Yes, we know that this is an awkward post title, but how else can we describe all the fun non-jackets available to keep us warm for fall this year? We’re talking ponchos, capes, shawls and ruanas — you know — non-jackets!
Capes are a definite “thing” this year. Somehow they always remind us of the hooded version worn by Little Red Riding Hood. But of particular interest this year is the “minimalist” cape look which buttons up the front and has two slit openings for one’s arms. Here are a few great examples.
Ponchos typically have an opening for the head and drape over the shoulders and arms. They can run the gamut from the plastic ponchos one takes on a camping trip to luxe versions in cashmere with fur trim. Here are a few that we think are contemporary, chic, and affordable.
Ruanas can be mistaken for ponchos or capes, but they are designed to look like one is wearing a very big shawl, but one that is constructed to cover the back and the front. Ruanas can even be worn over traditional outerwear in very cold weather. Here are a few great versions.
So as you plan for transitional outwear for fall, don’t forget to check out these chic alternatives to the transitional jacket.
Jeanne says: I bought both this plaid sorta patchwork top and these vegan leather track pants last year before plaid and track pants were a “thing”. It’s so much fun to wear them THIS year when they are so in style. I have always had a weakness for plaid — skirts, pants, whatever. I have to stop myself from buying plaid on a regular basis, so I am in fashion heaven this year.
Kate has been wearing her plaid for a while too; it must be hereditary! But she pairs hers with bright cobalt flats and a cozy sweater vest — perfect for fall. Interestingly, plaid is the one fabric design that doesn’t lend itself to pattern mixing. Instead it stands on its own, I think. Check out the great plaid items below and you’ll be buying more plaid yourself!
Kate says: Ah, this vest. I love it but never know how to wear it! I tried it here for a bit of a schoolboy look, which I think works, right? Plaid does seem like a natural combination, although I feel borderline professorial. I tried to keep it up-to-date with black skinny jeans and bright flats. Plaid button-up shirts are super versatile for fall and winter — wear them on their own now but layered with sweaters and dresses later!
I love Mom’s more sophisticated take on plaid. I love her plaid top with the floral detail on the sleeves — we’ve seen a lot of this going on with striped tops as well. With her vegan track pants, Mom seems almost like a grown-up version of a punk, doesn’t she?? But she keeps it demure with kitten heels and black jewelry instead of moto boots!
Jeanne says: Yes, this is a lot of blue tweed. I am not a suit-y kind of person, but occasionally this jacket-pants mixture seems to work. A suit is actually a wonderful alternative in fall; one can wear it in the morning and remove the jacket in the afternoon when the temperature climbs. This suit has a little gold thread running through the tweed which dresses up my look. Hooray for blue tweed!
Kate’s outfit is what I would call a “virtual” tweed — her skirt is made of a fabric that mimics the tweed look with a more modern twist. Kate “punks” up her tweed with beige booties but keeps the look more work-like with a pretty cap sleeve top and her turquoise necklace. Kate can also convey a different look by changing her hairstyle — not an option open to me. She can do this sassy look — a bit rocker — or wear her hair smooth for a more business like look.
Kate says: This blue tweed skirt was one of my favorite purchases this spring. I love the red and white running throughout the fabric, and the faux leather waist band! My first inclination would be to pair this skirt with a sweater and tights (as seen below), so combining it with a blouse is a nice change of pace while it’s still a bit warmer out.
Mom’s suit is great — although I think this may be better categorized with the “co-ord” trend rather than as a suit! No one wears such sassy suits. These pieces have been super versatile for Mom — we’ve her wear both the jacket and pants separately and together a few times (see below for a great example!). I love how she’s styled it here with the bold rugby striped top underneath. Very unexpected!
Fall is that beautiful time of year when it’s actually the right temperature to wear jackets. On the east coast, the length of time between “hot and humid” and “chilled to the bone” is depressingly short. On the west coast, however, you rely on jackets much more — they get pulled out during cooler summer evenings and also worn late into winter.
So Kate savors her chance to wear jackets while it lasts, and Jeanne needs to keep herself entertained during her long jacket season. Good thing there are so many options! Here are some of our favorite jacket trends:
Jeanne says: This was one of those days when I only thought through half of my outfit — the skirt and the tee. I decided it was too late in the year for sandals so I grabbed these old smoking slippers and THEN I remembered my neoprene bomber — Score! It is easy to make your maxi skirt work into cooler weather — a longer sweater, a little jacket — they all work to make your look seasonal.
Kate is doing practically the same thing – combining her vivid sweater with a black maxi skirt. I like how she tucked in her sweater and did a belted look. After that, adding a turquoise necklace to offset her coral top. Now it would be easy for her to add a jean jacket or her cute denim jacket with faux leather sleeves.
Kate says: I’ve really struggled with how to make my maxi skirts more cooler-weather-friendly without feeling super conservative. This is one way I liked it, and I think the key is bright colors up top and a tucked-in sweater. In my mind, I could substitute the black maxi skirt for black jeans and this is an outfit I would totally wear. But the silhouette avoids looking frumpy or oversized.
Something about Mom’s outfit is so California to me — maybe it’s the palm tree on her tee? Either way, she shows a perfect way to carry your maxis into fall with a great jacket and loafers.With this style of banded-waist skirt, I’m not sure I would have gone for the half tuck, but it does help add some waist definition. I think the bright color of her maxi skirt is also key here, which is then grounded with grays and blacks.
Jeanne says: This is about as casual as I go for the office. I love these jeans — a little distressed but not too, a little skinny but not too. You get the picture, right? I love taking a frilly top like this one and combining it with a very low key sweater and cute heels. This combo pushes the concept of “hi-low” dressing which I love.
Kate starts off her casual look with her faded boyfriend jeans and she adds a casual tee and a more formal blazer. She is also doing the “hi-low” look and then she grounds the look with her cognac oxfords. She could have added some bling to this outfit, but I’m not going to quibble about that!
Kate says: I loved this outfit. Something about the tomboy-ish-ness of it, I guess! My secret to dressing up a super casual outfit for work is to throw on a blazer. I also like to keep things simple on Fridays — I put so much thought into my outfits Monday through Thursday, it’s nice to take a break!
Mom takes a similar twist on her casual outfit, dressing things up with a lace top instead of a blazer. I love this coral top dressed down (you can see it dressed up below) and Mom looks perfect for a Friday workday. She has several pairs of boyfriend jeans by now — on the never-ending quest for the perfect pair — but I am partial to this dark wash version.
Long cardigan sweaters — we mean almost to the ankle — are trending for fall and winter. Perhaps the trend came from the long open duster semi-trend from last spring — whatever the origin, they are coming on strong. They showed up as “street style” during Fashion Month and you’ll find them everywhere from Nordstrom to Urban Outfitters. Here’s what we have to say.
Jeanne says: I don’t think you’ll be surprised to learn that I LOVE THIS SLIGHTLY BOHEMIAN TREND! Even when they weren’t in style, I loved long cardigan sweaters — they make an outfit out of pants/jeans and a top and they bring drama to almost every ensemble. As you can imagine, I really had to control myself this year and limit my purchases to on sale or Ebay versions. Here is my most recent purchase!
Kate says: I was just looking at long cardigans at Asos the other day! And what I realized is that I like the look, but I prefer a less extreme version of the trend. I have one longer cardigan (that of course was a hand-me-down from Mom!) that I love — and it hits right at my knee. It’s not surprising that Mom loves this trend — she is partial to bohemian trends and also loves high-low extremes. But can you imagine wearing one of these sweaters to work?! Maybe we relegate them to cozy weekend wear.
Here are some long cardigans to try:
What do you think? Is this a trend you’ll try this fall?
Jeanne says: Red is a wonderful color for making the transition from summer to fall apparel. Mixed with leopard it is hard to resist! I love these red Mango pants and I was delighted to find that this J.Crew tee worked perfectly with them. The “drapey” trousers I’m wearing are perfect for the between times of the year — they go equally well with tees and light tops as they do with sweaters and jackets.
Kate’s red dress is another great choice for moving from warmer to cooler weather. As usual her dress can be styled many different ways — as she has styled it here with a boyfriend cardigan — or as a jumper with a tee underneath. The “drapey” fabric of this dress makes it especially versatile. The lesson today? Go buy yourself something red and “drapey” and mix it with leopard print!
Kate says: Another classic silhouette for me – I love a belted cardigan over a dress for fall. It’s a great way to warm up a summery dress, like this wonderful tomato red cotton dress. I find this type of dress very versatile: light and bold for summer, easily layered for fall. Leopard accessories are a no brainer!
Mom clearly agrees with this no brainer — I love how well we aligned on our leopard print belts and shoes! Her outfit really lets the red take center stage, playing it up with that cute striped tee. I think her outfit feels summery (maybe because it makes her look tan!), but you could throw on a blazer or cardigan for an easy fall look.
Jeanne says: I found this beautiful skirt on sale towards the end of summer — isn’t it gorgeous? I’m not sure it goes with a lot of the tops in my wardrobe but it is perfect with black. A black top is such a go-to solution for so many wonder skirts and pants — I am always looking for new additions to my wardrobe!
Kate looks darling here. She looked long and hard for the perfect midi skirt this summer and here you see the result. That midi skirt probably goes with a lot of things in her closet, but, here she shows that everything ALWAYS goes with black. She also gets a lot of wear out of her turquoise suede pumps; I used to have some, but I always had to wait for the perfect match to wear them. Kate wears her with everything — so chic!
Kate says: I DID search a long time for this midi. I had very specific needs — I wanted one with a pattern, and one I could wear through the winter as well. I’m not sure this skirt fits that last requirement (it’s kind of thin and I could see it getting all static-y with tights), but I love the light pink color, subtle pattern and pleated style. It’s hard to see the pattern, but it has some flecks of teal in it, so the shoes were a perfect match!
Mom’s skirt is great — and one of her favorite color combinations, I think! This silhouette with the sheer overlay is very popular right now, but this is a style I haven’t seen yet. I love how she paired the skirt with perfectly matched necklaces (of course!) and great black basics. I’d also love this skirt with blue and green tops, and maybe some chambray? A great find.
Last week, I was invited by Maddy of Style Me Thrifty to join her at the DC Goodwill Fashion Show. It’s an event put on every year at which DC Goodwill has a pop-up boutique, cocktail hour, sponsor recognition and — of course — a fashion show!
This was the first event I’ve ever attended as a member of the “media” — see how official we look?
It was a fun way to attend an event I otherwise couldn’t have afforded — and share it with you guys!
We kicked the night off with some drinks and appetizers as we mingled in the “pop-up boutique”. Attendees got to browse curated Goodwill items at the boutique, and it was a great reminder of how much cute stuff you can get at Goodwill. Maddy and I found and tried on a few pencil skirts:
Then we got down to the real meat of the event — the fashion show! Can you believe this was also my first fashion show? It was fun to see a group of local models in outfits entirely comprised of Goodwill finds. There were some really cute combos, featuring stripes and sequins (I wanted this sequin cardigan so badly!):
And some wacky ones… Anyone need idea for how to rework your wedding dress?
By the way, it is really hard to take good photos at fashion shows
The whole night was a great reminder to me personally that I should make a greater effort to shop at Goodwill — you can find really great items for ridiculously low prices. I think the key is looking for brands you recognize (Maddy and I were picking up pencil skirts from Ann Taylor, Loft, Gap, etc.) and looking for prints and patterns that look contemporary.
If you need some inspiration for shopping at Goodwill and everyday outfits you can put together, check out the DC Goodwill Fashionista on Instagram — I love seeing both what she’s wearing AND how little it cost her!
All in all, it was a fun night of shopping, fun and free drinks
Do you guys shop at Goodwill? What great pieces have you scored?