Y’all, I am kicking myself for not writing this post sooner. It’s feeling like we’re nearing spring here in NC, so I’m not sure how relevant this post will truly be! However, I know that for some of you, it’s still very cold and you may have a few weeks or even a month or so left of the winter weather. And honestly, we’ll probably get another cold front here in the South before spring is fully here. So who knows, maybe this post will be more helpful than I think.
This post is dedicated to those awkwardly cold days that aren’t quite cold enough to elicit a full blown winter ensemble, but still won’t allow for a true spring outfit. You know when it’s freezing in the morning but then by the afternoon you’re sweating in your sweater? Yes, those are the days I’m talking about. Dressing for weather in the 40s is a challenge I know well.
Let’s imagine the temperature is 47 degrees, and with that in mind, let’s get into what to wear. In today’s post, I’m going to share a tips that help me get dressed for that sort of cold weather that ends up warming up by the afternoon. I’m also going to share a roundup of practical outfits that I’m actually wearing these days that can keep you warm when it’s cold and that are easy enough to take off when the temperature rises.
What To Wear in 40 Degree Weather
First, let’s talk about some basic wardrobe needs for late winter/early spring.
Denim is a no brainer for confusing weather. I love that it can be worn year round, and (if you have the right pair!) it’s incredibly comfortable. I find that I wear jeans almost any time I’m not in workout clothes, at least in the cooler months. Once it warms up, I’m still in denim, just a cut-off short version ;). For weather that’s unpredictable, you can feel confident that a pair of jeans will be the right choice almost 100% of the time.
I have lots of jeans in my closet, but the most versatile pair I own is by MOTHER. They’re stretchy and comfortable, a darker, not too casual wash, and their cropped at the ankle, making them easy to pair with all sorts of shoes. If you want jeans at a lower price point, check out my favorite Madewell jeans and Abercrombie jeans. For 40 degree weather, I usually opt for Vejas or loafers with jeans.
Leggings or Joggers
On the off chance that I’m not wearing jeans, I’m wearing leggings or joggers. While I was pretty turned-off of athleisure outfits for years, I’m appreciating them much more these days. I’ve learned that if I still do my makeup and style my hair, I can feel pulled together in workout clothes, despite how comfy they are. I’ve also starting buying athleisure that’s a little more “fun” than just a basic pair of black running leggings. In 40 to 60-degree weather, leggings are always a warm enough, but still breathable, option.
Leggings and a short sleeve top or tank is also my preferred 40 degree weather running outfit since it helps keep the moisture away from your body while still keeping you somewhat warm. You can see a whole post on running in the cold here! I also included my favorite waterproof jacket in that post for those colder late winter days. Amazon also has some great athleisure finds lately – see here!
Layers are KEY for awkward weather. This usually means a lightweight sweatshirt for me – I love this one. I like knowing that I have an extra layer to throw on if I feel cold, but my outfit is complete without it if I don’t wear it. There’s nothing worse than warming up and having to keep a sweatshirt on because you didn’t wear anything underneath! This is a great one!
For days that start out cold and warm up throughout the day, I like to dress for the warmer weather that I’m expecting at the end of the day, and layer on top of that warm weather outfit. Then I’m prepared for either.
Lightweight jackets definitely fall under the “layers” category above, but I felt like they deserved their own spot. In the late winter/early spring I generally don’t like to pull out my heavier down puffer coats or insulating jackets, and I appreciate having a lighter weight option that feels cute enough to wear in the spring.
I recently ordered this quilted puffer coat from Amazon in the color “Beigeyllow” (lol). It’s lightweight but warm enough to wear with the AC running, and the color is perfect as we transition into the warmer months. I’m just not in the mood for a super dark colored coat come early March, ya know? This coat is only $39, and I have it in an XS.
Shoes are slightly less complicated in weather like this since sandals and flip flops are out of the question, and you just need something that keeps your foot comfortable all day. I opt for a cute pair of sneaker (usually Vejas) 85% of the time. I wear them year round, and they’re great with jeans, leggings, shorts, and even dresses.
In the very early spring, I find that I quit wearing sweaters as often as I do throughout the winter. Sometimes I’ll throw one on with a pair of shorts, but if I’m wearing long pants, a sweater usually feels too wintery if it’s nice outside. I tend to switch to blouses and cotton tops, paired with a warmer bottom, like jeans. And of course, I always have my trusty lightweight sweatshirt nearby to wear in 50-degree weather.
40 Degree Weather Outfits
Now that we’ve broken down the basics, let’s get into some outfit inspo. I’m going to share a handful of outfits I’ve been wearing recently, and a few that are in my head to wear soon. I hope these help inspire you to make outfits out of things in your own closet! Here’s what to wear in 40-degree weather that warms up to 50 degrees or even 60 by the end of the day.
Jeans and a short sleeve top
The simplest way to dress for confusing spring weather is with a great pair of jeans and easy top. The jeans I’m wearing here are the flare style from Abercrombie, and they fit very true to size. Abercrombie’s jeans come in 4 lengths, so you are sure to find a perfect fit. I’ve paired them here with a white fitted tee from Amazon, and a pair of Veja sneakers. This is a fool-proof casual 40 degree weather outfit that still works for a day that ends up being 60 degrees (honestly any type of weather). If the weather looks a little chilly in the morning, throw a lightweight pullover on top for a few hours.
Leggings and a tshirt
Like I mentioned above, if I’m not wearing jeans, I like to wear long leggings. This pair of hot pink leggings is from Amazon for only $36 and fit just as well as Lululemon. I love the pop of color for spring.
Leggings and a sweatshirt
If it’s too cold for a short sleeve top with your leggings, opt for a happy colored pullover. This light pink color is a perfect option for late winter and early spring!
Sweatshirt and a skort
Most of the topics we’ve covered already have been long pants or jeans with short sleeve tops, but I also like to wear a warmer layer on top with shorts or a skort on the bottom. If my core is warm, my whole body is warm.
A light jacket and shorts
This outfit is something I’d wear if we were dressing for the 50’s rather than the 40’s. I LOVE that the tan/beige color of the jacket doesn’t feel to wintery!
Jeans and a blouse
This photo was taken in late fall (see the leaves on the ground and the winter Starbucks cup??), but I’ll be wearing this same look throughout the early spring! I actually wore it this past weekend for a date night! See how I styled it with clogs here. A colorful top is a great way to make jeans feel more spring-y.
Similar Top | Jeans | Loafers
Long Sleeved Mini Dress
A dress that has a weightier fabric and long sleeves is an ideal option for 40-50 degree weather. You can pair it with sneakers or loafers! I’m wearing an XS in this dress.
Long dresses are a GREAT way to bridge the gap from winter to spring. While a cute sundress may feel a little too summery, something with length is totally appropriate for dressier occasions. You can pair a maxi dress with brown booties for cold days and sandals as it warms up. I’d stay away from black booties at this point in the season though! This dress is not sold online, but this is a similar look.
Lightweight knit sweater
I know I said I don’t wear sweaters often in the very early spring. But I have to say, I will wear a looser, lightweight knit sweater throughout the spring. I love the casual, laid back feeling mixed with the practical warmth. I wear this exact sweater year-round and pair it with shorts in the summer.
Light colored long pants
I LOVE these pink pants. They’re great with a short sleeved shirt, but they’d also work really well with a long sleeve top if it’s cool. The spring color mixed with the full length style is perfect for transitioning into spring.
I hope these outfit ideas help inspire you when you’re getting dressed in this weird in-between weather! You can see what I’m wearing everyday on the LTK app (follow @terilynadams), and shop and save my outfits. I always share sizing details as well. You can also bookmark this page if you prefer to shop without an app!
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I liked this post! Some cute outfit options. I live in Australia and once I had finished googling the temperature conversion to Celsius, I had to giggle – you are describing outfits I’d wear when it’s 75F!