Dressing for a Californian Autumn

I’m in the process of creating my very first capsule wardrobe. This is very exciting for me since this is the third time I’ve told myself I’m doing this. The first two times didn’t go very well. The questions the guidelines asked were very reflective, but I got stuck at either the step where you define your style – which just means I have a problem that involves an inability to stop pinning cute outfits to secret Pinterest boards (even if I would never wear them ) – or I’d get stuck at the point where you have to give all your clothes away.

This time, I’m using Caroline’s system from her blog, Unfancy. I first heard her talk about walking away from her successful capsule wardrobe blog on The Lively Show and I’ve listened to both episodes that feature Caroline multiple times. Anyway, even though that blog isn’t updated anymore, you can still download the free capsule wardrobe planner, and this is by far my favorite one. It’s three pages, double-sided and very easily completed. But here’s my problem: California doesn’t really do fall. So I excitedly planned for a wardrobe uniform of skinny jeans, ankle boots and comfy sweaters only to remember that fall in California means 80 degrees and sunny...at least until November-ish.

Now I’m faced with the challenge of figuring out how to mix my summer clothes with my desired fall ones. Because I will wear seasonal clothing, even if it means heat stroke. So without further ado, here are some realistic, easy ideas for my fellow Cali girls (ew sorry) out there who want to wear their flannel and keep cool, too.


I actually wore this outfit (minus the Birks) to work on Monday a few weeks ago! I knew it would be warm later in the day but cool in the morning, so I grabbed my new, big, orange patterned scarf and paired it with a gray loose v-neck tee shirt, white jeans and saltwater sandals.


I loved this outfit without the scarf, but adding it gave just enough visual interest to really look like you tried…which is really what I’m going for come Monday morning.

layer it on (obvs)

While practically a no-brainer, this is still worth pointing out. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve shown up to work in a short sleeve dress and grabbed a chambray top out of the backseat of my car, wrinkles and all. It’s saved my butt during those cold mornings!


A similar iteration of this combo would be to pair a swing dress (or even a skater dress) with a flannel. Because we all deserve to show up to work feeling as comfy as we would in our pajamas while looking hella cool.


If I may, I'd like to gush about how much I adore these ankle boots. Lucky Brand is by far my favorite when it comes to ankle boots because the top of the boot hits at a super flattering point of the leg on a short girl like me. Other brands almost always hit well above my ankle, which makes it impossible for me to wear them with anything but skinny jeans. Chicas with long legs can manage a boot that hits that high, but on me, those boots make my legs look stubby.

So if you are looking for boots that hit right at your ankle, look no further than these. Seriously. The style is Basel and they come in multiple colors.

tough it out

When you've exhausted all measures but haven't convinced yourself that 85 is too warm for a sweater and jeans, you make sure to wear an open toe shoe for feng shui purposes...at least I do.

I bought these jeans a few weeks ago from American Eagle. They were the first non-skinnies purchased in ten years and I've gotta tell ya, they are so comfy. If you're on Pinterest, you've probably seen one fashion blogger or another wearing big bell bottoms this spring or summer. I -- forever late to trend parties -- tried on the full boho flare jean at AE at the end of September. In the end the massive flare was too much of a visual shock for me (and honestly, I always prefered the skinny flares back in 5th grade...I can literally picture them right now). so I opted for a bootcut leg.

To up the boho drama of this outfit, I'd pair the jeans with a wedge or a strappy flat sandal. Trust me on the flat sandal thing. I didn't think it would work, but it totally does! It gave my look at very 70's hippie vibe, at least it gave me that vibe!

As much as I wish I could celebrate fall like the majority of the country gets to, I'm being intentional about enjoying the warm weather and the extension it gives my brown skin. I can already feel the cold creeping its way into the morning and night. It'll soon takeover and we will all don our boots and sweaters and scarves and hats. But for now, I hope these outfits serve as a jumping off point for you!

Happy semi-seasonal dressing!

- Alex