September has finally arrived, which means fall is right around the corner. For Midwesterners like myself, that means cold weather is quickly approaching. There are a lot of great ways to transition your favorite summer items into fall, but making sure you have a wardrobe filled with the fall staples in this list will keep you stylish and warm while the weather is changing.
Cardigans are the perfect fall piece because they’re easy to take on and off. They also make for great layering. Invest in the basics like black, tan, grey, and navy first, since they are the most versatile. Find your other favorite colors on sale in off seasons (which is your best bet for finding great deals on any of the items on this list) to keep building your closet of basics.
2. A Basic Blazer
If you haven’t invested in a blazer already, this should be your first fall purchase. They can be dressed up or dressed down and are an essential staple if you have to dress business casual. Start your collection with a good black one and continue building from there. Navy, khaki, or white (if you’re not clumsy like me!) also make great layering options that will match with most anything.
3. Basic Tees/Tanks
Building a collection of basic tees and tanks in a variety of colors is essential since these provide a base for most layered looks. Start with black, navy, white, and grey, and then add a few of your favorite colors. I recommend Old Navy since their basic tees are super comfy, but you get what you pay for since they generally only make it a few seasons. At around $6, however, you almost can’t beat it. Try Target, the Gap, or your other favorite go-to store for other affordable options that’ll last long enough to be worth the investment.
You probably already have some trusty jeans, but it’s good to swap out your old ones with a fresh pair every few years (or at least add new ones to your rotation). I like straight leg or skinny jeans since they can be easily tucked into boots or rolled to wear with flats, but whatever style you prefer works too!
5. Khakis & Corduroys
Khakis are the hardest pants for me to find. I’ve been searching for two years for the perfect pair and still haven’t found them. If you can locate some, however, they are a great staple that can be dressed up or down for many looks. Corduroy pants (either colored or in basic tones) are also great since they’re slightly warmer than jeans and are a nice change of pace from denim. They also are a great compliment to basic tees and cardigans.
6. Flats & Boots
Flats are perfect for the transitional period between summer and fall and look great with many styles. Boots are better once it gets colder since you can wear thicker socks underneath to keep your feet warm—perfect for game days or everyday wear. My favorites are riding boots, but combat boots have made quite the comeback as well.
Most think of sweaters for winter, but lighter sweaters are great in the fall too. Oversized knit sweaters are great since you can throw them on over leggings or jeans and be on your way. Lighter sweaters can be worn over button-up tops or on their own with a cute statement necklace. Invest in whatever style is most comfortable to you and that you’re more likely to wear. They make a great layer once the weather gets below freezing, too.
8. Leggings & Boot Socks
Leggings and boot socks are often forgotten fall essentials, but don’t underestimate their necessity. Having a few good pairs of leggings or tights will help you transition your favorite summer dresses into fall, and tights can keep your feet warmer in flats. Boot socks are necessary if you plan on wearing your riding boots during late fall or early winter since most of them don’t have thick linings or insulation. Look for some thick knit pairs (often the good ones are in the men’s section) to keep your feet warm, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors.
Scarves are perfect accessories for fall and winter since they are both cute and functional. Pair fun patterns with your basic tees and cardigans to jazz up layered looks. My favorite style is infinity scarves, but there are dozens of cute ways to tie square scarves too (including turning them into a makeshift infinity scarf). Use the lighter weight scarves you have from previous seasons, but make sure you have some thicker knit ones too for one the weather turns colder and windier.
10. Oxfords and Button-Ups
Button-up tops are great for fall since they can be worn on their own or as a layer. You can wear them open over your basic tees or buttoned up underneath a sweater on chillier days. Pair them on their own with a statement necklace or scarf to complete your outfit. They work with pants and skirts, making them quite versatile. You can also wear an unbuttoned chambray top over your favorite summer dresses in the place of a jean jacket or cardigan.
Making sure you have all of the essentials on this list will help keep your wardrobe versatile and make it easier to transition from season to season. You’ll thank yourself later for investing in pieces that you can layer once the weather gets chilly. Unless you’re like me, in which case you’ll build said wardrobe and still grab your favorite sweatshirt on your way out the door instead (sorry, Mom, I promise I’ll wear it all someday). Either way, having the option to change up outfits will make getting ready easier and keep you comfortable so that you can enjoy the best parts of fall (hello, pumpkin spice lattes and football season)!
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