How to Dress For In Between Weather

By Bruna Volpi
18th May 2015

Sorry for being the grinch of the situation, but as pretty much half of the population in Game of Thrones has been warning us all along, Winter is coming. Well, perhaps not so much in Queensland due to the current weather identity crisis, but when Winter does come, one better be prepared.

I for one, am actually quite glad for the impending doom, ergo the incoming end of this endless summer―mostly because I would rather fork my own eyeballs out, or peel my nails slowly out of their beds, than having to resort once more to the too-easy white tee, denim cut-offs and slides combo. Sartorially speaking, Winter has a lot more excitement on offer. I mean, all of those super stylish people in New York constantly complaining about blizzards and the like―try living with constant 80% humidity and the consequential sweaty pits, people. Being that, much like the Starks, I myself do come from the North (North as in the hemisphere, not as in the territory), I’d much rather face a penguin in a mad block-to-block racing challenge (all whilst wearing a shearling overcoat that some people may or may not confuse with a cross between an overgrown sheep and a yeti who has overdone it on the curling irons), than try to pull off beachy good looks one more time (I can’t).

It is also about damn time one is able to bust out that turtleneck one bought months ago on a drunken online shopping bender that was meant to be purely research-induced window shopping, but turned into actual cash disposal after scrolling over one too many pictures of models in the sartorial neck warmer-du jour over on Instagram. Good news too for the exceptionally cold blooded whose hands and feet perpetually turn into icicles even during a 30+ degree heatwave―soon, very soon, you’ll be able to pull an Anna Dello Russo and don your doona out in public without looking like an inner city douche who has reached for the beanies much too soon. 

The problem is, and much like in Game of Thrones, Winter keeps threatening to come, but it’s not quite here just yet, and I wonder how many more seasons we are going to have to endure before Winter does come and the Starks are robbed of their catchphrase. This means we’re stuck on that hell awkward, lukewarm time between one season and the next which is definitely not Summer or Winter, but also not nearly Autumn enough to justify the annual de-pilling of one’s cashmere sweaters, or the fully fledged retail frenzy that happens when the season does indeed drastically change and many a woman is confronted with the dreaded “Shit, I have nothing to wear!” situation. A type of weather most eloquently described by Katy Perry, this is one of those classic “you’re hot, then you’re cold” conundrums, which gives a whole new meaning to the inception and commercial popularity of the Pre-Fall shows altogether—see, fashion people were right all along. 

So what does one wear in limbo? I suggest you confuse the shit out of the weather and proceed to wear nothing, yet everything at once. How? Here’s our guide to help you navigate these soupy, yet potentially icy waters. See what I did there? Yeah, it was cool. Literally. I’m a nerd, sue me.

1. Strategic Layering

Ok, so this one may seem a bit cliché, but bear with me for a moment before you proceed to rip me a new one for stating the obvious and wasting your sacred lunch break procrastinating view time. Layering done well should provide you with instant gratification in the sense that not only you are sure to look much cooler, but you are also sure to keep the sweaty pits at bay. It should also provide you with the satisfaction of instantly becoming a street style photographer’s wet dream, should one happen to frequent your usual coffee joint (The colours! The textures! The hems poking out! The expertly cuffed sleeves! The slightly upturned collars! Oh, the subtleties! The layers! OMFG #art #fashun #dies). The truth is, layering right is actually quite easy to do despite what many may seem to deny: just pile everything on, onion-style, and then just tweak tucks/rolls/ cinching/accessories and other details until it all somewhat makes sense. Then please post a picture and tag #theurbanlist so I can see it. Peel layers on and off as required in occasion of gushing winds and/or sudden appearance of sweaty pits. Those Bassike short sleeve cropped turtlenecks and knit wool tanks were made for this purpose, so make good use of them. So what if the final outcome of the layering of cardigans and turtlenecks makes you look like a sexed-up librarian? Hey, at least you look French.

Layering done masterfully though requires certain practice, but can bring the joy of concealing any kind of damage inferred through winter-is-coming, emotionally-related overeating. Done wrong, it can make you look like the Michelin Man, in which case just roll with it, pretend you’re really emulating ultra-oversized, experimental proportions à la Comme de Carçons 2D collection circa 2012, and post your #ootd selfie with a passive-aggressive caption such as “This is called fashion. Look it up.” Also, pack the almond croissants, you won’t be needing your abs, biceps or thighs any time soon.

1. Bassike Compact Open Neck Shirt, $354

2. 3 x 1 3 X 1 X The Line 5 Pocket High Rise Jean in Allen Wash, $365

3. Mm6 Maison Martin Margiela Oversized Denim Coat, $695

4. Bassike Stripe Detail T-Back Tank, $90

2. Scarves

Now, I love a good scarf, and still maintain that nothing—NOTHING—can finish off an outfit quite like a scarf does. Please feel free to shove this statement back in my face next time I proclaim something similar about another piece of clothing because hyperbole is my game, but any piece of cloth that quadruples as neck warmer, stole, cape and blanket deserves a special, extra toasty space in my heart. I love the slightly granny-like, old-hollywood appeal of a big cashmere scarf (or silk, I’m not fussy) draped around the shoulders and paired with a sleeveless top and midi skirt combo or say, a slinky dress at night—and so should you. During the day, tie a skinnier scarf around you neck pussy-bow style, and wear it with a sheer shirt, flared jeans and a not-so-basic blazer like the one Adrien Brody wore in the Met Gala and BOOOM, you’ve got the one outfit to rule them all, or at least if you feel so ’70s-inclined. Sure, you probably weren’t looking at Adrien Brody when everyone else was more preoccupied with J-Lo’s butt window, Queen Bey’s everything-window, Bad Gal Riri’s 50 foot long-pancake gown, SJP’s flaming brouhaha of a headpiece or Kim K’s albino ostrich (more on that later) since they once again successfully managed to break the Internet, but I sure was looking at Adrien Brody. Man, I love Adrien Brody. And scarves. So get yourself one. A scarf, not an Adrien Brody. Play with it. Wear it every day and every night in different interactions with the rest of your closet. Bored yet? Wrap it around your torso and wear it as a top (maybe with something underneath or on top to avoid the occasional mean chill), or, if long and thick enough, try wearing as a skirt cinched around your waist with a leather belt and pretend you’re about to run off for a photo shoot for Vogue Italia, therefore making total sense to wear a scarf instead of pants. Or you can wear it over pants, should you be more modest and not off to a photoshoot for Vogue Italia. The possibilities my friend, are endless—and as such, the cost per wear means that any scarf could be your steal of the season. So BRB, just found a way to justify my next ridiculous purchase.

5. Melt Bhalay Mohawk Scarf, $550

6. Melt Kumal Kunari Tie-Dye Scarf, $398

7. Bassike Wool Gauze Scarf, $395

3. Legs

This is their last hurrah before Winter does come, so make sure to explore every situation in which you get to keep them out for one last time. Few things are chicer than a duster coat over a spaghetti strap, silk slip dress over bare legs dusted with that last hint of gleaming Summer tan, and this is the best time of the year to do so. This is also the season of the mini skirt, especially of the denim or suede varieties, so make the most of it.

That being said, and in direct contradiction of what I just stated above, I am sick of seeing your ankles. And my ankles, as a matter of fact. I know, they are probably the skinniest and slenderest part of your body, but I am tired of glimpsing them out and about, and would rather again fork my own eyeballs out than having to write “show a flash of ankle” for what seems to be the 1,000th time. This may or may not be related to the fact that, just the other night, I went out for dinner in cropped pants when I realised it was getting a bit chilly down there. I then also realised that, following last year’s cropped pant frenzy of both the baggy and skinny variety, I now own a closet full of short fisherman styles and one, just ONE meagre pair of actual pants that go down to my heels where a normal pant should be. So please cover the whole damn things up and adhere to the new pant length (#thingsfashionpeoplesay), which should sit in between the too-long and the slightly awkward, Brooke Shields in Calvin Klein vibe. That is if you’re not letting your whole legs run wild, which brings me to the point below.

8. APC School Skirt in Washed Indigo at Incu, $270

9. Zara Suede Mini Skirt

10. Wood Wood Mabel Mini Skirt, $150

4. Boots

If you are planning on keeping your legs out for the longest amount of time possible, yet you too are sick of showing your ankles, boots are the solution (duh). Slightly below mid-calf, almost sprayed-on, sock-like leather boots, sculpted heels in arched, banana-style or geometric shapes, mid-heel suede thigh highs, strapped-on, multi-buckle varieties, patchwork denim boots that sit just above the ankles: weird, incongruous, fantastically awesome and very oddball footwear is back in full force this season, starting from the usual suspects aka. Louis Vuitton, Céline, Gucci and Saint Laurent, and trickling down to more wallet-friendly scenarios. Welcome back my friends, we missed you. This is also the only time of the year when open toe suede booties feel totally right and totally weather appropriate. If opting for the highest of heels, bonus points for the extra-chunky versions that are not only useful if you need to make a dash for it, but also double as violent weaponry if one should be so upset to throw a boot across the room. It has happened to the best of us, just so you know.

11. Gucci Leather-Trimmed Suede Boots

12. Acne Studios Topstitched Pistol Boots, $621

13. Céline Bam Bam Ankle Boot With Mirror Heel at Maryon’s

5. Coats

The coat is kind of like the sartorial equivalent to your spirit animal. Everyone has a favourite, and what your choice says about you screams it louder than anything else. Say you’re a puffer coat kind: you’re practical, well-prepared, and known to visit popular ski destinations as soon as the weatherman reports the first sightings of snow. It also means that, much like the puffer fish, you value your personal space—by choosing outerwear that doubles your spatial volume, you’re keeping all those unwanted intruders at a comfortable arm’s length. 

If you’re a camel coat, or oversized overcoat kind of person, it probably means that you possess the kind of effortless elegance of model off duty meets Milanese woman attendee at Pitti Uomo meets gazelle hopping on a prairie—which makes me kind of hate you because this takes years to perfect and I’m not quite there yet. 

If you love parkas it means you probably also foster an undying love for everything plaid and will forever be the eternal perpetuator of the grungy, “Hey, I just rolled out of bed/Woke up like this” cool kid vibe one can always try to copy but can never get right. 

If you love purple leather jackets with yellow shearling lining, meet me for coffee because I want to be your friend, and borrow your coat from time to time. 

Peacoats are to classic girls who own every item “a girl must own” what a silk trench, suede jacket or lamé duster is to a statement aficionado. The truth is that a good coat can taxi your entire look from basic to awe-inducing in a moment’s time. With a great coat, no one really cares about the mismatched layers underneath, and no one will even notice if you have your pyjamas underneath in a stealthy trip to the market—after all, Winter is coming and one must stock up. 

Fashion editors much smarter than me would suggest you start layering for limbo weather with say, a blazer, a leather jacket or a much lighter outer piece, but I strongly suggest you roll out your favourite winter coat, and pretend you’re not in ‘Straya but instead have permanently relocated to Antarctica. After all, heat is only psychological. And sometimes, just sometimes, one must suffer for fashion, just for the fun of it. A great coat, after all, is a signature—just ask John Snow, or Ned Stark. Snuggle up my friends. Winter is coming.

14. Acne Studios Puffer Parka Jacket

15. Acne Studios Velocite Shearling Jacket

16. Bassike Belted Wool Wrap Coat, $695

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