Ever wondered if everyone’s lying about linen being the best warm weather fabric? I put some key transitional pieces to the sweat test.
September is a magical time, isn’t it? There’s that “back to school” feeling you get no matter what your age (or actual academic reality), a sense of renewal, a fresh start! You know what isn’t always fresh? The weather. I don’t know who has us all convinced that we can become fall girlies immediately after Labour Day weekend, but I’m here to remind you that summer temps continue well through the month of September in most Canadian cities. Who among us hasn’t worn a perfect fall dress to a Thanksgiving weekend wedding and almost passed out from heat exhaustion?
In fact, cities like Toronto bracing for a post-Labour Day heat wave, so take this as your sign to keep your tall boots and chunky knits in storage until October 1 when PSL season really starts.
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Until then, you know what slaps in the late summer/early fall? Linen. It’s breezy, breathable, looks elevated and pairs beautifully with lightweight knits (if you must). And yes, ICYWW, it really is as sweat-proof as your mom told you it is — I would know. I, self-proclaimed Sweaty Gal, did the leg work and wore some of the most popular Reformation linen pieces on steaming hot days so that you wouldn’t have to.
Without further ado, a round-up of my top transitional linen pieces that’ll take from the summer well into fall.
The white mini-dress
Sweat score: 1/10. The dress is lined, which is fab for ensuring it isn’t see-through, but does add an extra layer.
Most likely to: Get a second date. (And look extremely adorable with a retro headband and boxy cardigan.)
Pros: Sometimes Ref minis can run a tad *too* mini on taller gals. Not this cutie that hits at just the right spot mid-thigh.
Cons: That I can’t wear it daily?
How to make it fall-ready: Take the “wrong shoe theory” for a spin and add a pair of loafers and white socks.
The coastal grandma drawstring pants
Sweat score: 1/10. They sit deceptively high on the waist, so there’s a slight chance of perspiring around the mid-section.
Most likely to: Dig for clams on the beach in Maine. (Or watch any film starring Diane Keaton.)
Pros: I was worried these pants would be so flimsy, they’d feel like a beach coverup but the weight of the linen is surprisingly substantial, yet not heavy.
Cons: The online reviews are right — these loose linen trousers do run quite long.
How to make it fall-ready: A pair of mesh flats and an oversized blazer take these babies from vacation patio to city sidewalk.
The Sofia Loren dress
Sweat score: 3/10. The combination of a fitted bodice and cinched waist means the girls can get a bit, um, more glowy when temperatures soar.
Most likely to: Eat pasta in Capri with a stunning Aperol Spritz in hand.
Pros: She hugs your curves in all the right places.
Cons: Her straps run a wee bit long.
How to make it fall-ready: The trick to transitioning a summery silhouette to early fall lies in the shoes and the handbag. In this case, swap your basket tote for a leather shoulder bag and opt for a pair of closed-toe Mary Janes in lieu of sandals.
The workhorse white shirt
Sweat score: 0/10. No sweat, no notes!
Most likely to: Work with just about everything, from over a bikini in the summer to tucked into your favourite pair of vintage jeans come fall.
Pros: It’s roomy enough to feel modern but still cut to skim the body so it isn’t billowy or overwhelming.
Cons: That I don’t own it in every colour.
How to make it fall-ready: Once Labour Day is in your rearview, make a breezy linen button-down feel fall-ish by wearing it as you would any other cotton dress shirt — think: tucked into a silk slip skirt or under a leather blazer. The contrast of textures feels instantly elevated.
Browse more of our favourite transitional linen pieces here:
The vest you wear as a top
Mother-daughter design duo Herskind have Copenhagen cool-girl style nailed with their collection of tailored pieces. And since vests are officially the new shirts, why not try one in breathable linen?
The essential linen blazer
It’s just the right amount of oversized, its cream colour is an all-season neutral and its subtly strong shoulders will make you feel capital-B bossy.
The sporty shorts
A pull-on linen short in a moody hue is the ideal blend of summer and fall moods. Team this Canadian-designed pair with ever-versatile white crew socks, some slim-line sneakers (like on-trend Sambas or Onitsuka Tigers) and a Rugby shirt for a varsity vibe.
The tailored trousers
A high-waisted linen pant is the perfect office-ready compromise when all you want to wear is soft pants. You’ll be so cool and comfortable on your morning commute, you won’t even notice the zipper.
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