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Fashion for Fall: the Best Transition Pieces for Women Over 40

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Are you ready for cooler, shorter days? Yeah, me either. The transition seasons of fall and spring are problematic for a budget fashionista — the styles change as much as your need for body coverage does. And then, depending on where you live, you might also have to deal with wild temperature swings from one day to the next. That means the most workable fashion for fall involves layers and, honestly, it’s kind of a good thing.

Light layers are cost-efficient. You can toss them on over your summer clothes in the fall and your winter clothes in the spring, and that increases the useful life of all your favorite pieces. Personally, I’m short on good layers for fall and even shorter on anything that’s remotely on trend for the season. Read on for a recap of the most interesting fall trends plus 10 budget-friendly transition pieces that are on point from a style perspective.

Fashion for fall: 10 trends

Here’s a list of 10 trends and themes that appeared on the fall runways.

1. Asymmetry

Asymmetry can only be described in the obvious way: a design that lacks symmetry. You often see it on hemlines, as in skirts that are shorter on one side or tops that land at your right hip and then angle down to mid-thigh length on the left side. A few years back, button-down tops with mismatched collars were having a moment, too. And back in the 80s, every edgy girl had an asymmetric haircut.

Asymmetry can be flattering, simply because it draws the eye and creates visual interest. An asymmetric top can camouflage a tummy, for example, without covering you all up. And, the diagonal line across your body creates the appearance of length, more so than a straight hem which can emphasize width.

2. Fushcias, oranges, and reds  

Fiery tones are so hot right now (cheesy pun intended). And honestly, it’s a nice change of pace for fall — typically the season of burgundy, navy, and olive green. Seriously, why not add heavily pigmented colors to our fall wardrobe? YOLO!

3. Pattern mixing

As a youngster, my daughter would put together these crazy outfits, things like a pink polka dot top with plaid pants. It’s cute when you’re four, but a tough thing to pull off as an adult — unless, of course, it’s the year of 2020. Go ahead and pair stripes and dots and checks, just because you can.

4. Plaids and checks

Speaking of plaids and checks, they’re also on the docket for fall fashions. This is more of an extension of the pattern mixing trend, but you’re going to see lots of plaid blazers and pants on the racks this season. You can dabble in this fall trend without overspending by looking for checked scarves or sweater vests.

5. Big blazers

Think big shoulders and an oversized fit. Most of us will want a belt to pull this look off; otherwise, you might feel like you’re wearing a tent.

6. Fuzzy coats

First, we had teddy bear coats. A fuzzy coat is a slightly more adult version of the teddy coat. Look for thick textures and tie in an oversized fit for two trends in one.

7. Wide-brim hats

In summer, we reach for wide-brim hats for sun protection. In fall and winter, that wide-brimmed hat is a fashion statement. Lean towards styles that have a fall vibe, like those made of wool or felt rather than straw. 

8. Capes

Thank the fashion gods for giving us the cape this year, as it is basically the perfect transition piece for fall. Toss one on over whatever for an instant boost of warmth and style.

9. Chains

Chain detailing is cropping up this season, too. You might see chains on shoes, belts, handbags — but you can also add your own chains to the mix with bracelets, anklets, and necklaces.

10. Fringe

This runway version of fringe this season goes big, like fringe length measured in feet and not inches. But if that’s too over the top, you can stick a toe in the water with a more conventional fringe. A true baby step would be a scarf with fringed edges or an ankle boot with fringe detail.

Fashion for fall: 9 transition pieces to love 

Now that you’re up to speed on what’s trending, here are nine transition pieces for fall that blend trend and versatility in the very best way.

1. Asymmetric, colorblocked top

An easy tunic makes a fabulous partner for any old pair of leggings. Even better if said tunic colorblocks black with a fresh color and has an asymmetric hemline — it’s an incredibly flattering combination.

2. Animal print top

For all that pattern-mixing you want to do this fall (or not), you need a fun animal print top. This one’s lightweight enough to be worn on its own or slipped on over a t-shirt when the wind picks up.

3. Purple cardigan

The brilliant color of this cardigan will start conversations, even though the open-front sweater is among the most basic of wardrobe essentials.

4. Big neutral blazer

This neutral longline blazer fits right into the trendy “big blazer” look, but it’s not so over-the-top that you won’t want to wear it next year. Reach for this piece as your second layer when you need more structure than a cardigan

5. Long teddy coat

This dreamy coat can pair with jeans, leggings, or a skirt with tights. It has a casual feel when unbuttoned, but takes on a professional tone once you close it up.

6. Infinity scarf with pink accents

A scarf that isn’t cashmere or wool is a must when the weather first starts to cool off. Wear it over t-shirts first, then long-sleeve t-shirts, then sweaters as winter sets in. The pops of color are a nice change of pace from the usual dreary browns you see so often in scarves.

7. Retro plaid top

Madewell’s Peter Pan top has such a sweet vintage vibe to it, I don’t see how I could possibly keep it out of my closet or my rotation.

8. Fringed sweater vest

When a chill sets in, what better to throw on than a sweater vest that looks like blanket? The knee-length silhouette will flatter and you’ll be cozy as can be.

9. Asymmetric hoodie

If you only add one fall transition item to your wardrobe, it may have to be loungewear. And, sure, you could pick up a regular hoodie from Target. But you could also get super trendy with this one — it has an offset zipper which plays right into the asymmetry of the season.

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