What If Summer Clothes Are the Secret to Great Winter Outfits?

A complete stranger on Instagram once called me a “summer gal,” which delighted me to no end. It also planted a seed of confirmation in my head that, yes, summer is the season in which I — and therefore my outfits — thrive.

All my favorite clothes are summer clothes, partially because I associate them with warmth, beach time, general relaxation vibes and popsicles, but mainly because their stylistic identity is unhampered by utilitarian concerns like ice on the sidewalk, piercing windchill and overall seasonal glumness. While I usually pack up my summer clothes and store them under my bed since my room is quite literally too small to have warm weather and cold weather wardrobes coexist in harmony, I got lazy this year and just left everything out in somewhat chaotic stacks on top of my hamper and standing closet. It doesn’t make for ideal feng shui, but it does give me unprecedented access to certain pieces that I might not see until months from now otherwise — pieces that, logically speaking, are totally inappropriate for temperatures under 65 degrees.

The other day, one of them caught my eye: a white lacy blouse from Isabel Marant Étoile. It called to me like a peach to a pot of cream and I thought to myself, why the hell not? I paired it with a black turtleneck, gray joggers, cowboy boots and a warm coat, and it made me feel great, which therefore made it look great. It also kept me sufficiently warm in tandem with the other items I wore it with, thus sparking a new conviction: With the right styling, you can easily wear your most beloved summer clothes in the middle of winter without freezing your eyebrows off. Keep scrolling for three examples.

1. The Crochet Pants I Last Wore in Florida

When I bought these crochet pants at Rosie Assoulin’s most recent sample sale, I also bought their coordinating crochet halter top. When worn together, they’re pretty much the epitome of “summery,” but I realized that the pants on their own are essentially a sweater for legs, which makes them prime fodder for winter outfitting. Particularly if layered over Uniqlo heattech leggings (you can’t see them, but they’re under there!) and paired with sturdy snow boots.

2. The Cotton-Linen Top I Was Saving for My Next Vacation

When this beautiful embroidered top from Untitled joined the ranks of my wardrobe a few weeks ago, I gazed at it with a mixture of love and resignation — the latter emotion a result of my premature assumption that I wouldn’t be able to wear it until summer, or until my next vacation to somewhere with warm weather (which is entirely hypothetical at this point because I don’t have any vacations planned). I cheered up considerably when it occurred to me that I could pull the same stunt with this that I did with the aforementioned Isabel Marant Étoile top and simply layer it over a turtleneck. I then styled it with a combination of wintertime staples (Carbon38 pants and & Other Stories jacket) plus summery accessories (Mars sunglasses, Staud bucket bag and Reike Nen slingbacks) to ensure the top would look cohesive with the rest of the outfit.

3. The White Denim Midi Skirt That Improves Any Outfit

In the summer, whenever I need to put together an outfit that I know I’ll love and feel good in, I always incorporate this skirt — it’s so reliably satisfying. But why shouldn’t I reap the benefits of that satisfaction from November through March, a giant chunk of the year? Rhetorical question. I obviously should. The skirt is neutral enough that it easily absorbs the identity of whatever pieces I pair it with, even if those pieces happen to be sweaters, tights and boots — which I think is a viable hack for wearing certain summer pieces in the winter across the board. Let go of your preconceived notions and let your clothes surprise you. I guarantee they will.

Photos by Edith Young. 

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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