The transitional period between summer and fall is at hand in which breezy dresses and sandals still fly, but often with the help of a third piece like a lightweight jacket—the most essential item at the crux of many an intermediary outfit.
Sporty anoraks have been a go-to sartorial layer since spring and still remain (definitely tuck one into a pair of high-waist, vintage-wash jeans for fall), but going beyond athleisure looks, new-season toppers range from lightweight trench coats to tailored denim jackets and an abundance of leopard print in just about every style and silhouette you can imagine. (It’s the It print of the moment.)
“There are some amazing new coat styles for winter as well as great layering and newly reworked transitional outerwear styles for early fall,” says Heather Shimokawa, vice president and fashion director for women’s ready-to-wear at Bloomingdale’s. “One of my favorites is the trench coat,” she adds. “This classic, easy-to-wear silhouette came in fresh fabrics and prints to highlight one of the season’s biggest trends—plaids.”
A trench coat in soupy weather seems agonizing, yes, but lightweight fabrics make the look bearable in overly air-conditioned environments or on breezy nights after sunset. Once temperatures cool way down, Shimokawa is for layering a trim trench over a chunky knit.
“For a more fashion-forward moment, everyone needs a piece of leopard print in their fall wardrobe and a statement jacket is the perfect way to rock this,” says Shimokawa, who considers the motif a great neutral to wear throughout the season.
Ahead of winter, a printed denim or bomber jacket works as a transitional, warmer-weather option that'll embolden basics like T-shirts and tanks. Or, you can reach for a spotted blazer to add energy to an office look.
Shimokawa says classic “uptown” jackets with tailored silhouettes are also a must “for a more refined day-to-night outerwear piece." In elegant fabrics like silk, the effect is polished over jeans or wrapped around a cocktail dress.
9 ways to wear fall's biggest outerwear trends
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