If HBO’s wildly popular medieval fantasy epic was set anywhere in the northern hemisphere, it’s likely that Game of Thrones’ most commonly cited catchphrase would be more like: “Winter is coming. No, wait, it’s warm again. Never mind.” While that may not be the case, the whole process of moving from one season to the next is no less a battle for the citizens of Westeros, Wolverhampton or Wisconsin. To help you transition your wardrobe to the colder months, here are 10 tips for seamlessly dealing with this awkward in-between period, and the style dilemmas it brings with it.
Make Your Outer Layer Weatherproof
The autumnal days ahead are sure to bring their fair share of torrential downpours, punctuated by the occasional dry spell, which means you need to equip yourself accordingly.
Technical raincoats – think robust outerwear made with details such as Gore-Tex fabrics and taped seams – should be high on your list of wardrobe priorities for the season.
Mercifully, weatherproof top layers have undergone an image upgrade in recent years and now come in sharp, contemporary silhouettes that look more trendsetter than trainspotter. If you can’t be converted to a hardy mac or fisherman’s jacket, then keep an eye out for bombers in water-repellent waxed or coated cotton.
Keep On Top Of Your Cold-Weather Complexion
Granted, you may have only just returned from a summer sunning yourself on some Mediterranean rock, but it’s time to consider how your grooming regime needs to be adapted to deal with the onset of autumn.
Bracing winds and cold temperatures can play havoc with the skin, drying it out and causing all kinds of chaffed nastiness. Look for products infused with skin-repairing vitamin E, and don’t think that just because it’s winter that you don’t need SPF protection either. Although there may be clouds in the sky and puddles on the pavement, your skin is still prone to the sun’s rays, which can lead to premature ageing.
At this point, it’s also worth introducing a replenishing night cream to your evening routine. Moisturising last thing before bed is always a good idea because the skin tends to absorb creams better at night, when it switches to repair mode.
Learn That Boots Are Your Friends
It’s no secret that the transition from summer to autumn is fraught with pitfalls up top, but Mother Nature can also cause issues in the footwear department, too.
Rugged work boots are a reliable way to stay afoot of the ever-changing climate when it comes to off-duty outfits. But if you’re in need of a style that keeps your hooves protected from the elements and can be dressed up, it’s a pair of Chelsea boots you need.
Able to sit just as comfortably with a suit as they are jeans and a leather jacket, opt for a pair in black leather for a shoe that will effortlessly adapt to any occasion.
Carry A (Practical) Bag
With so many eye-catching examples available, it’s easy to forget that a bag also serves a practical purpose.
Not only does a sleek backpack or holdall have the power to tie a look together, it’s also essential for stowing those extra layers when darting between a hot office, cold street and stifling subway.
Naturally, you’ll need somewhere to store your compact umbrella and weather-defying hair products while you’re at it, so picking up a simple design loaded with interior pockets makes total sense.
Learn To Layer
There’s an old saying that if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes. At no time is this truer than during the shift into autumn.
The key to outfoxing the sudden rise and fall in temperature is to keep your outfit as adaptable as possible, ideally using multiple, lightweight layers that can be piled on and peeled off at a moment’s notice.
Crucially, each of these constituent pieces needs to work on its own as the outermost layer, and should therefore be made from natural, breathable fabrics, such as cotton or wool. Think denim shirts, lightweight jackets and cardigans.
Stock Up On Footwear Protector Spray
With unpredictable downpours a token part of the transitional season, it’s important to take preventative measures with your footwear. To keep your shoes looking their best and prevent lasting damage, treat them once every two weeks with a hydrophobic protection spray.
That said, if – or rather when – your shoes do get caught in a heavy shower, even this may not be enough to save them. To remedy the damage caused it’s crucial that you let them dry naturally (heat can cause cracking and damage to the leather) and stuff them with newspaper to help maintain their shape and draw moisture from the upper.
It goes without saying that it might be time to retire your suede and canvas styles for a few months. But if you can’t bring yourself to part with your suede chukka boots, then at least check the weather forecast before you leave the house.
Invest In An Overshirt
Arguably one of the most important pieces of armour in any transitional arsenal, a quality overshirt strikes the perfect balance between shirt and jacket.
On warmer days, when a coat would be overkill, a well-cut example can be layered over a T-shirt for additional protection against the elements. When the mercury begins to drop, however, it works slotted underneath something heavier as an insulating mid-layer.
In short, the overshirt is a sartorial Swiss Army knife with versatility and adaptability at its core. The best styles come in earthy hues or buffalo checks, constructed from wool, flannel or heavyweight cotton.
Swap Bold Brights For Richer, Deeper Hues
There are very few hard and fast rules to follow when it comes to colour during the colder months, other than that you should make a determined effort to wear some.
However, if you want your wardrobe to look and feel seasonally-appropriate, then eschewing bright and bold hues in favour of richer, earthier tones is both safe and stylish.
Combine a palette of burnt orange, burgundy, mustard and bottle green with your staple indigo denim and dark leathers to form the building blocks of an on-point transitional wardrobe.
Sure, the weather is on the turn, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your signature style altogether. Instead of flipping your sartorial vibe on its head, simply opt for heavyweight options of your current warm-weather staples.
Past September, lightweight stretch denim should give way to hardy raw or raw or selvedge jeans, while cotton chinos can be substituted for twill versions. Likewise, you can shake up your shirt collection by upgrading from no-frills cotton button-downs to thicker flannel or denim styles, or by exchanging summery T-shirts and polos for long-sleeved versions.
Essentially, you’re keeping your go-to outfit combinations the same, but reinforcing your defences against the elements to look like a sartorially-accomplished pro.
Get A Fuss-Free Haircut
When it comes to hair during the autumn/winter months, your caveman instincts would be forgiven for assuming that it’s a case of the more, the better (insulation, right?). But those long locks are also just one temperature fluctuation from turning into a flaky, itchy, dry mess.
When the mercury reaches its lowest point, most barbers would recommend a short clippered-and-scissored cut. In the meanwhile, ask for a medium-length hairstyle with added texture for a look that’s on-trend but doesn’t require much maintenance.
By avoiding anything too polished, you can style out gale-force winds with little more than some salt spray, a matte paste or mousse and upkeep from a decent conditioner and six-weekly tidy-ups.