Make your "summer clothes" work through winter

Make your "summer clothes" work through winter

The cool thing about writing a fashion blog in your spare time is that you come to realise that a lot of the things humans do are totally, completely irrational. 

For example, why do we wear particular colours in particular seasons?  Obviously, we’ve created an association between berry tones and autumn, and between pastel colours and spring, but when you stand back and ask yourself what time of year would best lend itself to a bright pink dress – surely it’s the dark days of winter when we need a bit of pep in our steps?  I am proud to say I do not own a black winter coat but guys: I own dark grey, beige and dark brown.  You know which coats are actually fun to wear in winter? My bright yellow faux fur and my red coat. 


I got thinking about this courtesy of this dress I recently bought at Rebound Clothing in Petone (great secondhand shop if you can deal with the massive quantity of clothing, I go there specifically for the retro dresses).  I bought it fairly late in summer and I found myself thinking with regret that I might not find many opportunities to wear it before the seasons changed…and of course, one cannot wear a floral in such springtime shades in autumn! Right?


Not right – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think seasonal colours are a scam designed to make you spend more money on clothes.  Now, I enjoy the gentle lift that a new season colour can give my wardrobe if I buy one or two select pieces in it (surprisingly easy to do secondhand, by the way).  But I do not enjoy the insane idea that while I can wear my navy silk shirt all year round, my hot pink one is not suitable for winter…just because hot pink is (usually) not a winter colour.  IT’S RIDICULOUS.  Humans love to make up spurious rules to help us to understand and manage the crazy world we live in, and fashion is a key space we do this in.  Think of all the rules we live by that relate to how we dress.  For example, in many parts of Western culture, we not only say that dresses are primarily reserved to a single gender, we then say that within that gender only particular body shapes, ages or “types” of people should wear particular styles.  It’s nonsense.  I look forward to our gloriously utopian future in which we all just wear jazzy onesies a la Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Look, if the trees want to lose their leaves like quitters who like to quit – fine.  Nothing can stop me from wearing a full flower garden while surrounded by crunchy dry leaves, if that’s what I feel like.  The only trap is that often summer-coloured clothes are also summer weight, and so they require some layering tricks in order to make them wearable without you freezing your proverbial tits off.  I present to you a trick I learned as a teenager in the 90s, the classic ‘dress over pants’ move, which as we learned during our most recent fashion month is on a strong comeback.  Personally, I like a fairly narrow pant leg for this look, but if you’re a fan of wide leg trousers I can definitely see something like a tunic happening for a sort of chic, bohemian vibe.  In fact, as I write this I am envisioning a long dress (say, shin length) over a pair of wide leg trousers in a complementary shade and I am really feeling it.


Other great options for making spring/summer clothes into winter wear that come to mind are:

  • Buy yourself a merino turtleneck and layer it under everything. Every. Thing.  Looks particularly excellent with a button up shirt in my opinion.

  • Many of my summer tops are short sleeved or sleeveless – perfect for layering over aforementioned button up shirts for a kind of waistcoat/vest effect.

  • Wear a pair of satin trousers, but also wear two pairs of tights and some knee high boots.

  • Turn summer dresses into winter skirts with a chunky knit and a pair (or two) of high denier tights. 

  • Some breezy maxiskirts make good swingy dresses to layer over a thin merino layer.  Wear it belted for a more flattering silhouette, or throw a big coat over the top for something a bit more avant garde.

  • A really good pair of leather ankle boots will take you a heck of a long way in autumn, as will patterned tights.  I particularly like the ones that appear mostly opaque but are textured like a cable knit or similar. 

  • Buy good quality winter accessories like a beautiful woollen scarf, buttery soft leather gloves, a lovely hat etc.I’d try and get these in complementary colours that are not black – black is generally too heavy to wear against so-called spring colours.You would be surprised by how versatile a bright colour can be.


I’m looking forward to getting some extra use out of this dress this winter, either worn as it is here, or layered over a turtleneck with some boots and a big chunky necklace to set it all off. Very soon I’ll be wearing it with my white ankle boots for a final farewell to summer - soon it will be too cold, and my legs will be too grey and hairy, for bare legs. What’s your favourite “spring” item that you love to wear into winter? And does anyone know any tricks for making D’Orsay heels like these winter-friendly?

In this look: dress is secondhand/vintage, shoes are from Ted Baker approximately three years ago, jeans are Cheap Monday also approximately three years ago, earrings are vintage Escada from an Etsy seller I have been keeping to myself and which I’m only telling you about because I love you and we share our amazing Etsy finds with the people we love. Currently saving up for more vintage designer jewellery as my birthday present to myself.