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Don’t Ditch Fall Fashion Just Because It’s Still Hot Out

Autumn has always been my favorite season, and for a countless myriad of reasons: the cozy vibes, colorful foliage, lit candles, pumpkin spice everything — but what I especially love about fall is the fashion. Chunky knit sweaters, boots, warm colors, oversized sweatshirts… the list goes on. But alas, it’s difficult to fully participate in fall fashion in warm weather — and especially when I live in the temperate city of Los Angeles, where it’s perpetually sunny and 70 degrees Fahrenheit even during the peak of the fall season.

But Los Angeles isn’t the only place that is now warm during the autumn months. Due to the impacts of climate change, the entire nation is experiencing a hotter fall than usual this year. According to Climate Central, of 246 cities analyzed, 95% have experienced an increase in fall temperatures since 1970. For instance, in Philadelphia, the average fall temperature has risen 2.7 degrees since 1970. The increasing temperatures have even contributed to a stark change in autumn foliage this season, with higher temperatures causing many leaves to prematurely dry out and fall before ever getting to show off their typical vibrant hues. 

So not only is climate change killing millions of animal and plant species, but now it’s also killing fall fashion. How am I supposed to wear my favorite chunky turtleneck when it’s 80 degrees outside… in November? One Twitter user encapsulated the sentiment well, writing, “Damn it’s still too warm for fall attire.” 

I love scrolling through TikTok and seeing the latest trends and styles – from the dark academia fashion trend to the newest street style trend – and I especially love seeing fashion creators and influencers show off their autumn capsule wardrobes, offering more sustainable options for the season, but every day I have to lament how I can’t show off my fall wardrobe; how am I supposed embody this aesthetic without overheating on the regular?

Luckily, I figured it out! Despite the heating climate, it’s still possible to embrace your favorite fall fashion aesthetics without sacrificing your comfort in the warm weather; here are four of my favorite ways.

Layer Up… Or Down!

Due to the unpredictability of the weather this season, layers will quickly become your new best friend. What I love about wearing layers is if I get too hot, I can peel a layer off, and when I get too cold early in the morning walking to class or late at night when I’m making a grocery run, I can put a layer back on. Although it can be annoying to carry around layers when you’re not wearing them, it’s a great alternative to getting overheated and sweaty when walking around campus if your oversized sweater is all you put on.

To achieve the look, throw on a short or long sleeve tee, or button-up, like fashion TikToker @melikakamalii likes to do, on under a sweatshirt, and add a cute cardigan or leather jacket over it. You’re good to go!

Trade Your Favorite Pair Of Jeans For A Cute Skirt

Thanks to the warmer weather this year, it may be too hot some days to wear jeans or leggings (which is a tragedy, considering jeans are always my go-to), so why not opt for something else like a cute black miniskirt, an item you likely already have in your closet? There are so many outfit possibilities with a black miniskirt, from pairing it with a lightweight sweater to throwing it on with a graphic tee. 

I also love throwing on my favorite tennis skirt – thanks to a recent resurgence of the Y2K trend – with a collegiate sweatshirt! Add a pair of black oxfords or loafers to elevate the look. 

Throw On A Button-Up Shirt

Popularized by Instagram celebrities and influencers like Matilda Djerf, button-ups have become even more of a fall clothing staple than ever before – and they make an especially good addition to your fall capsule wardrobe, due to their simplicity and versatility. They’re also really lightweight, and can be worn on their own or layered over or under something else. Button-up shirts are also easy to find at thrift and second hand stores, making them an affordable and sustainable addition to your closet! 

I recommend getting button-up shirts in simple colors that go with anything, like white, brown, and gray. For an effortless look, try pairing a loose button-up with a pair of loose pants and white sneakers.

Wear Autumnal Colors

If you can’t wear your favorite knit sweaters or chunky boots due to the heat, at least you can always wear your favorite summer styles in fall colors! For classic autumnal shades, think browns, neutrals, warm tones, and dark hues. If you want to get a little trendier, this year’s colors include ndigo, green, clay, and red, according to Marie Claire.

Personally, my favorite color of this season is brown! I own several short sleeve brown baby tees that I wear when it’s too hot outside (thanks, LA) but I still want to participate in dressing for the season. I love this cozy brown look from Instagram influencer Brit Harvey, and it’s so easy to recreate! Just throw on a pair of brown boots, your favorite blue jeans, and a brown sweater or cardigan, like this fuzzy one from Princess Polly.

It may not quite be the fall fashion you were looking for, but don’t let climate change ruin your aesthetic this season – you can still totally dress for the fall, if even if you can’t do it while dressing for the weather!

Studies Referenced:

Climate Central (2021). 51 Years Of Fall Temperature Data In 246 U.S. Locations.

Zoë is a national contributing writer and was formerly a summer 2021 editorial intern at Her Campus. She is also a senior at Loyola Marymount University where she studies English and public relations. In her free time, Zoë can be found taking photos, reading, and going to cute (but overpriced) coffee shops.
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