Early Autumn/Fall Fashion

Early Autumn/Fall fashion - Dresses for your working day - Adventure - Close up - White sleeveless dress with draped collar. Autumn Winter 2020. Part lined.

How to transition into early autumn/fall fashion – and the biggest mistake you might be making

Early autumn/fall fashion is upon us.  August is a bittersweet month.  It is the height of summer, but autumn/fall is right around the corner.  Schools start to go back and plans are being made to resume a life, temporarily and briefly, discarded in favour of two weeks downtime.

Of course early autumn/fall doesn’t make a dramatic shift in weather, it’s a gentle transition.  The biggest mistake you might be making is that immediately the temperature starts to drop, you ignore all the opportunities of early autumn/fall fashion and start wearing black tights and full-on winter wear.

It’s a huge mistake and it happens every year.

In this blog post we will be covering:

  1. Why you shouldn’t rush into wearing deep winter clothes
  2. Two ways to approach what to wear for early Autumn/Fall fashion
  3. How to easily transition your wardrobe in early Autumn
  4. 5 style tips to get more wear out of your summer faves when the temperature drops
  5. Multi-wear dressing for home and work (and what is multi-wear dressing)
  6. How natural colours are the way forward for early autumn/fall fashion
  7. Why aiming for a trendless wardrobe is a savvy financial investment
  8. Plus we will give you a sneak peak behind the scenes as to how nature plays a fundamental role in our collection inspiration

Early Autumn/Fall fashion - Dresses for your working day - Adventure - Close up - White sleeveless dress with draped collar. Autumn Winter 2020. Part lined.

The most common mistake women make when the temperature starts to drop is that they aim straight for deep winter wear: black tights, heavy wool clothes, cardigans, jackets and coats.  While these are all items that you may look forward to wearing it is a mistake to rush into wearing them too soon.

Don’t rush into wearing deep winter clothes because….

  1. In many northern hemisphere countries winter lasts a long time.  Enjoy autumn/fall for what it is, take your time and gently transition into deep winter-wear.  Otherwise you could be very bored of your wardrobe by early December with at least three months worth of winter wear ahead of you.
  2. Too much time in winter clothes can make you feel depressed and as if the warm days have gone forever.  Autumn days are often beautiful right into November.  So, avoid the depression, dress light as long as you can and those short, dark winter days will come and go a lot quicker than you might think.
  3. Confusion – The temperature will drop, but then it will rise slightly and there will be some days that are warm and other days that are cold.  If you go into winter-wear in early September, you could be back in summer clothes two weeks later and then back into winter wear and end up straddling two seasons for weeks on end, never knowing quite what to wear.

Autumn/Fall is a season not just a warmer version of winter

How to get the balance right with your Autumn/Fall wardrobe

Because autumn/fall is a season, it follows that autumn/fall fashion, even early autumn/fall fashion should play a part in your wardrobe.  Two approaches for what to wear for early autumn/fall fashion are as follows:

  1. Create a wardrobe of flexi-wear clothes.
  2. Treat autumn/fall as a season and have clothes to wear that suit the season

Early Autumn/Fall fashion - Dresses for your working day - Courage - Close up - Grey pleated bodice dress, sleeveless with raised waist seamline but fitted to the natural waist. Autumn Winter 2020. Part lined.

How to create a wardrobe of flexi-wear clothes

A great strategy for early Autumn/Fall fashion is to choose clothes that will straddle the seasons and be flexible enough to take you from the beginning of September to the end of December and even beyond into the new year.

With the huge changes that we have experienced this year with working from home, not going into the office, working remotely from our colleagues and living and working in the same environment our working wardrobe has necessarily also had a sea change.  The outfits that we once wore daily were discarded in favour of much more relaxed dresses and quite often a softer, but no less professional, look.

Working Frocks dresses that transition from September to December

Working Frocks has created a selection of dresses that will do just that: be flexible and take you right through the seasons.  You can start September in sandals and a cardigan and still be wearing the dress with boots, tights, coat and scarf in January.  The dresses are suitable for work, work video calls, and are comfortable enough to sit and work in at home, but stylish enough to feel that you are professional and dressed for work.

This is the way things will go.  Undoubtedly we will return to office life, and many of us miss seeing our colleagues each day, but increasingly women will be looking for flexi-wear clothes.

So, flexi-wear clothing will help you straddle the seasons as well as navigate the new home work situations that we find ourselves in.

Early fall/autumn collection header banner. Link to shop collection

Treat autumn/fall as a season and have the right clothes to wear

Pulling together a wardrobe of clothes, some from summer, with a few pieces of lighter-weight autumn/fall wear is a sensible and workable solution to early autumn/fall.

Here is a general list of how to create a working wardrobe for early fall/autumn that will help you transition into cooler weather but at the same time provide clothes for those lovely warm days that are still ahead.

How to create a working wardrobe for early autumn/fall

  1. Remove obvious high summer pieces, (wash them and store them).
  2. Acknowledge that the season won’t change much immediately but you can make small shifts now.
  3. Because the season won’t change much right now, don’t anticipate going into all black, tights and heavy knitwear immediately.
  4. Grooming – sort your hair / sort your make up / decide on your choices of nail varnish.  Does your hair look great for the beach, but not so great for a work context?  Those highlights that have been bleached by the sun, and which are growing out, may look tousled and relaxed when you’re in the garden, but you might benefit from a slightly more groomed look for returning to work.  Hair, eyebrows and nails are three easy ways to look instantly groomed, so if you’re feeling a little washed out spend a little time on those three categories and see how they make you feel instantly better.
  5. It’s useful to create an early September timeline for yourself of what you can continue to wear: Keep out neutrals – white teeshirts, black/beige linen trousers / anything in pale grey / stone.  Write them out to remind you of what you’ve got that is perfect to wear now.
  6. Jewellery – put away the more obvious pieces such as large hoop earrings, summer style bangles.  Rework your jewellery and wear a new selection for the new season.
  7. For work – don’t go into heavy wear (see above) – Wear short ,sleek, or sleeveless pieces – you can wear them with a jacket or coat later in the season. Wear lighter fabrics.   Alternatives to a coat could be a leather jacket or denim jacket, so wear those on cooler days.

    Five more reasons….

  8. Neutral colours – white grey, black are perfect.  Note, I mean black dresses not black tights or heavy knitwear at this stage.  Neutral colours don’t look too summery or too wintery.
  9. No black tights. Nude tights or bare legs at this stage are the way to go.  Stick to bare legs as long as you are able, it will make you hold on to summer longer.  Keep them sleek with moisturiser, maybe with a touch of colour or shimmer.
  10. Simple silhouettes look good at this time of year.  Save more complicated outfits and silhouettes for later in the season.  Don’t pile on “stuff”, just maybe a lightweight scarf or pashmina and keep your jewellery uncluttered.
  11. From your existing autumn/fall winter wardrobe only wear the lighter-weight clothes – pick a few choice pieces and introduce the rest slowly – remember February is still 5 months away.
  12. Have designated early autumn/fall outfits show from collection eg white dress, sandals, jacket or grey draped dress and brooch and shoes.  Create two or three outfits that you can wear without much thought.

If you only do one of the above at this stage do the last one.  Have designated early autumn/fall outfits ready to wear that will cope with the warmth of a summer’s day or be able to cope with a cooler day.


Early Autumn/Fall fashion - Dresses for your working day - Challenge - Close up - black and white style a-line dress, sleeveless with white trinagular fabric panel at the shoulder and white small funnel neckline. Autumn Winter 2020. Part lined.

Keeping hold of summer

Rather than be keen to rush into autumn/fall wear you may want to hold on to summer as long as you possible can.  Despite the way that the world has changed, and our lives have changed, this year, for many of us we have had beautiful days and are reluctant to say good bye to the light days and the easy way we wear clothes in the warmer months.  There are ways to continue wearing your summer clothes and we have put together 5 style tips to get more wear out of your favourite clothes.  Some of the tips refer to advice elsewhere in this post, but take the tips that are most relevant to you and which you are more motivated to act on, and take action.

How to keep wearing summer clothes as we transition into autumn/fall

Here are 5 style tips on how to get more wear out of your summer faves when the temperature drops:

Early fall/autumn collection header banner. Link to shop collection

5 style tips on how to get more wear out of your summer faves when the temperature drops

Just a reminder to:

  1. Put away “high summer season” items – bikini, kaftan etc
  2. wear – neutral colours with a colour accent eg beige trousers, white tee, pale blue cashmere jumper (there is a Working Frocks Styling Tip on this, it was written for summer but you can adapt it for early autumn, it is the Colour Palette tip)

5 style tips to get the most out of your summer faves in early fall/autumn

For work the summer pieces you can keep out are:

    1. black linen shift dress
    2. dark beige/biscuit dress or skirt suit
    3. some sandals especially anything in biscuit/beige/pale brown.  A chunky sandal with a wedge or platform heel is perfect.  If you don’t have suitable sandals to keep wearing then lightweight court shoes, or even better, slingback shoes would be great.  Wear them with nude tights, not black or even go with bare legs if ok to do so at work (or you’re working from home).
    4. Avoid long and too drapey items.  A shorter jacket  is better than a long one.  A knee length skirt is better than a long, gathered floaty skirt.
    5. Early fall/autumn is a time to wear simple clothes that show off how healthy you are.  Whether you have been at home in the garden, or had a holiday in your own country, or even travelled abroad, at this time of year we look our most ‘outdoor healthy’.  It doesn’t last long so maximise it now.  Keep your skin in good condition, lots of moisturiser and focus on health and wear simple silhouettes.

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Multi-wear dressing for home and work

How to do multi-wear dressing for home and work

Working from home this year has led to the rise of Zoom meeting outfits – smart shirt and pyjamas combinations, weeks in jogging pants, leading teams from your sofa and managing your diary from your bedside table or the kitchen.  This change in our work pattern has accelerated what was maybe always on the horizon: For a while we have been able to work from home, this year it became mandatory.

Additionally, working from home this year has changed the boundaries of what we wear.  We have learnt to work and live our home lives side by side, cheek by jowl, in a new way that we have never encountered before.

On the one hand we still need and want to turn up for work looking professional and competent and with the right mindset.  On the other hand, we are now at home and living a ‘home’ life rather than an ‘office’ life.

The question is will we ever go back?  Will we return to how life was before the pandemic, or have we moved on now and are learning to deal with the new reality, the new way of managing and negotiating our lives?

I suspect that something has now changed for good and we will not go back to the way things were.  There will always be a need for  specific smart pieces, such as event wear.  And there will be a need for specific relaxing pieces, such as the huge percentage rise in “athleisure” wear that we have witnessed over the past few months.

…But what about every day – what do we now wear?

There is a balance to strike between being comfortable and looking good for work

Studies (in enclothed cognition) show that when we “dress up” for work we act more out of that character.  Our aim at Working Frocks is to use that “dress up” factor to empower women to feel confident and able to manage their working and home lives, while at the same time producing clothes that are easy to wear as well as beautiful.

Throughout the uncertainties of life, particularly life this year, do not underestimate the power of habit.  Habit is a great force for good in our lives, particularly at times of uncertainty.  To get up each day and have a daily routine which includes what you wear and why you are wearing it, not only sets you up for a great day, but will be a source of comfort and reliability in your life.  Clothes are not just clothes, they are tools that you can use to manage, and enjoy, the life that you are creating for yourself.  Even in a time of global chaos.

Conversely an unstructured life at home can lead to chaos.  Piles of clothes, piles of papers, books everywhere, unwashed pots and pans in the kitchen can all be unsettling and do not provide a calm environment in which to live.

This is where multi-wear dressing comes into its own.  Multi-wear dressing is dressing in clothes that can straddle more than one activity type.  So, for example, it’s a dress that you can sit at home working on the sofa in, take an online meeting in and go out and meet a client still wearing the same dress.

When we were first in lockdown many women spent weeks in their sports gear.  That’s multi-wear dressing at a basic level.  But ongoing we are going to need something a little more elevated than that!  So here are some really useful tips for multi-wear dressing in our new work/home life reality:

Tips for multi-wear dressing

Tips for multi-wear dressing

    1. a dress is your new bf.  Pick one in your wardrobe that you love, or buy one of ours at Shop the Frocks.  It needs to be light enough to wear now, and for you to be able to layer it up and continue to wear it through the seasons and whether you are working at home or in the office
    2. Knee length dresses are great for multi-wear dressing.  Additionally, to get full multi-wear action out of your dress, you will need:
      1. a pair of shoes that go with the dress that you can wear now,
      2. a pair of shoes that go with the dress that you can wear with black tights (can be the pair above,
      3. a pair of boots that go with the dress
      4. a cardigan, shawl, pashmina, scarf and coat/cape that all go with the dress
      5. a bag that you can use now and maybe another bag that you can transition into in November/December
      6. optional extra: high heels for party wear that go with the dress
    3. Don’t wear restrictive clothing: skirts too tight that you can’t walk in properly; skirts too long; waists too tight.  The only way this will work is if you feel comfortable in the first place
    4. Develop a loose uniform for the week. Plan it out in advance.  Try and have three seasonally transitional outfits you can wear and gather together the items listed in 2. above.
    5. Jewellery – you could wear certain pieces of jewellery for working and keep some for home.
    6. Reserve some clothing items exclusively for “home” wear, eg jeans or anything sports related.  This will ensure that you create boundaries and stop life from blending into one and you ending up on a 24hr work cycle where you don’t make time to stop and take time off.
    7. Make dressing up to go out fun.  When you do go out, have an outfit to wear that you look forward to wearing.

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The trendless wardrobe

As a professional working woman with maybe a family to manage your aim should be a trendless wardrobe with a scattering of high fashion, trend-led, or vintage items.

Multi-wear dressing leans towards being trendless.  If you need flexible clothing that will cope with a variety of different diary activities, then simplicity and trendless-ness are going to be an advantage to you.

The trendless wardrobe is a great idea.  Focus on classic shapes and fabrics that will stand the test of time and really pay their way in your closet.  Pay for quality items that are well designed and unique and produced in low quantities to ensure relative exclusivity.  These items will pay for themselves again and again and prove to be a wise investment.  Trendless doesn’t just have to be a classic shape, such as an a-line dress.  It can also be designer pieces that don’t conform to current fashion trends, which are unusual and individual in their own right, and which you will wear for decades to come.

Trendless but not bland

While we would encourage a trendless wardrobe, there is a difference between trendless and bland.  So often images of models in classic style clothing show them emotionless and bland.  Trendless does not have to be bland.  It can be a great blank canvas upon which to dress up but I am not wishing you into a life of clothing boredom.

Clothes should be fun and express you and your personality.  The advantage of trendless clothes such as those in the “Off the beach” collection is that they are produced in neutral colours and are created in easy to wear shapes.  Not only will you wear these dresses for many years to come, but you will also wear them across many months of the year, which will make them really good value in terms of financial investment.

How natural colours are the way forward for early autumn/fall fashion

Do you think that natural colours are a boring?  I’m talking taupe/beige/white/black/great/brown.  You might think of them as neutrals.  At Working Frocks we think of them as natural, as they occur naturally and frequently in nature.

Yes, blue and green are natural colours too and I love both colours.  Dark green can be a great foundation on which to build a beautiful wardrobe.  Wardrobes don’t have to be built on a foundation of black or blue.

However, it’s not blue and green that are in consideration for early fall/autumn.  It’s the black/white/greys.  These colours are great staples to have in your wardrobe for a variety of reasons including:

Natural colours are easy to wear;

They are calm colours to wear;

Natural colours echo the seasons and keep you in tune with the earth;

Natural colours look effortless and stylish at the same time (maximum effect for minimum effort!)

Natural colours will coordinate with your summer clothes and mix well with your winter clothes, so they are great transitional colours to employ in your closet;

Are you getting the idea?

Because you can interplay natural colours with each other and with other seasonal clothes, you need fewer items.  This will lead to a small wardrobe of clothes that you wear often, rather than a large collection of clothes you wear less.

Natural colours look great at work.  They look professional.

Natural colours have authority.  Of course if you are going into a meeting to disrupt something, for whatever reason, you might not want to wear natural colours.  You might want to wear bright pink, or red.

Natural colours look like uniform in the nicest possible way.  And we all know that armies with the best uniforms often win!

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Finally, a word about the inspiration for the clothes that Working Frocks designs.

How the beach inspired these great early autumn/fall dresses

I have always loved the natural colours of the outdoor environment.  I think everybody does.

They are calming and refreshing and invigorating.

Nature is great in her variety and we have learnt what colour is from the natural environment.  Our first experience of colour is through nature.

One way or another we are all drawn towards colour and I am no exception.  I am very drawn towards colour and the effect it has on the brain.

Over the years I have collected lots of beach “stuff” or ‘ephemera’ (great word).  I’ve made patterns from seaweed, planned jewellery using shells as inspiration and taken endless photos of ‘textures’.  And, I return again and again to the stones on the beach.  I enjoy the colours, the textures, the shapes, the harmony of the whole.  It’s great for our bodies just to be in the environment.  To take in the sun, the wind, the smell of the sea.  To paddle, or swim.

Off the beach

One year taking yet another picture of black/grey/white pebbles on the beach, I had the idea for clothes transitioning out of summer.  During those few weeks in August we are able to lose track of time and enjoy being on holiday together. We live life simply and comunally.  But then we are abruptly pulled back into our working lives.  It requires a whole sea change in what we wear: one minute we are in a sundress, the next minute we are in office wear.  It seems such a cruel wrench: we finally relax only to be hoiked back into the world of work.  That’s where the idea came for the “Off the beach” dresses.

Off the beach

The idea for “Off the beach” came from thinking about the transition.  There is not much difference between the last week in August and the first in September.  However we have an expectation around it that changes our attitude towards it.

On the one hand we are reluctant to leave the summer behind; on the other, there is an excitement around September; around something new happening that is unique to that time of year.

Summer to fall is eagerly anticipated and commented on.  More so than in any other seasonal transition, it’s a time when we want to see some marker in the ground.  We want to see a marker that has summer on the one side and autumn on the other. Probably to do with the pattern of our holidays, and of school and college term and semester dates.

Seasons that cycle, dresses that cycle

The “Off the beach” dresses are designed to take you from the beach right up to December.  They take you from right where you are right now: at the end of the summer; not wanting to let go.  Gently, they ease you into the seasons to come.  They are gentle dresses that pack a punch.  You can start off wearing them with sandals.  And then, you can finish in December wearing them with boots or your Christmas party shoes.  Inspired by the beach, they will become perennial classics in your wardrobe.  You will look forward to wearing them each year. Not as a sign that something has finished, but that the seasons are a cycle.  Someday soon, you will be back on the beach again.  In the meantime you can look forward to all that is to come in the new season.

Welcome to early fall….or as we say in the UK, autumn.

Early fall/autumn collection header banner. Link to shop collection


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