How To Dress For Transitional Weather


As I made my way home tonight - late September in Brooklyn, New York - the temperature hovered in the high 60's. It was a classic early fall evening, one that marked the transitional weather we can enjoy in the Northeast: it wasn't as humid and sweltering as nights we've had as recently as a few weeks ago, and was nowhere near the frigid temperatures that await us in just a few months.

And yet, here's a brief recap of attire I spotted walking through McCarren Park:
  • a man in a wool pea coat with leather boots
  • someone else throwing a football in a pair of jeans and no shirt
  • and two people in shorts and a tank top

If you were to take that sampling and guess what the weather was like outside, you would have no idea of where to start. All of this underlined the point: most people have no idea how to dress for transitional weather.

It's not super hard to figure out why. Although many clothing designers think in terms of spring and fall collections, those are named more for when they arrive at retail than when customers will actually wear them.
If they weren't, one fall collection would feasibly be meant to cover what you would wear from late August through February a time period where in New York, for example, that can cover a spread ranging from 84ºF down to 26ºF on average.

Instead, many designers focus on each end of the spectrum, with heavy outerwear and thick sweaters in their fall collections, and light fabrics and shorts for spring. That can leave some shoppers, like my neighbor in his pea coat, a bit stranded.

But, if there is one key to avoiding those mistakes and mastering transitional dressing, it's a simple one: layering. Like the mysteries of a thermos, which can somehow keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold, layering can function in much the same way for your body, by either trapping warm air close to the body, or wicking away moisture to cool down, depending on the fabric you choose.

And, there's always the option to add pieces on if the day proves unexpectedly warm or take them off as temperatures drop when the sun goes down. To do this, invest in some mid-weight outwear. Denim jackets are ideal for fall and spring, and their life can be extended throughout the winter when worn underneath heavier coats. Levi's makes classic denim trucker jackets for as little as $68. If denim isn't your thing, you can also try an unlined canvas coat to serve the same purpose.

For other layers, fall and spring are definitely both chambray shirt season, as well as a good time to throw on a sweatshirt or hoodie. And in the autumn, ditch the sandals and make good use of the remaining time you have to enjoy wearing your sneakers; once the temperatures drop, the snow starts falling, and you need your boots, it might be a long time before it's safe to wear your tennis shoes every day again.


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Men's Magazine: How To Dress For Transitional Weather
How To Dress For Transitional Weather
Men's Magazine
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