Spring Forward: Transitional Must-Haves

Happy first day of spring 2016, Petite Crew! I celebrated the new season by finishing my winter semester – a huge sigh of relief – and doing some recon on the state of my wardrobe. As you know, my theme for 2016 (and beyond) is More With Less, and am now putting it to the test with the seasonal transition. How do you “do more with less” when it’s in the mid-70s one day and the 30s the next? I’m not exaggerating here. It’s all a matter of using what you’ve got correctly. Here are my must-have items to get from winter into spring without losing your mind:

Neutral Cardigans

A nice neutral cardigan can pair easily with most outfits, whether you’re partial to winter’s dark hues or spring’s bright ones. And, more importantly, they’re removable – so if the day starts off brisk and ends sweltering, you’re no worse off on either end.

I recommend pairing neckline with neckline; that is, if your top has a v-neck, wear a v-neck cardi, and likewise for crew necks. An exception can be made for an open cardigan, which wears well with basically anything.

Most of the cardigans I’ve known and loved have come from Loft:

Screenshot 2016-03-20 21.29.06

L to R: Signature Cotton Cardigan | One-Button Cardigan | Brushed Open Cardigan (All Loft)

Short Sleeve Knits

Since I’m wearing cardigans nearly every day in March, I need something to wear underneath that isn’t going to be too bulky (that would be uncomfortable), nor do I want anything that will have too much detail (which would get lost under another piece of clothing). For that reason I end up wearing a lot of short sleeve knits in early spring.

I hesitate to call them t-shirts, though for all intents and purposes that’s what they are, because t-shirt brings to mind the freebie you got for volunteering at that beer festival, or the Hanes v-neck your dad wears beneath his button-ups. I urge you to keep in mind: I mean neither of those things. Instead, what I mean is a knit (could be cotton, could be wool, could be linen, could be silk, could be synthetic, could be a blend) that you would feel comfortable wearing with a nice skirt for a church service or with ankle pants to the office on Casual Friday. For springtime I’m really into navy, blush, and olive – they’re faux-neutrals that go with almost everything but bring a bit more earthiness into the palette after a winter of black.

For me, knit tops means Everlane. Their business model is admirable (ethical sourcing, quality products, transparent pricing) and the fit is impeccable for my shape and size. I like a tee with a little bit of slouch adds an “I woke up like this” quality to the look, but Everlane’s got a fit for everyone, so if you prefer something more fitted, they’ve got you covered.

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L to R: The Cotton V | The Cotton U | The Pima Stretch Mid-Sleeve | The Clean-Edge Short Sleeve (All Everlane)

Tan Ankle Boots

Ankle boots are, of course, a year-round favorite of Team PCA. However, they really earn their cost in transitional seasons like springtime. Often it’s still too cold to go without socks (making pumps and more traditional springtime shoes like ballet flats irresponsible choices) but too warm for a knee-high boot (not to mention, I’m completely sick of wearing knee-high boots by the end of February each year). By contrast, the ankle boot accomplishes everything you need from a shoe during this time. A tan boot has the lighter feel of springtime (see the aforementioned statement about winter black) and, depending on the shade, can be worn with bare legs on one of those hopeful 72-degree days.

When dropping the cash required for a pair of well-made boots, comfort and quality are key. Look for real leather and make sure they feel good from the moment you try them on – you don’t want to hang your hopes on a pair of $150 boots eventually breaking in, especially since you’ll be unable to return them once they’re well-worn enough to have given it a fair shot.

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L to R: Petty (Sam Edelman) | Cassidy (Cole Haan)

Sam Edelman’s Petty and Cole Haan’s Cassidy are gaining cult status, and with good reason. Both are made from high quality leather and the thousands of five-star reviews out there for each sing the praises of how long they last (my own tan Cassidy booties have been around for four years and the sole and upper remain in great shape, despite the abuse city streets have imposed on them). Both come in extended sizes as well, all the better to ensure your investment is made wisely.

Petite Crew, what pieces carry you from cold to warm weather?

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