The Fall/Winter Uniform

Today it’s only 65 degrees outside, which is very bizarre and annoying because it’s not supposed to feel like fall in JULY, but it’s a good reminder to me that I am ill prepared for five months of rain and coldness, at least wardrobe wise.

I think it’s safe to say I am well outfitted for summer.  I do have a few things I am still looking for, but the fact that I started out buying ONLY THINGS that were on the list and I ended up buying things that I loved and go together even if it wasn’t on the list is a good sign that starting out with a small list of essentials works really well for me.

What I’ve been doing for winter clothes for the past few years is attempting to goofily wear my summer clothes anyway as soon as it got cold. I’d throw on some purple tights with my white eyelet skirt and add some boots and ignore how bizarre the whole thing looked, and then I’d get cold and while shopping Christmas sales I’d throw some bargain priced XXL sweatshirt in the cart, slap a “To Mom Love Eli” label on it, and look like a giant schlub all winter long.

That being said, I do think that my winter clothes purchases will be more limited, mostly because they’re generally way more expensive, and also I hate winter, so I don’t know that I see myself getting that excited about swathing myself in layers of wool.  However, here’s a list of what I think it would be good to have the first time it starts raining and never stops.

(I’m thinking the fall winter colors are going to be black and camel, with accents of forest green, mustard yellow, white and pink.)

Long Sleeved T Shirts: two white, one navy, one black, and one in a fun color like pink.

Sweaters: A nice black v neck, a nice coral pull over, and then all the other sweaters I already have. I love this look, but I have sensory issues with sweaters over crunchy button down shirts, so I might have to adapt it.

Skirts: One black wool skirt, one camel wool skirt, one mustard wool skirt, one pencil skirt (pink?). I have pretty much despaired of finding an awesome mustard colored skirt (how great is this one?) but hope springs eternal.

Jeans: one pair of trouser jeans, one pair of skinny jeans, one pair of bootcut jeans

Pants: One pair of nice well fitting boot cut or wide leg khakis, one pair of red pants, one pair of cargo pants, one pair of yoga pants, one pair of leggings

Dresses: At least two winter dresses, one in black.  As many as I can find, really, up to five, but I think these are going to be hard to find and are also going to be expensive.

Shoes: Riding boots in brown

Source: zappos.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

one pair of nice chunk heeled black shoes

one pair of high heeled mary janes in a fun color. (I ADORE these shoes. I’d buy them right now but even sale, they’re a little more than I want to spend on purple high heels. Sigh. If anyone sees a knock off, ALERT ME.)

Outerwear: one nice wool coat, one nice wool hat, maybe one or two really pretty silk scarves, a bunch of pairs of tights.

So my questions for you are: Where should I buy jeans that is not Old Navy, who I have Permanent Lifetime Banned, and do you have any tips for turning summer clothes into winter clothes that doesn’t involve white eyelet skirts and purple tights?

I actually am keeping the following picture front and center in my brain because I think dress plus sweater plus tights plus boots could go a long way into the fall, no?  A summer dress looks less weird in this look than a summer skirt, somehow, I think.

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17 Responses

  1. What I have found is colored tights and skirts tend to look childish, but colored tights and a dress and sweater look polished but fun.

    I basically want to steal all your ideas from this post. I mostly like where we live, but I regret we don’t have slightly colder, slightly longer winters. Tights and boots make me happy.

  2. I wish I could pull off the sweater over button down shirt look, but it always just looks lumpy and wrong on me, no matter what size and/or fabric combinations I try. If you know the secret, please share.

    I buy my jeans pretty exclusively at Anthro (pilcro stet slim) or J. Crew (matchstick), and Nordstrom Rack when I want something fancy/designerish. Nordstrom Rack generally has an AWESOME selection of jeans and is worth checking out. (I got a couple of pairs of AG slim bootcut jeans there last year and am hoping and praying I can get into them post-baby. LOVE those things.)

  3. I just got jeans from Jones of New York for $19.99 at their outlet store and at Boscov’s. They had straight, bootcut and flare in blue, black, brown and white.

  4. I am of no help, but I love the plan. I am loving California summers because I am the most attractively dressed that I have been in five years. I am dreading winter because I do not wear pants with buttons or dresses or pantyhose or tights or shoes that hurt, and I absolutely refuse to be cold, so generally I look very shlubby and sweatpantsy.

    I cannot wear the button-up shirt under sweater look because i look wrinkly and lumpy, but–what about the sweaters that have the shirt collar and cuffs sewn in (but that’s it, no actual shirt underneath)? They have worked for me in the past.

  5. I can tell you that the quality at the Gap in terms of jeans has gone waaaaay down. I basically see them as throwaway clothes these days. I like the way they fit, but I’ll only buy them if I can get a really good deal. Because I know they’re just going to shred on me.

    If you want to splurge on one pair of jeans, I can’t recommend Lucky Brand jeans enough. And the people at the store are usually really helpful in terms of finding a pair that fits well and will look good on you. They’re pretty expensive, though, so it’s only really worth it if you buy one pair and then wear it almost all the time.

  6. Mkay, not to brag, but I rock the summer dress thing. Buy several cardigans that you can wear over lots of dresses. I also suggest belts and maybe blazers. Leggings > tights, in my opinion because they are warmer. But yes, it’s fun and easy and it has literally doubled my wardrobe!

  7. The mustard skirt you like is from Anthropologie, (I have it in blue) it is totally awesome and one of the most versatile things I had for 2 seasons. I picked it up on clearance for 29$. Awesome. I think it is called the Field Skirt.

    You may be able to find it on ebay, and size down, it fits a bit big. So if you wear a 12 feel free to consider buying a 10 or a 12.

  8. I like American Eagle jeans. They seem to work well for girls who are a) short and b) have a butt. Like me.

    I’m a big fan of layering for summer to winter stuff. Although, I think the long sleeved t-shirt under the short sleeved shirt is probably a little young for me anymore. Also, is that just a Colorado thing? I’m not sure other people do that.

  9. Can I just say how much I love this series? I work from home and own an embarrassing amount of yoga gear for someone who has never taken a yoga class. Mostly, I have been in an “I feel fat and gross, and therefore I don’t deserve to buy clothes” rut for way too long, but your common sense approach to building a wardrobe has been a revelation: I shouldn’t feel guilty about making myself look nice. I realize this shouldn’t be a huge mental leap, but I guess it was (is?) for me. Luckily, these posts and all of your cute outfits continue to inspire regularly. So, thank you!

  10. The sweater with the shirt underneath is my favorite look on this page. With the necklace and cute shoes, it is perfect! I’m thinking of trying to find a button down shirt with some lycra in it so it’s more fitting and not baggy. Something I’d only wear under sweaters. I saw them last year at the Talbot’s outlet but watch I won’t be able to find one this year. Oh, and like the other commenter, I bought Jones of New York jeans too. I got mine at the outlet and really like them.
    Thanks for this series, I love it.

  11. Can I admit that I am a little bit envious of the weather where you live? Winters are long and cold here, and springs almost don’t exist as it goes from freezing to muggy almost overnight. It’s been hovering around around 100 and muggy for days here which is normal for summer. The fall is amazing, but there’s always the thought of winter around the corner. 😦 I know that you lived in AA and in Illinois, so you understand but MAN – Northern CA weather sounds amazing sometimes!

    I am no big spending when it comes to jeans, having been either pregnant or post-partum for almost the last half-decade. That said, I have had great luck with Banana Republic outlet jeans. Old Navy ones fit me horribly, but there’s something about the Banana ones. They might be worth a look.

    The one thing that struck me as missing from the list is a pair of crisp, tailored black dress pants that can be worn with a variety of shoes. They make my legs look really long and are a total wardrobe staple for me.

  12. Last fall @honesweetsarah tipped me (and many others) to the glory that is Target jeggings. I bought 2 pair that I wore ALL THE TIME and they looked awesome and still do.

    I tried to replicate with spring/summer colored denim but failed, however. I’m hoping fall will be a return to the Awesome.

  13. I’m having unpure thoughts about those purple shoes…LOVE THEM.

  14. A dress with a cardigan belted over it (like Mrs. Obama) carries my summer wardrobe through at least November. If you have a Levi store near you they may be worth checking out. I’ve heard really good things about their products and customer service. Keep an eye on Lands End for dresses. They have some great ones in the Fall/Winter. If you check their outlet section online you may be able to find some stuff on sale now since it is summer.

  15. I love your fall/winter plan. Is genius. My favorite jeans are from The Limited or Express. Not terribly expensive – I don’t think? – but they fit well and have a nice variety.

    I need those Bandolino boots. They are adorable.

  16. I’ve had jeans luck at Loft, regular AT, and Banana. I have to deal with the smaller waist/big hips and those brands seem to handle it the best. And typically decent sales.

  17. I have a terrible time layering at all, let alone with button-downs, ugh, that sounds so uncomfortable to me. Let me know if you work that out. Also, I’m wearing a dress that I think needs a belt, so I need you to bring a belt to my house and show me how to wear it. Hurry though, I’m going to a party in half an hour.

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