Since March 20, it’s officially been spring. But here in Minnesota, it can take weeks for the weather and the season to align. That typically leaves us fumbling through our closets, trying to dress for spring, winter or some hybrid of the two.

Transitional seasons can be confusing, especially in a year like this, when winter won’t let go and, despite our wishes, spring seems to come too slowly.

Should you dress for the weather or the season? When can you start to rotate spring items into your winter wardrobe? And, most important, how do you look chic when the temperature and time of year are clashing? Here are some tips for making a seamless transition to spring.

Smooth blend
While we’re waiting on warmer weather, create outfits that include elements from the season that’s ending as well as the season that’s on its way. A good formula is to combine roughly two-thirds of your winter wardrobe with one-third of your spring pieces. For example, wear a blazer, tweed skirt and tights (from winter) with a brightly printed scarf, lightweight tank or shell and heeled pumps (spring).

Sheer magic
Sheer fabrics are essential in making transitional outfits work. Whether you’re moving from winter to spring, spring to summer or summer to fall, sheer hosiery, blouses and scarves allow for layering and depth without weighing down your ensembles.

So, swap your dark, opaque tights for sheer patterned ones. Top a wool skirt with a diaphanous, sheer blouse. Drape a colorful, frill scarf around your neck for a sophisticated, seasonally appropriate outfit.

Mix it up
Certain color palettes are inherently seasonal: Pastels sing spring, earthtones announce autumn and dark neutrals are the standard-bearer of winter. If you’re on the shoulder of a season, it’s wise to use those distinctive colors wisely.

Instead of season-specific colors, a more creative tack is to select a seasonal color in an unseasonal fabric. This spring, indulge in pretty pastels, but wear them in wool, cashmere and lined twill. That way, your outfits will look springy, but will feel warm enough for the lingering, winter-like temperatures.

Don’t sweat it
Look around you. Do you see some people in shorts, others in parkas? Do you see heavy boots and open-toed shoes? Of course you do.

Even if you hang on every word of the weather forecast, you’re likely to end up dressed too lightly on some days, too heavily on others. So be brave, thoughtful and creative in crafting your winter-into-spring style. Expect some missteps. And learn to laugh at them.


Sally McGraw is the Minneapolis-based author of Already Pretty (, a daily blog about the intersection of style and body image.