Here in Virginia we have hit that time of year where everything says it’s autumn…
…except the weather.
Why hello, Indian Summer!
Just when you thought fall was here, and you broke out your cozy sweaters and heavy flannels, the temperatures decide to rise up into the high 80s. But how could you possibly drink that pumpkin spice latte when you’re wearing a sleeveless tank and bare legs???
So last fall I decided enough was enough. Obviously the weather was going to do its thing whether I liked it or not, and, quite frankly, I liked being outside enjoying it, not hunkered down in a temperature-regulated building, pretending. So I started to wonder if there was a way I could dress that made me feel like I was getting my autumn, but could also be comfortable, regardless of the hot temperatures. Here is what I found…
Color matters… When fall comes along, I change my palate. I tuck away most of my pale blues, bright whites, and soft pinks and start to bring out forest greens, navys, chestnut browns, and reds. I might be wearing a tank top, but the color says autumn. This year I specifically updated my wardrobe with two tanks from Target, one in a muted grey-green and the other in a stripe of navy and reds, and they are adding just the right deepness to my outfits’ coloring.
Fabric matters… The arrival of autumn time has me reaching for a different type of fabric. This is the time of year when I break out my suede skirts, but wear them with tanks and leather espadrilles rather than winter’s cashmere turtlenecks and boots. I also find that denim gives me that autumnal feel, but I make sure that it is the kind with plenty of stylish holes for sufficient ventilation. Ha!
Pattern matters… The pattern of the fabric can change the feel of an outfit from summery to autumnal. A perfect example of this is my buffalo plaid tunic. The shirt is an altered version of its former self; the original being a long sleeve, loose-fitting tunic from Hanna Andersen. A tear in the arm a few years ago inspired its current silhouette, a short-sleeve, A-line top. It is ideal for the warm temperatures of Indian summer with its cotton fabric and short sleeves, while the red and blue buffalo plaid gives a nod to autumn.
Texture matters… Texture plays a large role in my choices this time of year. I try to integrate cotton sweaters with a chunkier knit than the more delicate sweaters I choose in spring and summer. For example, I have a vest of cream cotton yarn that I often wear. Its chunky weave gives the impression that I am wearing heavier, warmer clothing, even if I am wearing it over a sleeveless tank.
Layering matters… I like to wear my clothing with more layering in the autumn. I feel like this gives the impression of coziness. During our Indian summertime, I will often put a lightweight vest over a tank or wear a sheer scarf around my neck with a sundress. The layers I choose are generally cotton and sheer so that I stay cool, but the mere act of layering again reminds one of the cooler temperatures of fall.
Shoes matter… My shoes choices in the early autumn can greatly affect the overall feel of an outfit. While I am still wearing my sundresses with bare legs in an effort to stay cool, I usually choose to wear a heavier shoe. Often that means ankle or cowboy boots. Other times I choose clogs, moccasins, or my leather espadrilles. I like that the heavier shoe hints at cooler weather without making me physically too hot.
And to tell you the truth, the challenge of Indian summer has been a real treat. I have increased my contentment with the season. I am not depressed when an autumn day has highs in the 80s, and I do not end the season feeling as though I have missed fall.
And then there is the benefit that did not occur to me until well after the fact. The challenge has also kept my closet interesting to me. In an effort to make my summery clothes appear autumnal, I have been forced to look at them in a new way. It has helped to prevent me from becoming dissatisfied with what I already have. ‘Hooray for the warm days of Indian summer’ is not something I ever expected to say…