We've made it, friends! The sun is starting to make its way back to us and the black snow that's lining street curbs is starting to melt. Which means you can finally shed those puffer coats and Siberia-grade fur boots and trade them in for swinging dresses and floral prints. From here on out, it's just going to be patio brunches and tights-less legs! Well, most days.
Some days still have a little bite to them, with the wind sneaking up behind you when you and your bare arms least expect it. We've moved on from running away from frost bite between bus transfers, to simultaneously sweating and shivering in our knit cardigans. There's apparently no winning. Ever.
Which leads us to the next gripe we get to struggle with this season: What do we wear when winter is over, but still packing up its things? What do we wear when it looks like beach weather outside, but feels like Northern Canada on the outside. How can you find that balance between wearing light enough pieces to avoid looking like you just finished a workout with Jillian Michaels, but thick enough to not catch a cold on the way back home.
The answer, my friends, is a simple one: Use your layers! Below are nine tips for dressing when it's not quite spring, but not quite winter, and you've found yourself at your wit's ends:
1. Turtlenecks Are Your Best Friends
During a time when you don't know if it'll be cold in the morning, hot in the afternoon, and then back to January weather come 6 p.m., it's a dicey move stepping out in a summer dress. But during those first few hours when the sun is out, it feels so good and right. So make a compromise: Wear your floral dress, but layer a thin turtleneck underneath for warmth. Not only will the extra sweater give you a nice pop of color, but it'll keep you feeling toasty without overdoing it.
2. Light Jackets Are More Than Just Outerwear
Yes, winter coats are there to help you battle the elements, but spring jackets are a little more versatile. When picking one out, think of it as more of a cardigan than a coat. Keep an eye out for one that's light and made out of a thin material, like cotton or linen. That way it won't have such an "outerwear" feel to it and you can easily keep it on all day as a layer.
3. Invest In A Duster Vest
Want a warm layer over your dress, but don't want to detract from it? Simple solution: Choose something without sleeves! Duster vests have been having a huge moment this season, and for good reason. Find a heavy, peacoat-style one to add simple and clean elegance to your look, or a thin cotton one for a light and interesting layer. Either one will help add a little warmth to a summer-ready outfit.
4. Add Sleeves To Your Sleeveless Dresses
A girl can get a little impatient when the sun is refusing to cooperate but new dresses are popping up all over display windows. To have the best of both worlds (meaning, wearing said dress without catching pneumonia an hour later) layer a long sleeve, collared blouse underneath to add some warmth. Not only does the blouse offer a chance to add color and/or pattern to the look, but a white sheer one can also add a touch of unexpected texture.
5. Speaking Of Sleeveless Dresses...
Get creative with your summer pieces and assign them new roles in order to help you stay warm but summer-ready. For example, don't just look at your sleeveless dress and assume it's a May-only piece. Instead, turn it into a layering piece and use it as a vest! It might sound intimidating, but all you have to do is pop it over a collared blouse, and then layer a skirt on top. And there you have it: Interesting color blocking and a wardrobe that just expanded with possibilities.
6. Use Your Winter Accessories
While most (see: all) of us would love to throw all of our winter pieces into the basement and never look back, some of those pieces could still come in handy. For example, take those blanket or infinity scarves and wrap them around the necks of your maxi dresses for a touch of coziness. It'll help you wear those dresses you're itching to bust out while also making it clear that you still get it's March and, yeah, a snow storm could be around the corner.
7. Layer Your Sheer
If you've got a yen for wearing those airy, delicate pieces we were all over last summer, you don't have to put it off til the temperatures hit higher! Instead, layer those sheer overlays over other pieces. For example, pop a sheer dress over a simple black maxi that would act as a slip. Then, add a plaid or chambray shirt on top for extra warmth and interest, and bundle on an infinity knit to tie the look together.
8. Utilize Blazers
Maybe you don't feel comfortable experimenting with layers — and that's okay! You can always go the traditional route and take advantage of transitional pieces like blazers and summer scarves. Pop on a colored or textured blazer over a shorter summer dress, and then bundle on a summer scarf in the same color family. That way you look covered up and warm, but the actual layers are light and breathable.
9. Tuck In Your Cardis
Sometimes adding a jacket or cardigan to a look can make it feel... off. That extra hem can break up the proportion of the look and make you move on to something easier, like a sweater with jeans. But don't give up yet! You can remedy that extra hemline by treating your cardigan just like a blouse. Meaning, button it up and tuck it in with your skirt, just like you would with any other top. It makes for an interesting and light layer without breaking up the silhouette of the look. Win, win!
Images: Author's Own/Messages on a Napkin