Fall Is Coming, But It's Still Hot Outside—Here's How to Dress for a Warm Autumn


(Image credit: @inthing_)

Fall is similar to spring in that it starts very differently than how it ends. On day one, it will probably still feel like the hottest of summer days, and by the end of it, it'll feel so cold you'll already be unpacking your winter coats. In some places, though, it may stay in the 80s or 90s all season long. I live in Los Angeles, where, I'll argue, there is a distinct feeling in the air come autumn, but even so, it's still capital-H Hot. But the nice thing about a warm autumn? It means you don't fully have to abandon some of your favorite pieces from summer. Ribbed-knit tanks? Keep those! Padded-shoulder tees? Definitely leave those hanging in your closet. Baggy denim? That isn't going away anytime soon.

I think the key thing to remember when dressing for hot weather any time of year is that layers are your best friend. Fabrics and styles that give you that cozy fall feeling—knits, turtlenecks, blazers, trousers—all have cooler alternatives. Shop knit tanks and crops with mock necks; look for thin, breezy blazers and baggy trousers; choose dresses and skirts that look just as cute with tights as they do without. I personally love chunky school-girl shoes in the fall too. Something about them creates that leaves-are-changing-color feeling I always seek out in the fall, and they look great with everything I've shopped out here, from ribbed-knit dresses to denim and leather miniskirts. Keep reading to get my tips for dressing during a hot fall.

Layerable Tops


(Image credit: @rosieannbutcher)

From knits to button-downs with dramatic collars, summer's top styles aren't getting swapped out this fall. I suggest shopping for boxy knit tanks that can be layered over said button-downs when the heat finally winds down. And just because it's hot doesn't mean you can't wear sweaters—just choose ones that are cropped and sleeveless. Anything long-sleeved should be airy and made of cotton to help keep your body temp low.

Light Outerwear


(Image credit: @basicstouch)

Just because it's hot doesn't mean you need to skimp on outerwear. Besides, even the hottest fall days usually end with a cool night. There are plenty of thin or breezy options that can elevate your look. Blazers and linen utility jackets are a couple of my favorite lightweight styles. I also like to boxy denim and linen button-downs and wear them open like a jacket.

Versatile Dresses & Skirts


(Image credit: @em_tong)

When I say versatile, I mean when you're opting for a dress or skirt, ask yourself if it will look good with tights. Not all dresses and skirts are created equal in that regard, and you want something that you can carry through fall when the temperatures finally do drop. Think '90s miniskirts, ribbed-knit dresses that are all the rage right now, and checkered fabrics.

Loose Pants


(Image credit: @oliviafaeh)

I don't think many people have given their skinny jeans a second look since the pandemic started, and the good news is that you still don't have to. Sweating in a tight pair of jeans is not ideal, so opt for trousers in fun silhouettes and patterns and loose-fitting jeans because it's not really fall without some kind of denim, right?

Chunky Shoes


(Image credit: @champagnemani)

For the entire five years that I lived in San Francisco, I only wore chunky shoes, which probably isn't all that surprising given the city's weather and vibe. Wearing sandals upon moving back to L.A. was a shock to my feet. Needless to say, I'm overjoyed that my beloved oxfords and chunky heels are back just in time for fall. The best thing is these oxfords look just as cute with barely there socks as they do with tights or crew socks (as shown here).

Up next, I'm super into these 12 queer female and nonbinary designers.

Copy Editor, Branded Content

Aralyn Beaumont joined Who What Wear as the copy editor for branded content after a career in food media. Years of poring over intricate recipes with a fine-tooth comb and working with high-profile chefs has prepared her well for working with fashion's top brands while honoring Who What Wear's voice. Her background as a research editor makes her a finicky editor who will probably care too much about making sure all copy is as factually accurate and aligned with the house style guide as can be. Maybe it's because she's a Gemini, but her personal style is impossible to pin down: One day you'll see her in a turtleneck sweater tucked into a midi skirt with heeled boots, and the next, she'll be wearing mom jeans, a white Hanes tee, and classic Vans. At the end of the day, her style reflects her various moods. Sometimes it will be feminine and elegant, and others it will be grungy or androgynous. Certain things will always remain constant, though. She'll forever be on the hunt for the perfect pair of high-waisted jeans.