Sweater weather: glorious, crisp, cool sweater weather. It’s a magical time when one can layer with abandon, stretching the possibilities of an outfit while looking impossibly chic and collegiate. One imagines oneself strolling down Comm Ave, resplendent in cardigans, jackets, scarves, and boots that aren’t necessary, per se (like they will be in January’s windstorms), but worn simply because one could not wait to pull them out again. Dreams of jumping in piles of brightly colored leaves and warm apple cider swim in our heads, so tempting and so very close.
Unfortunately, back-to-school sweater weather (and the gorgeous outfits that come with it) rarely coincide with the actual process of coming back to school. No, summer clings on as long as it possibly can, and in Boston, it’s not pretty. High temperatures and brutal humidity make wearing any clothes at all a wearying chore inside one of BU’s many non-air-conditioned buildings, let alone that fuzzy cashmere sweater waiting patiently in the closet. So what is one to do? Surely coming back to school represents some kind of symbolic seasonal change warranting a wardrobe shift, but until the weather cools down, here are a few tips for looking fall fashion perfect without drowning in the heat.
1. Don a seasonal color palette. Just because it’s 90 degrees out doesn’t mean that you can’t embrace the spirit of autumn! Warm colors like red, orange, yellow, and camel have every bit of a place in the heat, as long as they are composed of fabrics and shapes that don’t suffocate. Try a breezy skirt in a warm shade like brown or red with bare legs and a striped top for a cool look, both literally and figuratively. If feeling bold, a slash of orangey-red lipstick also screams seasonal.
2. Choose a great bag. Nothing says collegiate and fabulous more than a gorgeous school bag. Gone are the days of nylon monstrosities and flimsy canvas sacks. Try a new option this fall with something structured and colorful, like a leather satchel (the Cambridge Satchel Company, for example, is a reasonably priced and impeccable line of bags that is preferred among celebrated fashionistas–and they come in a rainbow of colors) or a multi-hued woven backpack. No matter what you’re wearing, a great bag makes one look pulled together and savvy for class.
3. Mix in your summer basics with fall favorites. Those denim cutoffs haven’t quite outlived their use yet! Summer staples like shorts and sundresses will remain essential layering pieces in the weeks to come, but for a look that embraces back-to-school style, try pairing them with pieces that feel a little more put-together. Swap out sandals for a snappy pair of oxfords or loafers, or trade a breezy tank for a button-up to pair with high-waisted shorts. Staying cool while upping the polished feel of an outfit is as simple as upgrading the basics.
4. Embrace fall’s trends—one at a time. It’s tempting to pile on trend after trend and reach new heights of hipness, but when it’s still so steamy outside, keeping the look streamlined and largely classic feels fresh and clean. Try out the new trends (major trends include metallic textiles, army fatigues, and sheer fabrics in unexpected places—think the nape of the neck or on the legs) in baby steps, and then work up to a fully trendy Fall 2012 vibe.
5. Light jackets: also known as “new best friends.” A beautiful jacket is one thing that really ties together a seasonal look. It’s too early to break out yummy shearlings and woolen coats, but it’s the perfect time to top an outfit off with a light jacket. Denim and military jackets as well as blazers are excellent ways to put together a gorgeous look. Look for a camo fatigue jacket at the Army/Navy surplus store (bonus: super cheap) or a bright color to mix up the look and add a splash.
6. Be spirited. Rah, rah! Fight, fight! Don some BU apparel—no, not sweatpants—to show some spirit and lots of fall attitude. Though lots of BU gear is more functional than pretty, there are lots of ways to make school gear look effortlessly cool. Layer a BU tee over a sundress with a blazer, or throw a scarf on for a splash of scarlet and a healthy dose of spirit.
Starting off the school year stylishly and seasonally need not be a sweltering affair! Enjoy the last few days of summer while they last, and look fabulous doing it.