Transitional dressing: what is it and what do we wear in unpredictable weather?

Spring is finally here, and while we always look forward to a new season – and the gear change it presents in terms of outfit possibilities - it can prove to be quite a style conundrum.

It's safe to say that at this time of year we have a fussy forecast. There you are, happily leaving the house in glorious sunshine, only to find yourself in a downpour by lunchtime. Cold mornings have you reaching for warm knitwear, then by the time you reach the train you’re red-faced and peeling it off.

This is where transitional dressing is your friend - but what does it even mean? Our Fashion Stylist Lynda is here to explain and has pulled together a few outfit ideas to see you through the temperamental seasons.

Transitional dressing: the seasonal shift

‘“Transitional dressing” is a term thrown about by those in the know to describe that in-between time when seasons are changing and the weather is in flux,’ explains Lynda. ‘This gives us a myriad of styling conundrums and choosing what to wear can be more difficult than usual. Not only do we see new trends and gorgeous new cardigans and dresses, but we need to adjust for the change in temperature.’

In its simplest form, it’s about clothing that transitions you from one season to the next without you needing to buy a whole new wardrobe. It’s also where the art of layering comes in.

‘Curating a capsule collection of in-between pieces you can layer on and off will give you endless outfit possibilities,’ says Lynda. ‘Apply some seasonal styling and you're good to go.’ Here are her six tips to help bridge the gap and keep your look polished and up to date.

1. The art of layering

When the weather is unpredictable, layers are your friend. Key staples for the in-between months include jumpers and cardigans you can drape around your shoulders, or a waistcoat that can be slipped over a dress or top. Button-up cardigans can be worn open with a thin vest top underneath or buttoned up as a jumper for more warmth.

Lightweight bomber jackets also come into their own for a transitional wardrobe. More substantial than a top but not as warm as a regular jacket, they can be just the extra layer you need if it feels a little chilly.

2. Skirting the issue

A great skirt shape you can style up or down can be easily tailored to suit the weather. Wear with a simple knit now and then pair with light tees, then vests and waistcoats come summer (waistcoats will be big news for spring/summer). The best thing about skirts is that they can be worn with tights and boots then bare legs and sandals. As capsule wardrobes go, they have a lot of longevity.

3. Fail-safe denim

If ever in doubt, grab your go-to jeans. They are a wardrobe staple for a reason and work across the seasons. Upgrade your regular shape to the latest pleated-waist wide-legs or try a cropped style once the weather picks up. Wear with a wrapover knit while it’s still cool, worn over a short-sleeved top for when the sun makes an entrance. A denim jacket is another trusty trans-seasonal item. As well as creating a layer of warmth, it can balance out a dressier outfit, giving it a more casual feel.

Coming Soon – Green Suit Jacket
Coming Soon – Green Suit Trousers

4. Seasonal suiting

Multiple-wear tailoring is the ultimate layering piece, and a suit is a powerful tool. With so many combinations on offer, there are multiple outfit options in store. Go dressy with a broderie blouse or shirt for work, or make it casual with a tee and trainers. Wear as separates, throwing the jacket over a jeans and top combo, or wear the trousers with a waistcoat or striped Breton top. When summer comes, a knitted vest and flatforms look effortlessly on point with tailored trousers.

5. Spring florals

Spring is all about the blooms and we’re unapologetically embracing the floral midi this season. Wear it as a skirt now with a jumper or wrap cardi on top, then show it off in full once the weather warms up. Boots or flats, trainers or sandals, midis are super-versatile when it comes to footwear, so mix it up to suit your personal style. Take it from us – a floral dress is your transitional hero piece, so make sure it’s in your capsule collection to see you through the seasonal shift.

6. Flat mates

Flat shoes are here to stay. Wear with tights or socks now and as soon as you can brave your ankles to the elements, do it! A versatile Mary-Jane style can be worn with dresses, skirts, jeans and trousers, and are an easy shape to wear with most spring-to-summer outfits. Choose a metallic finish and they're fancy enough for a night out (the OB Fashion Team are big fans of evening flats). Who needs heels?