The months of February and March in our small Scottish seaport are always a toss-up, weather-wise. Being from the über-chilly Northeast of the US, I always come back expecting my spirits to be lifted by slightly warmer climes, but this year has disappointed on that front. Oftentimes, this strange period between the winter and spring seasons can be utterly confusing, especially when it comes to dressing. Upon return to St Andrews, can we dig our breezy cardigans and ripped boyfriend jeans out from the backs of our closets, where they’ve languished through the dark and cold of a Scottish January? Or are we yet again forced to stock up on cashmere and cable-knit, only to discard them a few weeks later? I’m here to relieve you of this (seemingly) eternal struggle with a list of pieces that will carry you through this trying time. Whether you have to layer them over more durable clothing or happily don them all by themselves, these items will be your pre-Spring Break go-tos.
You’ve definitely heard of the boyfriend jean – now comes its equally shabby-chic sister, the boyfriend shirt. Spotted on many a tastemaker at the recent Spring/Summer Couture shows, these billowing blouses both disguise any winter-break weight gain (we’ve all been there) and look lighter and breezier than your average late-winter fare. On colder days, button up and pair with an equally oversize blazer and your favourite pair of skinny pants. For those precious sunnier days, leave it slightly undone for a more tousled look and wear with a more relaxed pair of jeans – or, better yet, belt it and wear the shirt as a dress, with a statement shoe as an accent.
Blazers have always been a mainstay of the fashion world, a seasonless piece you can keep in your wardrobe for decades. However, new takes on this classic staple have recently stolen the hearts of editors and celebrities alike. The oversize-trend is what people are generally drawn to, but fall’s Spring/Summer Ready-to-Wear collections showed us a new twist: bright colours. We’re not talking primary reds and yellows, either – pastels, neons, and jewel tones have become popular for suiting. For a transitional piece, I would go with a lighter, more feminine shade – a lavender or a pink, perhaps – and wear this with either a sturdy jean and some boots (for times when the temperature has dropped below 10°) or with just a pair of slightly-sheer tights (when the weather allows it!)
Full-blown jumpers are so December. Cardigans are the perfect transitional piece, as you can throw them on over a lighter top or dress, wear them on their own, tie them over your shoulders – the possibilities are endless. The iteration of these pseudo-sweaters popular right now are usually cropped, but they work as an oversize piece as well (really, what doesn’t?). Steer away from the form-fitting, high-necked J. Crew variety – these have a tendency to make one look quite dowdy. Instead, opt for something with a deep V and an accentuated sleeve; these little details are what allow the item to skew more fashion-forward than bridge-club-chic. Wear these over a turtleneck and with high-waisted trousers for a colder-weather look; on warmer days, wear it cropped or thrown over your shoulders and pair with a miniskirt or even something linen for an even more summery take.
It was during Tom Ford’s legendary run at Gucci that the mainstream of fashion reclaimed your grandfather’s favourite footwear, and in 2020, loafers are back in a big way. Gucci still, of course, sells the most popular pairs, but companies like Miu Miu, Marni, and Maison Margiela have also done interesting variations. The most stylish twist on this old reliable is the addition of a chunky platform, truly setting these apart from their country club forefathers. These also make for a very durable shoe, so the troublesome cracks and gaps between stones of our ancient sidewalks become slightly less so. The best way to wear these during chillier periods is with corduroy or loose denim and tailored shirting; for those rare sunny days, wear these with your prettiest day dress – this makes for an interesting contrast between masculine and feminine aesthetics.
Unfortunately, the harsh winds and unreliable skies of Fife make outerwear a near-constant necessity. However, those heavy down parkas need not travel with you 24/7. A good trench is perfect for that pre-Spring period, as it provides just the right amount of warmth while not swathing you in the controversially-collected feathers of murdered birds. And you don’t have to spring for the Burberry option either; there are plenty of smaller brands that provide far more budget-friendly (and, I would argue, far more stylish) iterations of this wardrobe staple. One of my favourite boutique brands right now, Ganni, offers a gorgeous version, in a spring colour palette to boot. This can be worn over any outfit, from a sweater dress and boots to a vintage t-shirt and jeans.
Summer can claim both maxi and mini dresses, but midis belong to the transitional seasons. Though this isn’t exactly a groundbreaking statement to make, the versatility of these pieces is undeniable. They come in every material, silhouette, and colour imaginable, but as of late, those with tighter fits and cleaner lines have dominated the runways. A midi dress in a neutral-coloured, sleek knit is the perfect piece for the 2020 season and will fit seamlessly into your April-through-June wardrobe as well. For snowier days (like we’ve had this week, much to many students’ chagrin), pair with a statement jacket and boots; for those on which the sun manages to peek out, a chunky sneaker could be called upon.