bandana scarf with ring, Karina Mercier; white dress, Muse par Christian Chenail.

Be Creative

Summer is so short, we don’t get to wear our lighter clothes that much right? But, as you can see, there’s no need to stash away your summer clothes on Labor day! It’s easy to mix them up with keys pieces to extend their presence in your wardrobe. Be creative and try different ways to style them so you can keep wearing your favourite summer clothes a little longer.

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