Outfit Feature: Storybook Style, “Fall in California” edition

In continuing my celebration of fall while living somewhere where the temp reaching 75F in the afternoon is common though November, I have two looks that feel very fall but are nice to wear in mild weather. (And without any chunky sweaters!)

When adapting a fall aesthetic to less traditionally fall appropriate items, I identify some elements that I like which make a look feel more autumnal, and which can be adapted to clothing that won’t suffocate me.

  • Warm earth tones, dark greens and grays
  • Layers
  • Outerwear – I find that having some kind of outerwear really helps get me into the fall feeling, even if the “outerwear” is just a cardigan.
  • Boots and oxfords (in a note to my younger self – real leather is more breathable than polyurethane)
  • Scarves and Hats
  • Fabrics like herringbone, tweed, and corduroy which remind me of vintage academia.
  • (Plaid/flannel is also generally very fall, although I don’t go for those much myself)

I try to incorporate these with lighter fabrics like cotton and rayon and breezier or shorter cuts is preferable to thick fabrics that sit more snugly. e.g.

  • cotton sweater with a relaxed cut rather than a wool fisherman sweater
  • unlined knee length coat vs ankle length and lined vintage 100% wool coat (which, weirdly, can often be found for cheaper on ebay than the average new coat)

For a full description of the aesthetic I’m going for here, you can check out the My Style page or this Pinterest board.

Bold Colors and a Beret

Beret // Anthropologie
Coat // Topshop
Dress // Urban Outfitters
Boots // Steve Madden

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Since I only have wool berets, they aren’t an item that I’d wear when it’s Actually Hot out because my head will cook. This is the thinner and less structured of the two I have which is less warm. Whenever I wear a hat, I find that the outfit will gel better when the seasonal aesthetic of the shoes matches the hat. e.g. straw hat with open toed shoes, but not a felt hat. Since hats are less common in casual wear, I find that going more matchy with them makes them feel more intentional rather than a costume or afterthought (this is especially true with the much maligned fedora/panama hat styles).

I love how floofy. and breezy this dress is, but I also appreciate how the ruffle tiers are basically fake layers. All the depth without any of the trapped hot air. The fabric is light and the cut is short, but the fall motif of the muted botanical print helps keep it from feeling like a summer item that was accidentally put on in the dark.

This coat has a gorgeous rust color, and the shorter and relaxed cut make it easy to wear (less constricting than say, a full length chesterfield coat). This is one of the few times outside of activewear where I’ve actually gone for something polyester on purpose. It’s warm enough that it helps when I do some serious layering under it, but isn’t going to be toasty on its own.

I think I’d have preferred this with sheer tights just for that extra bump of seasonal cohesion (i.e., if I’m really trying to fake fall, it doesn’t make sense to have bare legs when it’s cold enough to wear an overcoat) but I wanted to try this dress with boots and bare legs at least once.

The sleek boots round off a trio of saturated, structured pieces that give the outfit presence and shape. They’re softened by the dress and the drop shoulder cut of the outerwear, and I like how the overall effect is cute without feeling too fragile and bold without feeling too sharp and tailored.

Depth through texture

Headband // Anthropologie
Coat // Forever 21 (similar to the All Saints “Monument” coat), had the sleeves hemmed
Top // Anthropologie
Skirt // Anthropologie
Tights // Vero Monte
Boots // Comfortiva
(an unintentionally anthropologie-rific outfit 🤔)

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I was really digging the fairytale vibes from the base outfit with the dramatic coat. With the muted color palette and short structured skirt against puff sleeves, scarf style hair accessory, old school style boots, and a long asymmetrical coat, it struck a really good balance of storybook illustration inspired without looking like I walked off a production of Into the Woods.

It didn’t photograph very well, but the skirt is a dark green corduroy. Sometimes good corduroy pieces will get a bit heavy, but since this one is a shorter cut of skirt it’s great in mild weather. The coat is similar: a lined thin wool blend, but the cut is really breezy.

I was really pleased with the variety of textures – eyelet trim in the blouse, patterned tights, satin headband. Even though there aren’t tons of layers, the visual interest is really turned up. I liked how the herringbone pattern is also repeated in the tights and more subtly in the coat fabric (though it’s hard to see in the photo because since I’m trying to not let this hobby take over my life / the apartment I don’t want to buy special lighting just for outfit pics).

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If you want more fall-in-not-fall-weather inspiration, check out the outfits for the recent faux fall 10×10 challenge on Instagram (10×10 is when you pick 10 items and wear outfits with just those items for 10 days). Tbh the majority of them are not particularly a fall aesthetic, but there are some cool looks in there. Here were a few that I liked (WordPress’ Instagram embeds don’t seem to work in their emails, so click on over to the blog if you’re reading from mail):

Do you like to incorporate stereotypical seasonal style on days when the weather might quite not match? Which styles do you like and how do you work them in?

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