This is the time of year when no one's ever quite sure what's best to wear on any given day. The nights are cool, but the days are still warm, especially in the sun, but then a breeze or the clouds hit and everything changes. Multiple layers are usually overkill, but the sandals are gone, and some flexibility is certainly required to not only look the season, but the feel prepared for the day.
Make it happen with these five summer-to-fall transition essentials.
1. Heavy-duty cotton chinos - These fall (get it?) between your workaday denim and a full on pair of wool trousers. When its cool, they're warm, and when it's warm, they'll still breathe. The cotton twill doesn't help much in a fall drizzle, but either do your jeans (they're made of cotton too), and the warm, earth-y colors match the season. These are basically what have been colloquially come to be known as "khakis" but the color options extend much beyond desert explorer.
2. A denim jacket - I'll admit that I've never been able to pull one of these off, but I still want to try. The weight and rugged texture here is perfect for fall. If you, like me, tend to give off a Vinnie Barbarino vibe, a canvas or duck cloth coat in the same cut and styling serves the same texture. Check out this ManMade guest post for ideas for getups that work: 5 Ways to Wear and Layer Denim Jackets for Fall
3. Long-sleeve henley - The shirt of fall Saturdays. It is, basically, a polo without a collar, so treat it as such. Wear it on its own with jeans, and push the sleeves up if you get too warm. Try placing the front behind your belt buckle for a semi-tucked in look, which can really dress things up. Or, build it into your layering system, try one over or under an oxford cloth button down for a little collegiate sporting look, which works well for bigger guys or athletic builds.
Pictured: Target Merona Lightweight Henley
4. Leather shoes or boots - No, don't jump from canvas sneakers or boat shoes to snow boots, but do realize that fall often brings unexpected weather, and you want your feet to stay warm and dry without overheating. Try heavier leather brogues, dessert boots, or work-style boots and wear with jeans or chinos. And to treat them for the season, check out our ManMade guide to Care for and Protect Your Leather Boots and Shoes. For a great boot option at several price points, check out the ManMade's Fall Boot Roundup: 5 Stylish Pairs for Any Budget.
5. Plaid button-down - It's not that plaid goes away in the spring and summer, but fall is the time for embracing the full-on Scottish Tartans, not just the small checks of warmer weather. Whether you go flannel, twill, or poplin depends on the day, but we say every fall should start with a new plaid shirt. Or three.
[Top photo: J. Crew Broadmoor Quilted Jacket]