Not quite a pump, boot, or sandal, the mule falls in a footwear gray area, earning it a reputation as a tricky shoe to style. You could say, however, that the semi-coverage of a closed-toe, open-back construction makes mules extra versatile, and actually ideal for fall’s transitional weather. And when temperatures drop even further, you can easily extend their wearability into the early months of winter by adding socks or tights. These slip-on heels have quickly become the fashion girl’s go-to choice for adding an instant touch of cool to any outfit, so nailing how to wear mules this fall can help transform your style. And with designers churning out so many lust-worthy options, there’s a version for virtually any outfit and occasion you may encounter throughout autumn.
If you’re looking to make the most of the mule moment this season, there are a couple tips to keep in mind. First, consider the structure: A thicker heel and sturdy shape will stand up to the elements better than a spindly stiletto with an exaggerated pointy toe. A block-heel with a substantial sole can probably get you through the first light snowfall, plus they’re considerably easier to walk in. Second, opt for heavier materials and seasonal colors. (This tends to mean darker hues, but a crisp white mule can be ultra-chic when worn with the right ensemble.)
To set you on the right path, here are nine autumn-ready outfits you can wear with mules, plus the pieces to recreate each look.
Furry Mules + Retro Knit + Snakeskin Skirt
Mules with fuzzy footbeds or fur-wrapped heels have an inherently cozy quality that makes them perfect for fall — sort of like built-in socks. Wear with a mix of other textural elements, like a patterned knit turtleneck and a python leather midi skirt. Bonus points for choosing styles in rich autumn shades of rust and sienna.
Sculptural Mules + Modern Jacket + Classic Denim
Put a modern spin on your look by opting for mules with architectural details, like sculptural, shaped heels. Up the ante with an asymmetrical blazer in a deep jewel tone, plus a classic pair of straight-leg jeans. Finish things off with a pop-of-color bag.
Kitten-Heel Mules + Plaid Blazer + Cuff-Detail Trousers
For an edgy spin on a preppy schoolgirl ensemble, start with a checked wool blazer and polka-dot pussybow blouse. Add to that, trousers with details at the cuff. A set of buttons or unique cut-outs will draw the eye down to your shoes: a pair of delicate, kitten-heel mules — preferably with a dainty bow at the vamp.
Pom-Pom Mules + Tapestry Coat + Coordinating Skirt
Who says you can’t wear bright colors after summer? Sunny yellow can feel right for fall when done in heavier materials, like velvet brocade and suede. Stick to a single hue from head to toe for a look that packs a punch. Then complete the romantic vibe with some whimsical pom-pom mules in a complimentary shade.
Red Mules + Leather Puffer + Black Jeans
Bold, red mules take the spotlight for this look. A white tee and simple black denim are the perfect basic-but-not-boring pairing. A puffer coat in cognac leather (an unexpected material that dilutes the sportiness and adds a downtown edge) will keep you feeling warm and looking cool.
White Mules + Black Dress + Tinted Sunnies
The little black dress goes from classic to modern when you wear it with sleek white mules. Keep the lines clean and simple, then add a splash of color to this monochromatic outfit with some tinted lens shades.
Graphic Mules + Elevated Sweats
If you’re looking for any and every possibility to help you get away with wearing sweats 24/7, this is a good place to start. Graphic heeled mules with a sporty sensibility help elevate your coziest duds. Take things up a notch from your basic sweatshirt by trying an embellished version with some crystal fringe. On the bottom, you can go for something with a designer logo (people don’t care that you’re wearing sweats when they know you overpaid for them), or skip the overt branding and stick to sweatpants that are basic, but well-made.
Black Mules + Sporty Layers + Silky Skirt
Sporty meets elegant in this layered look. A neon-accented knit and athletic puffer vest are nicely offset by a flowing silk skirt and feminine pair of mules. It’s the best of both worlds, and wearable during the work week and weekend alike.
Snakeskin Mules + Shearling Coat + Camel Pants
Nothing says “I’m ready for autumn!” quite like a shearling topper. Double down on the cozy factor with a simple knit and camel wool trousers. This neutral look provides the perfect canvas for a pair of exotic snakeskin mules.