How to wear a summer dress in autumn

Time to transition (praise be to the black turtleneck)

Corrr, I remember thinking gleefully when I stepped off the plane and back into British weather after our holiday, it’s a bit chilly.

Because having had a final hit of warm skin, sun dresses and ice cream galore, I was finally feeling ready to embrace Autumn with open arms; full of anticipation for bright, crisp days, rust-coloured leaves and not having to see my own bare fleshy arms with quite so much regularity.

My first full day back lived up to all of my (extremely domestic) expectations for a homely start to Autumn and involved such things as doing two loads of washing, wearing a knitted item of clothing to peruse Sainsburys in for the weekly shop and spending time in the kitchen cooking dinner after two weeks of eating out: decidedly run-of-the-mill activities that I found tremendously pleasing. Autumn! Homely stuff! *Cosiness*, and all that!

Styling a maxi dress for AutumnHow to wear a summer dress in autumn
How to wear a summer dress in autumn

The trouble came in the following days when I realised that – hold the phone – my conviction that one of the things I was most excited about was dressing for autumn was entirely unfounded, because I had absolutely no idea what to clothe myself in. Without having done the seasonal wardrobe changeover aka stuffing shorts and strappy dresses away into a very untidy crate and plumbing its depths for whatever warmth-givers I put in there in April (a job for this weekend, I think), I didn’t seem to have any outfits that made me feel like the seasonal goddess I was so sure I was going to be.

And when I was getting dressed, with great difficulty, the next morning, I happened to glance towards the window, where this strappy maxi dress was hanging after the post-holiday wash. I couldn’t help but notice that actually, something about this dress felt a little Autumnal. I mean, it’s a summer dress, definitely, from H&M’s S/S offering, but the muted shades and print put me in mind of swirling leaves and cool girl neutral styling.

How to make it more appropriate for England in October, though? The answer was obvious, because it’s my answer for all questions about how to wear summer stuff in autumn: just put a turtleneck jumper underneath it.

How to style a maxi dress for autumn

The result was, of course, this extremely comfortable and easy look. It might not quite be ultimate autumn outfit goals, but hopefully it does serve to demonstrate that if, like me, you can’t really afford to do a whole wardrobe update right now, you can still experiment with the things you do have. And when I say experiment, I mean buy a black turtleneck jumper and wear it with everything.

I wore one (not the same one, I feel compelled to confirm) three out of five days on my first week back to worth after being on holiday – my first week of proper autumn, if you will – and concluded that it truly is the most useful item you could own at this time of year. It’s always chic, satisfyingly warm, and tremendously versatile; as well as popping mine under a summer dress, I also wore it with a silky midi one day and layered it with a bright blazer another.

So, in summary: praise be to the black turtleneck.

And absolutely not praise be to the balayaged hairs that I’ve moulted onto mine in all of these photos. Perhaps I should rethink the ‘always chic’ thing.

How to wear a summer dress in autumnHow to wear a summer dress in autumnHow to wear a summer dress in autumn

What I’m wearing

Dress – H&M | Jumper – Primark | Bag – Primark | Boots – Primark

Photography: Robert Poor

4 thoughts on “Time to transition (praise be to the black turtleneck)”

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