Fall Fashion to Beat the Southern Heat

When moving from Ohio to North Carolina, I faced an unexpected wardrobe challenge given the warmer climate. In the south, the weather stays hot (in the 80-90s) through the end of October while in Ohio, your jeans, fleece and boots made an appearance often in mid-September. That said, I craved fall colors and that cozy, bundled up, pumpkin-spicy feeling, but the southern weather typically makes this a giant nope.

After awkwardly sweating through a few fall seasons and/or rocking pastels into October, here are a few tried-and-true tips to dress appropriately for the season while beating the heat now that many stores are rolling out new looks (Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I’m looking at you!) for the upcoming season.

Pick summer weight fabrics in fall colors, patterns and textures.

This may sound like a no-brainer, but it requires a bit of mindfulness when shopping for fall. Keep an eye out for lightweight wool or wool blends, linen or breathable blends often found in athletic/athleisure in fall colors such as burgundy, forest green, mustard, plum and of course, browns, black and greys. Prints and textures, such as leopard, giraffe, tweed, nubby wool, velvet, leather and flannel in a v-neck, short sleeve, skirt, romper or as a trim evoke crunching leaves and ALL the pumpkin spice. A few examples:


Choose clothes with elements that help keep you cool.

Think tops with open backs, off-the-shoulder, lace, 3/4 or short sleeves, mesh insets, etc. Here’s a few examples:

Use accessories to close the gap.

One of my favorite, most versatile investment pieces is this Burberry gauze scarf. The gauze is incredibly lightweight, but when wrapped into an infinity style, it gives the illusion of bulk and warmth without adding heat. The colors and pattern are neutral, making this easy to wear through three seasons. Try jewelry in fall tones, like tortoise or with embellishments like feathers or bone to connote fall while still wearing short sleeves. Open-toed or suede booties with cutouts are a great shoe for fall while offering a bit of breathability; a hat in a fall fabric, texture or pattern can work with a lightweight tee and jeans.

What are your favorite ways to dress for fall while it’s still warm outside? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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