What is ‘transitional dressing’ and how will it improve your style?

At the risk of being banned from every runway show and press event and from here until my death, I’m going to be real with you here Gents. There’s a tiny itsy-bitsy little part of the fashion industry that is, well, kind of douchey. Some of the people are, believe it or not, not the kind of people you would want to be stuck next to at a party, some of the outfits on display at fashion shows can, at first glance, seem a tad ridiculous, and some of the vocabulary, well, some of it is just plain stupid.

There are a few buzzwords thrown around the fashion industry each season (‘season’ being fashion-speak for ‘6 months’ FYI) that are, with all due respect to those that coined them, quite frankly a load of rubbish. We call clothes ‘pieces’ for example, a small amount of clothes becomes ‘a capsule collection’ and – one of my particular favourites – a ‘functional shoe’ can just as easily be referred to as ‘utilitarian-inspired accessory’. What, you might ask then, do we call a flap of fabric overlying on outerwear? Why it’s a ‘flange’, of course. It’s good, isn’t it? There are lots more where that came from, but like I said, at the risk of loosing my job, I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

Transitional Dressing - TGJ.02

Now, onto transitional. Whilst it awkwardly dances on the blurry line between douche-dom and acceptable everyday language, once stripped of its possibly pretentious connotations it could be the answer to all your wardrobe wonderments come spring. Simply speaking, it refers to clothes that seamlessly ‘transition’ you from winter into spring, without having to buy a whole new wardrobe.

The idea with transitional dressing is pretty simple. Buy a few new items and I mean ‘a few’, mix them in with your winter wardrobe, adopt a few rules to styling them, edit out some strictly winter-only items and you’re set. Until, of course, summer comes and then it’s just a whole new ball game of sartorial slip-ups, but we’ll come to that at a later date. Until then, here are a few easy rules to help you transition in sartorial style now that March is upon us…


Jumpers for Spring

Linen shirts? Summer. Heavy cashmere sweaters? Winter. Shorts? Summer. Cotton blend jumpers? Spring. Got it? Good.

Clockwise from left: £135, Folk£175, Margaret Howell£160, Alex Mill


Layering - TGJ

Sure, we all like to layer in the winter months – more for warmth than anything else though – but come the transition between seasons, layering is as important for looking good as it is dealing with the bipolar temperatures. Just ensure that the crusty t-shirt you’ve been wearing under your old grey woollen jumper for warmth all winter is replaced with something you wouldn’t be ashamed of should you need to shed a layer or two.

Clockwise from left: Jacket £1,650, RRLShirt £220, Brunello Cucinelli; T-shirt £70, Frame Denim


Chamray - TGJ.01

Heavier weighted than a traditional cotton shirt, it’s the perfect piece for your transitional wardrobe. Find yourself warming up on a sun-drenched spring afternoon? Roll up the sleeves. Feeling a bit of an April chill one morning? Throw a cream cable knit jumper over it.

Clockwise from Left: £225, Dunhill; £135, Hackett; £120, A.P.C


One of the easiest ways to nail transitional dressing is simply switching up your footwear. Kick your chunky winter boots to the back of your wardrobe and invest in an elegant suede desert boot instead, whilst keeping everything else as it was – perfect with black jeans, a grey t-shirt and the jacket that you’re moments away from buying (see next point).

Clockwise from left: £335, O’Keeffe; £1,010, Tom Ford; £210, Grenson


Jackets - tgj

I am a sucker for a man in a bomber jacket, but personal preference aside, it really is the perfect jacket for transitional dressing. Lighter than your big winter coats, but warm enough to see you through chillier evenings in style, I cannot recommend them enough. Hackett have some of the best on the market at present and at a reasonable price point too, but if you’re looking to splash a little more cash (they’ll take you straight through summer too by the way, so very much worth every penny) then A.P.C and Tom Ford have some seriously lust-worthy ones.

Clockwise from left: £675, Hackett£100, ASOS; £815, A.P.C


Umbrella - tgj
Ok, it’s hardly groundbreaking, but invest in a decent smart umbrella and it’ll become more important to your transitional wardrobe than anything else in there.

Left to right: £230, Francesco Maglia; £60, London Undercover



Holly Macnaghten is the Fashion Director at The Gentleman's Journal

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