Transition Your Wardrobe from Winter to Spring in 6 Easy Steps

Photograph by KhongkitWiriyachan via iStock.

With this week’s heat wave and the official declaration that winter is over, spring is here, we’re ready to start putting away our bulkiest sweaters in favor of some lighter, warm-weather-friendly fabrics. As we make the transition from winter to spring, the decision of what to wear each morning only gets harder–will you get hot on the walk to work if you’re layered up for the office AC, or will you freeze in the breezy morning air before sweltering the rest of the day at your desk in the direct sunlight?

These are the questions that may keep you up at night, but have no fear–with a little closet finessing you’ll have a transitional wardrobe that’ll take you from cold to hot and back again. To get you started building your transitional wardrobe, we asked Rosana Vollmerhausen, founder and chief stylist of DC Style Factory to share her top tips.

Choose your fabrics wisely.

“With temperatures still fluctuating up and down here in the DC area, look for cotton clothing that can breath, but still has weight,” says Vollmerhausen. “Finer wool blends (tropical wool), silks and cotton fabrics like twill and poplin are great this time of year. Leathers and suedes are also great this time of year.”

Don’t overdo it on the layering.

“When I talk to my clients about layering clothing that scene from Crazy Stupid Love where Ryan Gosling has Steve Carell in a shirt, tie, sweater, and blazer jacket pops into my head.” says Vollmerhausen. “This time of year is a great for layering, but no need to get carried away. Keep it simple. Instead of your sweater with a blanket scarf and coat, layer with a denim jacket and accessorize with a lightweight cotton or silk scarf.”

Trade in your dark wash for light.

“Opt for lighter jeans to mix your wardrobe up,” says Vollmerhausen. “Pull out your white blazers and start working some brights or pastels into your look.”

Invest in a good trench coat for spring showers.

“I recommend a good, classic water resistant trench or, for a more casual everyday look, a shorter, trench-style jacket,” says Vollmerhausen. “Trench twill fabric is very tightly woven cotton, which helps provide for some water resistance. In a downpour, I would opt for something that provides true water protection. This season try a fun, nylon anorak that has been treated to be water repellant.” 

Don’t put away your ankle boots–yet.

“[Ankle boots] have become wardrobe workhorses,” says Vollmerhausen. “In winter, great with jeans or dresses and tights. In spring, still great with jeans and dresses, sans tights.”

Build your wardrobe around clothing that can be worn year-round.

“The idea is you want to invest in quality and get the most mileage out of those pieces, which means being able to wear them across different temperatures,” says Vollmerhausen. “Of course there will be articles of clothing that are only for a sweltering DC summer afternoon or only for a blustery winter morning, but your entire wardrobe should not be made up of these pieces. For example, a quality light cashmere sweater will take your through fall, winter, and spring.”

For more transitional dressing tips, Vollmerhausen is hosting a style workshop on Thursday, March 17, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at Lynn Louisa, 1631 Wisconsin Ave., NW. Tickets may be purchased here.

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.