As much as I want to be someone who loves fall, I don't. The ever-shorter days and steadily dropping temperatures only manage to give me pre-winter anxiety. Chalk it up to the fact that I grew up in Northern California (where temperatures vary 20 degrees from season to season) or the fact that I never seem to have enough warm clothing when the first cold snap hits. Either way, I try to find a little joy in the one shiny, happy part of fall for me: layering. It's a challenge I find fun after months of trying to wear as little as possible (New York summers are nothing to mess with). Because I'm busy trying to stock up on core layering pieces, I'm here to share my 10 fall fashion must-haves, a seasonal shopping guide highlighting exactly what I have my eye on.
I'm taking my favorite purchases from the past month or two and wearing them in unexpected (and seasonally appropriate) ways while sprinkling key of-the-moment trends into the equation. Now that things have finally cooled down on the east coast, my mind has shifted to cold-weather staples like coats, sweaters, and boots — so expect a few of the usual suspects on my must-buy list. But, also know that I'm committed to finding ways to infuse color and texture into my fall wardrobe so I don't spend the next six months in head-to-toe black. (Though some days definitely still call for it.)
I know it's bizarre to describe my sense of style as chill, but my own attempts at curating an effortlessness fall wardrobe will hopefully mean that you, too, can ease into the oncoming months without too much style anxiety. Layering up doesn't have to be all that complicated — especially thanks to these fall purchases.
I'm starting my list of must-have pieces for fall with the Batsheva dress I bought in September. This year, the label has become a favorite among NYC fashion insiders and has helped spur the prairie dress trend that swept the industry over the summer.
Floral Print Dress
Because a cotton maxi dress might normally lend itself to the toastier temperatures of July or August than the current climate, I've had my eye on accessories that could help me transition it into cooler weather. At the top of my wish list are these cowboy-inspired Prada boots. They're not so overtly trendy that I'd feel like I'm in a costume, but western boots are a key style to try right now.
Leather and Neoprene Ankle Boots
The next trend I'm looking to tackle for fall: leopard. Layering a matching skirt, jacket, and shoes together feels surprisingly reasonable; these days this wild print actually counts as a neutral. Currently, I'm considering investing in a cozy leopard coat, like the below from Collina Strada. Animal print coverups are a top trend this season, and it's easy to envision styling this cozy coat with a turtleneck tee or a fancier LBD.
Shelter Faux Leopard Jacket
While the weather is still warm enough, I'd also suggest trying a silky leopard midi skirt (mine is by Ganni and is currently sold out, but here's a similar one from Realisation Par) for a different take on the animal print trend. If you're interested in mixing up your trends, add in a pop of color as inspired by the high-saturation runways of the last few seasons. I love the idea of adding a chunky, colorful cardigan, like the one below from Re/Done.
Because combining prints and colors can be a lot to commit to, try mixing and matching bolder pieces with more structured staples. These high-waisted trousers from Pixie Market are the ideal counterpart to some of the zanier pieces I've been wanting to break out this fall — and while a full suit was a street style trend to try this past September, tailored trousers are a more accessible way to approach polished dressing.
Western Belted Pants
A sleek pair of trousers is also the ideal transitional piece for taking an outfit from day to night, should that be an obstacle you face. At work I might style them with a simple sweater or tee, but I like the idea of wearing them to a cocktail bar, too. A low-neck blouse, like the one from Jacquemus below is polished, but still relaxed enough for date-night drinks.
Because bold colors were a runway favorite at labels like Tibi. Escada, and Prada, I'm looking for ways to add bright colors into my fall wardrobe — and I'd spring for a bright night-out top in yellow or pink. Something slightly cropped and sleeveless is ideal for layering under a leather jacket and I'm particularly smitten with the cut of this fun style from Staud.
While cool leopard print and high-saturation hues are both high on the list of trends I'm keeping an eye on, polished accessories help ground any outfit. Fall is the time of year when fashion tends to embrace the back-to-school aesthetic and return to structured, sophisticated bags and ladylike jewelry — and footwear brand By Far recently launched its own collection of bags, too. There's something about the croc-effect handbag that feels just the right amount of sophisticated for cold weather dressing, and since mini bags continue to be a fashion favorite, there's no time like the present to test out the trend.
Croc-Effect Ball Tote
Another bag that I currently have sitting patiently in my cart is the furry baguette I found from cult-favorite designer Saks Potts. It's definitely referential of the late '90s and early '00s, but it also feels luxe and modern. With the current clamoring for the vintage bags from the likes of Fendi and Dior, I like the idea of buying into the throwback trend in a modern (and logo-less) way. I envision wearing it with light-wash denim and a black turtleneck for daytime, and carrying it over into evening with a colorful maxi dress like the one's from Jacquemus.
As for jewelry, I'm excited to see so many brands launching new styles that are transforming the way we all think about pearls. I recently discovered the jewelry brand Prounis, which is inspired by ancient designs and techniques and is making stunning pearl jewelry. I also have my eye on the earrings below from J.Hannah: There's something elegant but decidedly unfussy about this new take on a classic that hearkens back to my grandma and beyond. While you could easily use them to accessorize a black tie outfit, it's especially modern to them with a casual pair of jeans and a sweatshirt too.
Baroque Pearl Drop Earrings