How I Transition My Closet for Fall

Greetings, happy Friday, and cheers to Labor Day Weekend! 🥂 My girls have off from school today, so our weekend starts NOW.

I’ve had a bunch of questions about how I transition my closet for fall and the “rules” for dressing in September.

More specifically, I’ve been asked about what items to I put away and which ones I will continue to wear — especially now that the “no white after Labor Day” rule is considered antiquated.

How I Transition My Closet for Fall

First of all, there are no hard and fast rules anymore. Yes, you can wear white after Labor Day, and of course it’s officially still summer for three more weeks.

That said, I do start transitioning my closet for fall on Labor Day weekend.

I always take this weekend to go through my closet, remove items I didn’t wear or no longer want (I either pass along to friends or family or take to a resale shop), and pack away my summeriest summer clothes and shoes.

Next week, I will start wearing darker colors and sturdier fabrics, regardless of the weather. I love that there are so many options these days for sleeveless tops in fall colors and things like that.

Of course, there is no fashion police that is going to track you down if you wear a white eyelet dresses in October, so wear what you like. I just like to give a nod to the calendar, despite the weather. It makes me happy.

Now that I’ve made fashion blogging my profession, I’m always cycling clothing through my closet, and I keep it pretty up to date at all times. That means my Labor Day weekend project is much less daunting than it used to be, but I still like to take this weekend to move out my summeriest summer clothes, bags, and shoes to make room for fall styles.

It’s still warm here in Philly, and it probably will be well into September, so I do this project in stages. I will go through my closet again when the weather turns cold and remove more items, and at that time, I’ll bring up my heavier fall/winter sweaters and boots, etc.

But for now, I just remove the lightest fabrics, sandals, espadrilles, white bags, etc.

The picture above shows the items I moved into bins in the basement this week. After this weekend, I’ll add my white jean jacket, white shorts, and maybe a few more odds and ends to that bin. (It’s perfectly fine to wear a white jean jacket in fall, but I never do. I guess I’m just over it by then. I do, however, keep my white jeans in my closet year-round.)

Basically, I move out things that seem very summery to me — either in color or fabric content.

So while I keep my white jeans in my closet, I will put away linen and other airy fabrics. I keep block heel sandals in light neutrals like blush and beige, but I’ll put away my espadrilles and woven bags.

After I clear out my closet, I go to the basement where I store out of season clothing in plastic bins, and I sort through those. (And no, it does not stay looking this nice. This picture is actually from last winter, right after we set it up.)

I put my summer things away and bring up some of my lighter fall clothing and shoes.

I’ll grab things like long-sleeve tees and blouses, loafers and booties, and any moto jackets or light layering pieces I put away last spring.

Here’s what my closet looks like now, after moving out the summeriest of my summer things and bringing in some early fall items.

Like the basement, my closet does not always look this tidy, although I try to put it back together every so often.

In a few weeks, I’ll do another overhaul and put away the lighter fabrics and sandals and bring out the heavier fabrics, black suede shoes, and tall boots.

I don’t mind doing this in stages because I like to keep my closet pared down to what I’m actually wearing right now, but of course you can bring up all of your fall/winter items or wait and do it all in a few weeks.

Some people just shift their closets around, moving out of season clothing to the back. There is no one right way to organize your closet for the seasons. This is just how I like to do it.

Also, I do have a dresser in my bedroom where I store overflow things like workout gear and things like that. And I keep a hanging rack and shoe shelf beside the dresser, where I keep things I’m planning to try on or shoot for the blog. That helps keep my closet from getting overwhelming.

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28 thoughts on “How I Transition My Closet for Fall

  1. I am thinking of ordering the Vinc Camuto cap sleeve sequence dress that you posted recently. I have a wedding to attend. Do you thi k it runs true to size?

  2. I love this post! I always struggle with my seasonal purge. I love the way your closet is organized. Where do you store sweatshirts and bum around the house tshirts? I’m trying to get more organized with my clothing storage.

    1. I hang the ones I wear most often, but I put extras in the dresser in my bedroom. The problem with that is, I forget they’re there! So I keep almost everything in my closet.

  3. First of all, you have a DREAM closet!  Oh, to have all that room, BUT the Lord knew me well & provided me with a small closet!  He knew my temptations!  I’m so impressed at how little you really keep, since your job is a Fashion Blogger. But as you’ve shared before, you can’t keep everything. I just love how everything is organized & easy to see. I’m looking forward to switching my closets as well, I usually wait until the week after Labor Day, it gives me 4 days of uninterrupted organizing, since we never travel anywhere that week. I truly need to be ruthless in my purging. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from your blog, it’s buying basics of good quality!  Have a wonderful holiday weekend!  

  4. I really need to start putting out of season things into a tote instead of moving them around in my already small closet. And I love how your basement is set up with the practical shelving and totes. You are so organized!!

  5. Thanks for sharing pics of your closet and basement. Its impressive! So tidy and well organized. Sad to say, mine needs work! This post was helpful. Its cool and crisp in the mornings and evenings here so time to pull out warmer clothes. Do you keep your lounge wear/ sweat shirts in a drawer? Enjoy your extra long weekend with your girls!

  6. I love your process of slowly transitioning your wardrobe from summer to fall. I’l have to try that too. And thanks for the opportunity to connect with other fashionistas and discover new styles through your link ups.

  7. That is quite the system you have going. To be able to go downstairs and pick out the desired items without going through everything is a truly organized system.

    I have a big enough walk-in closet that I just shuttle things from one side to the other. I have switched to darker tops for now, but the rest remains the same until it cools down. I’m still in summer mode, so I’ll be switching mine out sometime in September. Yikes! Can you believe that is Sunday? 

    Enjoy your long weekend, JoLynne! 

  8. Jolynne, your organization inspires me! I may do a bit of closet work tomorrow morning…but I’m not ready to wear anything that resembles fall yet. I do have a somewhat large collection of 3 season neutrals I wear for work (that I actually get a little sick of bc our weather is so mild.) I’ll probably stop wearing my brightest floral dresses, but I’m fighting fall tooth and nail! 

    Your basement is a work of art! After our move, there are a lot of things in our basement that haven’t even been organized or unpacked…maybe I don’t need them, lol! Happy Labor Day! 

  9. Jo-Lynne, beautiful closet! I am curious about your hangers – are they wooden hangers? May I ask where you purchased them? Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

  10. I used to do a closet switch twice a year.. first bringing out fall/ winter then the spring/ summer clothes but it was too much and back breaking lol.. so now I kinda do what you’re doing. Just last week I took all the spring stuff and really summery items of clothes and packed them away( I have a large cedar chest and a Rubbermaid ) but have started using the under the bed storage units from IKEA. They zip open and I lay everything inside by season zip up and under the bed it goes. They come in various sizes too! Now I just have some summer things left I’m still wearing plus I have added my newest transitional pieces( much more room)and in a Couple of weeks weather permitting take my fall under the bed storage and unpack more fall items… I leave my winter stuff until it’s cold enough to wear them.. then out comes the holiday looking clothes… my shoes and purses I’ll attack after the long weekend. We will no doubt be having some warm weather yet… this weekend will be more pool time:) but like you I like to at least implement fall colors in tanks camis etc…
    Happy Labor Day😀

  11. As we were driving home from grocery shopping earlier today, Larry told me I should reduce the amount of clothes I have down to the point that I wouldn’t have to change it out.  He’s real funny!  It isn’t easy getting the plastic containers up and down the narrow attic stairs, I will keep doing it as long as I can.  Thanks for sharing the rationale on how you change out your clothes.  I think I need to donate some of the lighter weight jackets since I don’t wear them during the warm months.  Why let them continue to take up space!  I plan on changing out my clothes over the next week, as well, but it won’t be done in phases.  Have a great rest of the day!

  12. I do the exact same thing, it’s like a 2 parter….I initially put away real summer items and bring in Sept/October clothing and then do it again when the weather gets much colder.  Same with spring/summer.

  13. I usually do this same thing to my closet but at the end of September just because it is still so hot in Arizona. I don’t have a basement so I store all my seasonal items in the attic in plastic bins.

  14. Hi Jo-Lynne, thanks for this post. I too have been sorting through my closet, and I have a question for you. September is likely to be warm here still, I am in the UK near London. Throughout the summer I wore pretty much one pair of white Saltwater sandals (maybe you know the brand). I need to stick to flat shoes pretty much, and they are hard wearing and soooo comfortable. They seem ‘too white’ now, and I want to put them away. BUT – I would like to have a sandal for autumn, even though it’s likely  to get worn another month only. Would you invest in the same pair, in a tan colour? Or do you think that’s a waste? I keep a pretty small capsule wardrobe, and tan sandals would go with a lot, but I am still unsure whether it’s a good idea this late in the season, when soon I’ll be wearing booties… do you still wear sandals in September?

      1. Jo-Lynne, thanks, I think you are right. I used to have a pair of tan sandals I wore a lot, but my feet got wider after three kids, so I needed to replace them, just haven’t done it yet. It will be a relief to wear sandals on hot days! But not white ones 😉 

  15. Jo-Lynne your closet inspires me to pare down my wardrobe. I buy new, but have a hard time parting with items even those I don’t wear often or ever. I need to learn to let go of things. I know this makes me sound like a hoarder, but I seem to only have this problem related to clothing. I have no trouble moving other items along. Any advice?

    1. Hey Diane, I wrote this post once about my process. If you haven’t seen it, or haven’t ever done this, definitely start here: https://jolynneshane.com/how-to-purge-your-closet-love-your-wardrobe-again.html

      If you have a hard time parting with things, I always recommend a “maybe bin” – a plastic bin or laundry basket – and put things in there that you don’t think you need or want, but you are afraid you may regret parting with. Put it in a spare room or the basement, so if you regret getting rid of something, you can retrieve it. At the end of the season, donate whatever you didn’t feel the need to rescue and return to your closet.

      It is SO freeing to have a pared down closet. I highly recommend giving it a try.

      1. Thank you for the advice. Seems so obvious reading it. I will give it a try and share my results. Looking forward to a cleaner more accessible closet.

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