A friend of mine recently told me she was getting ready to buy a new fall wardrobe, and asked if I could do a post on building a wardrobe. While I'm by no means an expert, I put together some important pieces you'll need to start or add to a wardrobe for fall.
To start with, you'll need some pants and skirts. I think it's important to have one pair of basic black pants, and one pair in another neutral color. You probably already own several pairs of jeans, but if you don't already own a dark denim trouser-style pair, think about adding them. They can easily be dressed up or down, and they're super-flattering. Consider getting some dark wash skinny jeans too--they're great for dressing up or tucking into boots. When it comes to skirts, I think there are three different styles that will serve you well. First of all, a khaki skirt will go with everything and can easily go from work to weekend. A full skirt in a fun print or bright color will instantly transform a basic tee, and a pencil skirt (in a neutral color or denim) will make you look professional and put together. I also love dressing up a pencil skirt for evening.
Personally, I never seem to have enough tops; I buy them continually. Even though the temperatures will start to cool soon, I think you should have a few lightweight, sleeveless or short sleeve blouses in fun prints and colors (dark florals are big right now, as are polka dots). You can put them under a blazer for work, or pair them with jeans for evening. You'll also need some basic tees, definitely in black and white. Think about getting a striped tee too--believe me, you'll wear it again and again. Also, you can never go wrong with a white button-up shirt. This season, this shirt is a little looser and lighter weight, a perfect mix of masculine shape and feminine feel.
For days when the weather's a little chilly, you'll need a great, versatile jacket. I'm loving all the faux-leather motorcycle or bomber-style jackets that are out right now. If that's not your thing, you can never, ever go wrong with a belted trench coat. If it's in your budget, get both. You won't regret it. I also think every woman needs a blazer (I'm in the mood for one in a textured gray); they add instant polish to anything from jeans to dresses. This is also a time to stock up on sweaters, especially cardigans. A basic black cardigan and bright v-neck will take you anywhere, and a fun striped cardigan will take your nautical summer looks into fall. Don't be afraid to pair stripes with other prints--believe me, it works! Additionally, thick, textured knits are huge this season, so pick up a chunky cardigan to throw on over jeans, skirts, and dresses.
To transform the most basic wardrobe, you'll need to scoop up armfuls of accessories. You'll need necklaces: think chains, long pendants, and statement necklaces; brooches: flower pins and grandma-chic styles; and earrings: hoops, colorful dangles. There are multitudes of great belts out there, but if you're only going to get one, make it a medium thickness brown leather belt. You can wear it with jeans, but also over cardigans with the extra length knotted. Scarves are another essential, and you can get them anywhere and everywhere, often for next to nothing. They're for more than just warmth; adding a scarf to your look takes you from blah to chic in a second. Finally, if you need a new handbag for the season, consider a structured, lady-like style. I love ones with longer straps that you can wear cross-body style.
And last but certainly not least, shoes! Last year, I got a pair of black, flat, riding-style boots, and I'm so glad I did. I wore them so much, and I know this year will be no different. Also consider getting a pair of nude heels--they make your legs look miles long. Oxfords are here in a big way for fall, and they're surprisingly versatile. Pair them with feminine skirts, dresses, and jeans. Additionally, think about getting a pair of animal print pumps or flats; they go with almost anything, and if you've checked out any September issue at all this year you'll know how big animal print is this year. Finally, I think it's important to have some "fun" shoes as another way to transform a look. Consider a brightly colored or embellished flat, and a metallic sandal or pump to dress up jeans or a pencil skirt.
Whew! That was a long post! I hope it was helpful. I know there were things I left out (hello, dresses!) but I think I covered the basics. I'd love to know if there are any "essentials" for your fall wardrobe that I didn't include. Happy fall shopping!