Whenever winter begins winding down and stores start showing spring merchandise, I must remind myself that it is beyond pointless for me to buy more sandals. That darling summer dresses crafted from single-layer cotton voile are a bit of a waste. That I really only need one pair of good shorts. I live in Minnesota, it is flippin’ cold here for most of the year, and I need to avoid shopping for non-dominant seasons.
Those of us who live in climates with defined seasons – especially climates with one temperature range that dominates the weather – are best served to focus on items that will work well during that season. Anyone living in New Orleans will likely concur that a single heavyweight coat will serve. Most folks living in Juneau are well aware that strapless sundresses will get very little use. And even those of you in less extreme climates are sure to know which seasons rule your world, and therefore, which seasonal garments will have the broadest applications.
Here are a few questions I ask myself when pondering a non-dominant season purchase:
Can it be layered? Solid colored tank tops might seem summery, but they get year-round use as base layers. Lightweight silky skirts appear suited to hot weather, but layered beneath a heavy wool dress, they add warmth. Layering pieces are four-season pieces for me.
Is the fabric appropriate to multiple seasons? A solid colored LINEN tank top? Not quite as versatile for layering. And, on the other end of the spectrum, a strapless velvet minidress? Extremely limiting. My favorite seasonless fabrics are cotton twill and cotton knit, and nearly any garment made from either works year-round.
Can it multitask? Lightweight and mid-weight coats are a weakness of mine, especially when it comes to thrifting. And I used to haul around some serious guilt about this until I realized that my thrifted gray leather moto could serve as a blazer stand-in during the winter and my oversized anorak could double as a duster. Some items that seem to suit non-dominant seasons can be tweaked … although this is a slippery slope that can lead to purchase justification. Proceed with caution.
How many do I already have? Sleeveless dresses can be layered in 97 different ways and worn no matter the temperature. But my eye frequently wanders to the floaty, airy sundresses. Especially in spring and summer. But friends, I have more sundresses than I could ever possibly wear. So the eye wanders, but the wallet remains zipped.
Will it work for all three non-dominant seasons? In Minnesota, spring and fall can be pretty cold and wet. So items like open sandals, shorts, and super light strappy dresses are really only helpful in true summer. But three-quarter-sleeve sweaters? Lightweight pants and jeans? Cotton scarves? Considering indoor temperature controls, these will work in spring, summer, and fall.
Hope my own guidelines help you figure out whether you’re currently shopping for a non-dominant season … and if you are, how to make sure some of those purchases get put to good use!
Image courtesy Zappos
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Originally posted 2013-02-26 06:50:52.