By Janet Kelly
SUDDENLY, it’s not summer anymore. But it doesn’t feel like fall either. So, at an outdoor event the other evening when the Fahreinheit dipped to 70, if I had had to guess which season it was by what the crowd wore, I’d have been stumped.
There was a woman at a table next to me in a white knee-length eyelet dress with three-quarter sleeves; under a gazebo bar a woman in an olive sleeveless linen shirt was chatting with a friend wearing black pants with a white-and-black wool sweater. I kind of did a double-take when I saw another woman in a blazer, jeans and ankle boots. Preferring to prolong summer, I wore white canvas pants with a long-sleeved print shirt. I’m a believer in wearing white after Labor Day, but my clothing that night felt off.
Global warming doesn’t make between-season dressing any easier. But surely there must be some wardrobe choices between full-blown fall and high summer. I was determined to find a few pieces that could see me through the next few weeks and later on.
Coincidentally, as I was looking for season-less staples, I noticed preppy-style blazers, loafers and striped sweaters showing up in my browser.
No coincidence, according to recent articles in The Guardian and Financial Times. The preppy look has been making a comeback for a decade, spurred by millennials who are moving away from hoodies and sneakers to more classic looks. The Real Real reports that searches for streetwear brands Vetements and Yeezy are down 24 and 25% respectively, while searches for the Ralph Lauren label are up by 238%.
Here, we’ve chosen some preppy-ish cords in mustard and moss corduroy, a long-sleeve cotton polo in charcoal gray, a double-breasted jacket in a silk plaid, a lightweight knit turtleneck and a brightly colored wool vest to stylishly bridge the between-season chasm.
LEFT: Ralph Lauren is a master at interpreting menswear for women. To wit, this Double-Breasted Blazer ($598) crafted from a blend of Italian linen and silk yarn with a houndstooth pattern. Peak lapels and pockets that take a page from menswear complete the tailored appeal. Styled with a graphic T-shirt and cotton twill belted pants, it’s a picture of relaxed elegance.
RIGHT: In between a skinny and straight leg, these Sheri Slim jeans with stretch corduroy fabric and NYDJs’ lift-and-tuck technology are designed to flatter front and rear. They’re $119 at Nordstrom.
LEFT: If you’re drawn to deep, luscious hues, consider designer Molly Goddard’s Lambswool Sweater Vest ($365, Matches Fashion). A mix of muted burgundy and bright pink stripes, it’s a celebration of color on a layering piece for all, er, most seasons.
RIGHT: From its eco-friendly Committed collection comes Mango’s version of a suede baguette bag ($79.99) with an adjustable strap. It’s also quite a bit more wallet-friendly than Carrie Bradshaw’s beloved Fendi.
LEFT: Once upon a time, I had a pair of slouchy moss-colored cords from Sisley (former label under the Benetton umbrella) that I wore on repeat. I’ve not found any since that I loved as much. But I am tempted by this retro-looking Jane Corduroy Pant ($348) from Kate Spade kissing cousin Frances Valentine with its mid-rise, wide leg and wide-wale corduroy. I can envision the always-original Kate Spade would them with a short-sleeved sweater and kitten heels. The pants are also available in red, navy, pink, green and pale blue.
RIGHT: Eileen Fisher’s Ribbed Pima Cotton Blend Top with sustainable Tencel™ Lyocell ($128) could be the quintessential layering turtleneck. The slightly longer sleeves are made for scrunching, the fit is slim and the fabric is light enough to prevent overheating. This wheat color will span the seasons, but it also comes in black, beige and pale green.
LEFT: J. McLaughlin’s Dillon Leather Loafer ($268) is about as traditional-looking as it gets. A classic in a classic color, accented with a bamboo-style buckle.
RIGHT: Flats with croc-embossed leather from Schutz updates the loafer with a more modern, but not overly clunky-looking, lug s0le. They’re $128 from Shopbop.
LEFT: A chunky, cotton knit pullover crewneck ($120, Alex Mill), this sweater with balloon sleeves and dropped shoulder buttons at the back for a bit of novelty. That means, depending on your whim, you can wear it as a cardigan. It’s available in five other colors, as well as a khaki and white stripe combination.
RIGHT: Dooney & Bourke’s Suede Drawstring bag with a removable crossbody strap is not too deep and not too wide, so your keys, phone, etc., won’t go missing in a bottomless pit. Plus, three interior pockets assist with organization. It’s $268 from Zappos.
LEFT: This long-sleeve Polo Shirt ($98.50) in cotton piqué is the kind of top that would quality as a uniform in my lexicon. Wear it with a high-waisted belted pant now; under a sweater or jacket when the weather cools. It’s also available in white, from Ralph Lauren.
RIGHT: For anyone who prefers a jacket in a longer length, try Banana Republic’s Long & Lean Fit Wool-Blend Blazer $209, which sits just below the hips. Depending on the outside temp, wear with a sweater tank or a turtleneck and matching pants or corduroys. Whittle your waist with a coordinating belt and grab an oversize satchel. Did we mention this jacket is machine washable?
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