Falling temperatures equals fashion confusion. Here's what to buy and wear now

The weather is cooling but we should be armed for all possibilities. Fashion editor Stephanie Smith has advice on trans-seasonal style.

M&S Collection trench coat, £99, at Marks & Spencer.

This year, it’s different. This August and September, we get to experience real trans-seasonal dressing, quite possibly for the first time ever.

Trans-seasonal style is the art of dressing to take account of a dip in temperature and a rise in unpredictable weather conditions. It means taking a fluid and flexible approach to our wardrobe, choosing items of clothing that can adapt to all conditions, and putting together complete looks using layerable pieces that can be added or removed.

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In practice, we in the UK are used to dressing in a trans-seasonal way for most of the summer, because our weather is always unpredictable. We need to keep handy those lightweight knits, jackets and oversized scarves as there is always a strong possibility that we will need them. So we should be pretty good at this already.

Grey marl knit jumper, £12.50, M&S Collection at Marks & Spencer.

But this year, we are in danger of being caught out. The summer has been spoiling us and we have been wearing strappy tops, breezy dresses and Bardot necklines for months. And sandals, so much so that some of us are wondering where on earth our toe-covering shoes and boots have got to.

It’s been brilliant, but the time has come to reach to the back of our drawers and wardrobes and dig out our winter clothes and accessories. Then, once we have seen what we have already got, we can decide what is lacking. This means we should be replenishing any classics that have seen better days, and introducing some fashion-conscious updates, inspired by this year’s autumn/winter trends.

It’s important to look forward, rather than backwards, when you are investing in new fashion, so wear your floaty summer skirt or midi dress, but team it with new autumn pieces – a check jacket, an oversized sweater, a statement white shirt would be examples.

A camel trench coat thrown over athleisure track-style trousers and tee is a perfect trans-seasonal look for right now. As the days get cooler, add a relaxed merino knit.

Oversized striped knit and floral hankerchief hem dress, both coming to Debenhams.

View this time as an opportunity to update the building blocks that underpin the sort of contemporary/classic daywear wardrobe that can carry us through every season. To this end, check out Marks & Spencer’s Foundation Edit which has 12 pieces in a neutral colour palette, including outerwear and layering separates, classic footwear and lingerie, with prices starting from £3.50 for a white cotton tee.


August 23: York Ladies’ Day.

September 8 & 9: Leeds Vintage Furniture & Home Fair, The Old Woollen, Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley, £2 entry. With 25 stalls of original vintage, devoted to the home. As it’s Heritage Weekend in Farsley, Sunny Bank Mills will be running guided tours and Open Studios, and (on Saturday morning) hosting an Aston Martin rally. Free parking available, disabled access, under 16s in free. See sunnybankmills.co.uk.

Jacket: £135; top, £55; jeans, £105. All by Betty Barclays at department stores.

September 8: Vintage fair at Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax, hosted by Yorkshire Vintage Fairs. Fabulous vintage fashions, accessories and homewares from the 1920s to the 1980s, plus live vintage vocalist, swing dance workshops and classic film screening of Some Like it Hot at the RIBA award-winning venue, right next door to The Piece Hall. See www.yorkshirevintagefairs.com.

September 8: Thirsk Ladies’ Day.

Now-Oct 26, 2018: Himalayan Fashion at Lotherton Hall, near Leeds. Entrance to hall and grounds, £7.50 (adults), see www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/lothertonhall.

Now to Sep 22, 2018: The T-Shirt: Cult Culture Subversion exhibition open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm (last admission 4.45pm). See www.barnsleycivic.co.uk.

Buttoned boilersuit, £85, due this month at Oliver Bonas.

Now-April, 2019: York Castle Museum: A Personal Collection of Vivienne Westwood Shoes.

M&S Collection trench coat, £99; jumper, £29.50; trousers, £35; leather bag, £79; trainers, £49.50. All at Marks & Spencer soon.