A fall party piece should be able to juggle a few things at once. First and foremost, it needs to feel festive; communicating an out-of-office-and-would-like-a-cocktail message is the top priority here. Second, it needs to have dual functionality — namely, it can keep you looking stylish while also keeping you warm during autumn’s crisper temperatures. And lastly, it needs to have staying power. Sure, a trendy and of-the-moment item can feel fun to wear for a one-night event, but in the spirit of sustainability and longevity, investing in a celebratory fall capsule wardrobe you’ll wear year after year is worthwhile.
Tapping industry experts like designers, buyers, and brand founders, the roundup of fall party hero pieces below are an amalgamation of expertise and know-how when it comes to getting your outfit fête-ready during autumn’s cooler nights. Whether it’s a new and interesting way to style your beloved slip dress or a statement top you never realized you should add to your wardrobe, the ideas below are sure to translate your soirée style to the new season. Plus, if you need a new piece or two, there are ample shopping opportunities to make that happen.
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“My hero item is a great pair of leather pants,” Veda Creative Director Lyndsey Butler says. “They instantly make any outfit feel party-ready. You can wear them with a super simple top — think white tank top or even a cashmere crew neck — and a great pair of shoes and you are ready for a night out.” She recently created a pair for Reformation made from sustainably sourced materials and offered at an accessible price point ($298). “I wear leather pants pretty much exclusively in the fall and winter,” Butler adds. "I love them with a chunky cable knit sweater or an oversized blazer. They are basically interchangeable with your jeans and they work with pretty much every shoe ... trendy boot, cool sneaker, flat sandal.”
JoosTricot’s Natalie Joos is leaning into romantic knitwear pieces for fall parties — namely, a white cashmere midi dress or a ballet pink sweater as a contrast to the season’s usual muted tones. “I’d wear the sweater with high-waisted vintage jeans and Gucci slingback heels,” she shares. For nights when the temperature will allow, try a miniskirt and tights instead.
Fall’s chilly weather can make party dressing slightly more challenging, which is why Fleur du Mal founder and CEO Jennifer Zuccarini’s pick feels all the more enticing. “It’s hard to find things that work for cooler temperatures but also as a party look,” Her choice? A long-sleeve bodysuit. “The underbust seaming is eye-catching, and it’s a piece you can dress up with a tuxedo pant or wear with denim."
Sometimes the best kind of party piece is one that doesn’t require additional layering. Abacaxi Creator Sheena Sood turns to a long-sleeve dress for her fall fête needs. “Style a long-sleeve dress with a nice pair of platform boots or heeled boots for a fall party,” Sood says. “Plus, earrings or accessories. Maybe an oversized denim jacket or quilted jacket on top if it is cold out.” Sood also notes a silhouette that has the sleeves extend long onto the hand is especially enticing this time of year. Who needs gloves?
If you’re invested in the revival of Y2K trends, then Le Point Owner and Buyer Pauline Montupet’s pick will be right up your alley. “I am loving an early 2000s-feeling layering piece like a [tank] bodysuit or tube top for the evening,” she says. "This feels casual and cool. I lived during that era, so it's finding that balance [of trendy] without looking too vintage or like I raided Depop.” She’s leaning on a Goldsign tank bodysuit right now for a sophisticated elevated look. “For the fall, I would layer it under an oversized blazer and some loose-fit trousers and a small baguette style bag," she says. "You can't go wrong with a sneaker or loafer for day, but for going out, a nice minimal black sandal with a sheer sock would keep it cool.”
A long dress will always be a top pick for any kind of party any season of the year and for autumn, and Lisa Says Gah Founder Lisa Bühler says a thin-knit tube dress feels just right. “I’m loving it for the holiday season and will be accessorizing it with our new Lisa Says Gah! Jewelry collection; a few current favorites are the Florette Bracelet in Gold and our glass Liz Rings.” This dress is an easy one to pair with a sleek leather jacket and chunky boots.
Translating your knitwear to a festive environment can be done, but it’s made all the more effortless when it’s a statement piece to begin with. Ella Wiznia, the founder and designer at The Series, is leaning into a crochet moment for fall soirées. “Our Hilma Crochet Tank can be worn over a turtleneck or mesh long-sleeve top paired with vintage jeans or slacks,” she says. “You can also wear it over your favorite silky slip or dress.” The tank and matching bag were made using second-hand yarns and by a group of craftswomen who expertly crocheted each piece so your look can also serve as a conversation starter.
Colorful Slip Dress
For SVNR and House Of Founder Christina Tung, a colorful slip dress is a perennial favorite. “They feel dressed-up and always appropriate, easy and effortless,” she says. “I love going for a monochromatic look and pairing with a matching sweater or cardigan — either oversized or shrunken to play with proportions. Add boots and a statement earring to get a little festive!”