The time is upon us when the sun operates as both friend and foe. In these transitional seasons, finding the right combination to keep you both warm for those chilly morning classes and cool under the scorching afternoon sun is almost impossible. A summer wardrobe feels discordant with the slow turning of the leaves and the inescapable autumnal moods on our New England campus; but a fall wardrobe is far too hot to wear except during the chilliest of morning Ratty runs and will have you sweating so much, you’ll average three outfit changes a day. Luckily, dear reader, I am here to guide you during these odd transitional seasons, to help make you a little more comfortable on these rather random September days. Below you will find a helpful guide, split into convenient sections of drip, to start you off on our school year.
Level One: Sauce Beginner
The natural starting point for all of our fashion journeys is acquiring the basics: nice shirts, nice pants, nice layers. That impress-your-grandma look. The most versatile shirt one can acquire in our dressed-down world is, without question, the Oxford cloth button-down. The rough, sturdy Oxford cloth combined with the casual roll of the button-down collar (the bigger the collar, the bigger the roll) makes for a shirt that can be as dressy or as casual as you need it to be, and equally as adaptable for the varying weather. Go for shades of powder blue for fall tones and white for versatility. Cotton sweaters are also worth acquiring—perfect to throw on during chilly fall mornings with a pair of jeans. For a more contemporary look, avoid the slim-fit nightmares of the 2010s and pick a pair with a higher rise and more room through the leg. Light wash jeans are on the up and up but as a sauce beginner, it's safer to stick with darker washes that pair more easily with your wardrobe.
Level Two: Sauce Journeyman
Here we find the midpoint in our evolution—the oceanic transition into TikTok bisexual boy style—taking the lessons you learned in your sauce incubation and graduating into a sauce moth (the sauciest insect). Naturally, as an Ivy mothman, you find yourself drawn to woolens and the crisp natural fibers of a weighty linen. Sweater vests are making a comeback right now and there’s no better time to hop on the bandwagon than Sweater Season itself. Start with ones in navy and emerald before exploring the ultimate fall pattern: the Fair Isle sweater. Throw these over your Oxford shirts for a cozy Leslie Howard look (just me huh?). On the topic of shirts, begin to add some heavier linen shirts to your wardrobe. While typically considered summer wear, a heavier linen will keep you warm when paired with a sweater and will perform exceptionally after your morning class, when Providence has suddenly transformed into an arid wasteland. Introducing footwear, I feel that a nice tassel loafer in a dark brown provides a transitional air, being both business and casual, both summer and fall. No longer shackled to the feet of lawyers, Reaganites, and homeowners associations, a good tassel loafer can provide an a flair to outfits of the coming season.
Level Three: Sauce Boss
Congratulations, you’ve reached the top. If you’re at this level, you don’t need me for step by step advice, but allow me to plant some ideas in your drip garden anyway. For pants, gaberdine and tropical wool have been saving my life through most of the summer and early fall. More breathable than a cotton fabric, more drapeable than a linen, tropical wool trousers and gaberdines in white and natural tan give off the 1930s movie star vibes that I’m sure you’re all going for. Pair these with the fun tweed patterns that thrive in winter. And for a twist, instead of donning an 800 oz. Harris Tweed jacket and losing ten pounds in water weight by the time you take it off, wear the same pattern in a light worsted wool. Houndstooth, Prince of Wales-check, windowpanes, herringbone—the bigger the better. If you, like me, are trying to look like an extra in a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers picture, go for the full suit.
There you have it folks, your saucy guide to staying cool, sating warm, and staying fresh in this weird inbetween season. I look forward to seeing you all out there in your best fall clothing as soon as the winds blow colder.