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How to Wear Summer Dresses in Fall

How to Wear Summer Dresses in Fall: Four Simple Style Hacks

Expanding your definition of seasonally appropriate clothing is better for your wallet and your wardrobe.

By Madeleine Kim

Fall has officially begun, and it’s time to pack away your summer clothes for the season. Goodbye, gorgeous, machine-washable party dress that racked up a record number of compliments at your best friend’s wedding. Catch you later, comfy sleeveless work dress that made Mondays at least 50% more bearable. See you on the other side, colorful silk slip dress that starred in the summer’s most memorable events…

Wait a second. Does it really have to be this way? Do we truly need to stop wearing perfectly useful pieces simply because ~society~ tells us they’re summer clothes? Of course not.

When you relegate certain pieces to specific seasons, you not only miss out on a whole world of creative styling opportunities—you also put yourself in a position where you need to own more clothes. Instead of hiding that sleeveless work dress away every September, why not try styling it with a chic and cozy jardigan? Don’t write off your go-to summer event dress; rather, make it your go-to autumn party dress simply by layering a sweater on top. 

Expanding your definition of seasonally appropriate clothing is better for your wallet and better for the environment. Plus, challenging yourself to find fall-friendly pairings for your summer wardrobe will lead you to fresh new outfit combinations you may never have discovered otherwise.

Ready to get started? Here are our top tips on how to keep wearing your favorite summer dresses throughout the fall, plus four outfit ideas to try.

How to Wear Summer Dresses in Fall

Layer on cozy knits.

The easiest way to transition your summer dresses for fall is to add a layer that will keep you warm—and give your outfit an autumnal vibe. If you’re ready to embrace sweater weather but not prepared to let go of your joyful summer color palette, pull a soft cashmere sweater on over your favorite summer dress. Here, the machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant Priya dress in bright coral pairs with the Arbus sweater in papaya to create a vibrant monochromatic look. The Rowan flats in snakeskin add texture, and the Marcy earrings echo the glowy autumn light.

Layer on cozy knits

Choose fall-ready footwear.

Nothing exudes fall vibes quite like a pair of knit knee-high boots. In this outfit, the sophisticated, slightly edgy look of the Nina boots balances out the sweetness of the swingy, A-line Malala dress. Even better? Tall boots keep your legs warm without the hassle of tights or stockings. Plus, wearing black and navy together makes you look like a chic Parisian in seconds. Round out your outfit with a vegan leather jacket, which further amps up the sexiness of the boots, and pearl earrings that give everything a classic look.

Nina boots vegan leather jacket

Introduce an autumnal palette.

The slip dress that made regular appearances throughout the summer can be a staple of your fall outfits, too. Make the washable silk Nene dress feel seasonally appropriate by playing up the earthy fall shades in its colorful peacock print. The Emalis jacket in oregano emphasizes those warm greens, as do the black-and-olive snakeskin-printed Ginger pumps. Tie it all together with the bold gold Claressa hoops. Bonus tip: The Nene dress also looks great with a trench coat that complements its long hemline. Love this earthy palette? Check out more nature-inspired outfits.

autumnal palette in fashion

Make the jacket the main event.

If you have a few solid layering pieces at your disposal, there’s no reason you can’t wear your summer dresses all year round. Made from our machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant Recycled WonderTex, the stretchy Maisie dress features a tailored-but-not-too-tight fit throughout the body and asymmetrical draping that emphasizes your waist. All you need before you step outside and greet the crisp fall air is some long sleeves and ankle boots. For your layer, try the subtly oversized, belted Yuwei jardigan, which instantly becomes the star of any outfit it graces. The knit Lana boots echo the sleek texture of your knit jardigan, and the Parker earrings add some lightness to the look.

How to Wear Summer Dresses in Fall

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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