Have you ever noticed that there’s SO much advice about what to wear each season, but next to NOTHING about how to create a transition wardrobe from winter to spring?
So many influencers and blogs focus on getting you through one season but don’t care to bridge the gap. But that’s not how your life works.
You don’t go from one day freezing on your commute to wearing cropped pants and tanks the next.
We work with clients who need a versatile wardrobe that can adapt to seasonal changes without an overhaul.
We’ve also worked with plenty of clients navigating an East-to-West-Coast move or other major climate shifts. They want to know, how do you use what you have in your closet to create new outfits?
If you’re looking for those answers too, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’re covering the basics of having a year-round wardrobe. Plus, we’re sharing outfits for transitioning from winter to spring, and the 4 items essential to a versatile, transitional wardrobe.
Table of Contents
Building a Transitional Wardrobe From Winter to Spring: The Basics
Before we get into the specifics of having a functional minimalist wardrobe, let’s cover the basics.
The best way to have clothes you can wear from season to season is to make sure you have a strong foundation. Think of your closet like a pizza. You can dress it up with whatever toppings you want, but it needs a good base to succeed.
So how do you find that base?
By prioritizing versatile basics that mix and match with each other and with other pieces in your closet. Think of these pieces as the workhorses of your wardrobe. You can dress them up or down, make them the star of the show, or that subtle throughline.
These pieces should be:
- High quality: Think well-made, built-to-last pieces that you love wearing again and again.
- Core colors: black, white, grey, and navy blue go with each other and with everything. They’re cool and subtle and never go out of style.
- Well-fitting: We can’t say this enough. If a piece doesn’t fit you, it doesn’t belong in your closet. Finding a fit that flatters your frame and makes you feel good about yourself is everything.
We call these basic principles the Next Level Wardrobe Style System. Follow these rules and you’re much more likely to get more use (and joy!) out of your closet.
Outfit Ideas for Going From Winter to Spring or Summer
Got the basics locked and loaded? Good.
Now it’s time for some outfit inspiration. Below, we’ve included three of our favorite ways to transition outfits from winter to spring. These cold-warm-weather looks are broken down into easy-to-understand formulas so you can recreate them on your own.
Remixing and Closet Staple
Take a look at these two outfits (winter outfit on the left, spring on the right). What do you see?
They share a common base. Both of them pair navy pants with the rest of the look, even though they have completely different seasonal vibes.
So step one: have the right pieces in your closet. With a great pair of navy trousers, you can dress year-round.
Step two: how to mix up this look for the changing weather.
During colder months, pair your navy trousers or skirts with darker colors, like the navy turtleneck in the photo. Darker colors read as wintry, while lighter colors scream spring and summer.
Just by changing from a navy top to a white short-sleeved polo, you’ve already transformed this look.
But that’s not the only key to this outfit’s success.
Shoes are another way to dramatically shift your wardrobe. Just by going from a heavier, chunkier shoe to a lightweight option is enough to swap seasons.
You can try something like what you see above (a belted loafer to a slip-on sneaker). Or, go even bolder with an ankle boot to ballet flats.
Layer Smarter, Not Harder
If you struggle to create “in-between” weather outfits, then you need to lean into layers. Layers are KEY to having a transitional wardrobe.
Again, you need to have great basics in your arsenal. Check out these photos and again, spot the difference.
They both feature the same white tank top. But they’re each prepared for totally different climates.
On the left, the tank forms a simple base under a cozy zip-up, tucked into cargo joggers and statement loafers.
On the right, it’s perfectly light enough to go under an open linen-weight button-down and partner with shorts.
The takeaway? Take your basics and partner them with different supporting character pieces for each season. During spring and summer, opt for lightweight, airy pieces.
During the winter, lean into cozy, heavier-weight items.
Lean into Color Theory
If you want to have a functional, fashionable transitional wardrobe, trust the power of colors.
What we mean, is that colors mean more than you might think.
For example, lighter colors automatically feel literally lighter than darker hues. We could get into the nitty gritty of light and dark and visual weight but here’s what you need to know:
Darker colors look heavier, lighter colors look lighter.
We also tend to associate lighter colors with, well, light! Think sunny days, bright pastel flowers, and vivid spring and summer tones. You just have to think of a dreary winter sky to see how winter and fall pair with dark colors.
So if you want a more versatile outfit, buy pieces that easily transition from winter to spring color palettes.
For example, both of the outfits above feature the same light-to-medium grey pants.
Partnered with a black long-sleeve turtleneck and coat, they feel perfect for winter.
But wear them with a simple white tank and sneakers? Suddenly you’ve got a fresh spring ensemble.
That’s why it’s important to have the right pieces in your closet. The right pieces can pull double duty.
4 Essentials for Transitioning Your Wardrobe From Winter to Spring
Speaking of having the right pieces, let’s jump into the essentials you’ll need to transition from winter to spring.
A Lightweight Sweater
Product by Theory, shop here.
Remember how we mentioned the importance of layering for a winter-to-spring wardrobe?
Well, to layer correctly, you need to lighten up your layers. Too often we see people try to combine overly heavy pieces. Then, they wonder why their outfit feels (and looks) bulky.
Set yourself up for success with a lightweight sweater, like this one from Theory. The knit is cozy but thin enough that you can tuck it into trousers or skirts.
(Don’t try tucking a heavyweight sweater into your bottoms. That’s a surefire way to add unnecessary bulky and bumps to your outfit.)
A Natural Fiber Blouse
Product by Kobi Halperin, shop here.
Another must is a natural-fiber blouse. Why natural fibers? Because of the breathability.
Polyester and other synthetic fibers don’t breathe. That means unnecessary sweating and pit stains. It also means you’ve cut down on your outfit’s versatility.
You can easily layer a breathable blouse under a thicker sweater for winter, or wear it alone on warmer days.
The Perfect-Fitting Tee
Product by Perfect White Tee, shop here.
Next up on our list of essentials for transitioning a wardrobe from cold to warm weather is a T-shirt.
But not just any T-shirt, a perfectly fitting one. This one has it right in the name.
What makes this shirt the ideal fit is that it’s not too long, short, boxy, or tight. It’s just right.
We love this brand because they’re experts in creating Tees with that casually cool, “just threw this own” look.
You don’t have to worry about unnecessary tightness around your body or arms, or having too much material to tuck into your pants.
Layer this with a cardigan and coat for winter, or wear it with medium-wash denim and sunglasses for spring.
A Sleek Pair of Sneakers
Product by Veja, shop here.
You didn’t think we’d forget about shoes, did you?
A lot of folks struggle with the right shoes to wear in between seasons. But if you’re in that transitional period, sneakers are the way to go.
Boots are great for blocking out freezing winds and open-toed shoes are fantastic for catching sun rays.
But sneakers are for that transitional period.
Since they’re closed-toed, they’ll protect you from chilly temps. But thanks to the lighter material, lower profile, and color palette they’ll also help you step into spring.
Once more, this is a case of having the right piece in the right color and the right fit.
If you’re looking for white sneakers, try out the Veja pair featured above. We love this brand not just because they offer timeless products, but because they have sustainable practices.
Their shoes are made in Brazil using organic cotton and upcycled materials. They’re a B Corp certified label meaning they’ve met one of the most demanding environmental certifications in the world.
Did you like how simple we made learning how to transition your wardrobe from winter to spring?
Apply for Next Level Wardrobe’s women’s styling services. Our team is dedicated to taking the stress out of style. We work with you to hone in on your personal style to create the wardrobe of your dreams. All while teaching you how to build outfits and reshape your shopping habits.