Keep your wardrobe fashionable and fresh with some style tips for autumn.
Pumpkin spice lattes are back in season, Halloween candy is now on sale, and a chill is in the air (at least at night)! Along with cooler weather, fall fashion is back. This week, I was so excited to have a reader request my advice on what fashion finds can freshen up a fall wardrobe. In addition to the lovely weather and colors, the beauty of fall is that it’s a transitory season between summer and winter, so a lot of summer clothes can be carried over into a fall outfits... and many fall outfits can work just as well in the winter! A few accessories, and perhaps a well-chosen clothing piece or two, can ensure a stylish seasonal wardrobe that matches both the weather and the style of the time.
This summer, I blogged about a few new pieces that I bought for warmer weather, including a denim shirt and a new pair of skinny jeans in a dark wash. Here are my tips on how to incorporate these stylish basics into your autumn wardrobe.
Closet finds from summer:
- Skinny jeans in a dark wash. These are a stylish basic in any season. In the summer, I bought a pair on sale to wear with sandals. In the fall, this wardrobe staple is still a winner. Pair with ballet flats or tuck into boots for instant style options. The dark wash works well with fall colors, and can sometimes help with the transition from work (casual Fridays, anyone?) to play. Thicker than leggings, skinny jeans also look great under longer sweaters or tunics, which are always good outfit options for fall.
- A denim or chambray shirt. In my summer style post, I wrote about how I was a little nervous to buy this shirt at first because it’s a very trendy fashion piece right now! However, I’m so glad I did, because in addition to being stylish, a chambray shirt is also very practical. I was wearing this as a cover-up in the summer over tank tops and sundresses, so I know this kind of shirt definitely has layering appeal—very important for unpredictable fall temps! Also, denim is, in fashion terms, a neutral—meaning that it works with everything. At the Scarsdale sidewalk sale in New York this summer, I noticed a sales associate wearing a chambray shirt tucked into a black pencil skirt with a thin black belt. I had never thought to combine this kind of top with a professional-looking pencil skirt before, but it looked great. I’ve also seen fall fashion magazines layering this top under sweaters—another way in which denim can become work-appropriate!
Fall accessories for swing styles from summer:
- Scarves! I love wearing scarves. They are a great way to accessorize any and every outfit. A sleeveless shirt or summer dress instantly seems more chic and more seasonal when paired with a big, gorgeous scarf.
- Cardigans. Warmer than a scarf, a cardigan or button-up sweater is a great way to help summer’s tank tops or short-sleeved shirts make it into the fall rotation. Wear them as a substitute for, or in addition to, a lovely, flowing scarf.
- Thin belts. Perhaps you’ve noticed a common thread in my practical and budget-conscious tips for fall fashion: layering! The temperatures in fall seem to alternate between very hot and very cool, so layers give you the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and style. But, if there is one drawback to layering clothes, it’s that it can sometimes create a bulky silhouette. A newer trend that I’ve noticed is women wearing thin belts outside of their clothes at their natural waistline. This creates an hour-glass figure and can make boyish, sometimes boxy clothing layers like cardigans and button-ups seem more delicate and feminine.
What to buy new for fall:
- A suit-style jacket separate. Jackets are not just for suits! Everyone should have one of these in their closet—and they should wear it with more than just suit pants (hence the “separate” part in my label)! A jacket is a perfect transition piece for fall. It’s a lighter substitute for a coat that has both indoor and outdoor appeal. It can dress up a pair of jeans, or add a bit of fall style when paired with lighter summer pieces or dresses. The important thing to look for is fit (go for a tailored waist to avoid looking boxy) and color (avoid boring blacks or browns)! I have one in cranberry that I wear with nearly everything in the fall. If you’re nervous about wearing it as part of an outfit, then a stylish jacket still makes for practical outerwear.
- A leather jacket. Or at least leather something. A leather jacket is a timeless piece that never goes out of style. It just so happens that this year, leather jackets are very, very in style. Regardless of fashion’s fleeting trends, a good quality leather jacket is a classic look. But, if you’re not ready to commit to the cost or the dangerous allure of a leather jacket, then leather has been making its way into many other fall fashion finds this season. Leather-accented skirts, tops, and sweaters are all hot items right now. Not just for bikers and punk rockers, leather can add a bit of edge to anyone’s wardrobe, and leather and jeans are always an excellent combination.
- High boots. A good pair of boots can last for several seasons, so like the leather jacket, this might be an investment piece. Boots and scarves instantly say fall fashion to me, and they’re also good transition pieces for fall to winter. I like to wear clothing items (especially shoes) in as many outfit combinations as possible, so shop for a pair that can work, as well as play. Look for a pair that can be worn with a nice skirt or dress (with or without leggings) for work, but also that can be worn with a pair of jeans tucked in. In my experience, flat, riding-style boots seem to be the most versatile. Black or brown leather both look very professional, and cognac is another great color that really seems to go with nearly everything.
- A bomber sweater. This is another piece that fits the bill for trendy and practical. Bomber sweaters can be layered over another top, which makes them practical, but they’re also very in-style and very cute for fall. Personally, I like this style because it adds a little bit of interest to an outfit—the sweater is a focal point, and shouldn’t be buried under other layers, like scarves or jackets. Also, I believe the cut is flattering on most figures because the cinched waist can emphasize a curvy waistline while accenting the bust! (Win-win, right, ladies?)
- A striped tee. This is another timeless style trend. Big, bold stripes are a great way to make any outfit seem more interesting, especially when wardrobe pieces can sometimes get buried under jackets and scarves. Ignore the rule about horizontal stripes having a widening effect on one’s figure—there are plenty of other ways to accent one’s shape or silhouette! For example, a jacket with a tailored waist will automatically define a waistline over a striped shirt, or a thin belt over the shirt can do the same thing. Because stripes can already make a bold style statement, I recommend keeping the colors in the stripes relatively neutral (whites, blacks, dark blues) to avoid sensory overload!
Just about all of the items I’ve included in the following list are what I consider “investment pieces,” which means that, although they may initially cost a little more than regular clothing items, they will last longer and can be worn again for several seasons. In the end, less money is spent on wasteful purchases that go out of style quickly or fall apart. Be chic: appreciate quality over quantity! Make the most of your money and appreciate the beauty of the changing seasons with a fall fashion update.