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Our style columnist Esther Walker on nailing those tricky between-seasons days


The reassuring thing about all transitional or trans-seasonal dressing is, of course, that you simply cannot get it right. Or if you do get it right, it will be a complete fluke and most likely tomorrow you will get it wrong again.

One day it will be so warm at 7.30am that you can eat your toast and drink your tea on your doorstep, the early morning sun shining into your hopeful face. You will choose a light summer jacket to wear and think, yes, today is the day to get

those pristine white trainers out of their box. And, yes, today is the day to wear that floaty skirt.

You will then go skipping off down the road to the bus stop, thinking about blossom and picnics.

Forty minutes later the temperature will have plummeted by 10⁰C. An hour after that it will start snowing. By 4pm it will be extremely windy and rainy; your trainers will be a sludge of grey material and your skirt will have gone see-through and be showing your pants.

The next day, of course, you will go out in thick boots and a navy sweater, only for it to be so hot that the front pages of all the papers will be plastered with pictures of children swimming in the sea at Brighton and Weston-super-Mare. Everyone will say, “Phew, what a scorcher!” as if they were the ones who invented the phrase, while you sit wondering if you can damage your central nervous system from being this overheated.

Checking the weather doesn’t help, my friends – because transitional

weather makes a mockery of us all, even meteorological scientists.

The only thing you can do is hedge your bets until at least 1 June. What’s that Scottish phrase about not taking your vest off until the end of May? It holds true. Evidence? My birthday is on 1 May and let me tell you, more often than not it’s overcast and a little chilly.

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“Take on unpredictable weather with layers in lighter shades, such as this white denim jacket”


How do you dress for the possibility of both torrential rain and boiling sunshine, retaining the positive mental attitude required for successfully getting dressed, while also knowing that there is an 80% chance you will get it wrong?

The answer is: layers. I know that you already know this, but it is advice that everyone has to keep repeating until we all get it – like that holiday packing advice where you “pack in outfits” and “pack by activity” (I never do, I just throw everything into my suitcase in a panic). The other trick to pull is heavy materials in lighter colours, like this white denim jacket, which can feel bright while adding protection against a sudden switch of the wind direction from Spain to Siberia.

It’s a decent-sized bag, though, which will make all of this possible. This means you can layer up in the morning and then when it gets to 25°C by noon, those layers can be shed into your bag.

I know, I know, all the fashion pages are showing off these teeny weeny micro bags at the moment, but I don’t know what to say: the people who go about with tiny phone-size bags clearly aren’t having to dress

for an unpredictable April day once, in the morning, and suffer their choices later.

As you can see from these photos, I take the umbrella thing really seriously. I know that over the age of 30 no one really bothers to take an umbrella anywhere because we have learnt by that age that you will simply leave it somewhere.

I say that – I have the most hideous foldable umbrella with a wooden handle, covered in this revolting spiky rose pattern that I have genuinely tried to lose since I was about 19 and yet it is still with me, downstairs in the hall as I type, just sitting there being ugly. It must be so unappealing that no one would mistake it for their own, or want to surreptitiously sidle off with it.

This is where your big bag comes in afresh – you can slip in the bottom a small, jaunty brolly and forget about it, only whipping it out when, suddenly, grey thunderous clouds gather and it starts hailing.

Just promise me you’ll keep those box-fresh trainers in their box until the outlook is brighter, and you’ll be prepared for anything.


Shop spring-ready pieces


Switch true blues for crisp white
Merino wool is warm but light
Stripe up your life with joggers
Stow your essentials in style

Images: Jonty Davies / Styling: Chloe Forde / Make-up: Kim Jacob / Hair stylist: Ben Cook / Nails: Joanna Newbold

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