20 Fall Wardrobe Essentials

August 24, 2015

These past few weeks have been unbearably hot and humid and I find myself longing for fall. Don't get me wrong; I love summer - the beach, barbecues, being able to marathon Suits without feeling guilty about neglecting my schoolwork...but the heat? I can't. I just can't. 

There's just something so refreshing about fall: the cool, crisp weather, colorful foliage - all a welcome break from the muggy sweatiness of summer. It's also a fresh start; you enter the new school year armed with the wisdom and lessons you've learned over the past semesters and the summer. It's almost like a second New Year's if you will.

But what I love the most about fall is switching up my wardrobe. I'm looking forward to trading my thin tank tops for chunky sweaters and my strappy sandals for sleek ankle boots. And the layering! Oh, the wonderful, wonderful layering. Fall outfits always make me feel super put-together and, as cheesy as it sounds, when you feel confident in your clothes, you're pretty much unstoppable.

In honor and anticipation of the quick approaching autumnal weather and all of its wonderfulness, here are my twenty fall wardrobe essentials! 

Chambray shirt: Plato's Closet // Sweater: Old Navy // Necklace: Forever 21 // Boots: Target

1: Chambray shirt - I am ob-sessed with chambrays, they are a must-have for any fall wardrobe. They come in a multitude of washes and are so, so versatile; you can wear it buttoned up, open like a jacket over a cute dress - the possibilities are endless. For a more preppy feel, I layered mine under a thin sweater and cuffed the sleeves.

2: Layering Sweater - A lightweight sweater is perfect for that transition from warm summer weather to cooler fall breezes; it's thick enough to keep out the wind but also light enough to layer without making you overheat. The rich forest green color is also just such a fall color.

3: Statement necklace - I don't normally wear a lot of jewelry; I don't have my ears pierced and I find bracelets to be too much of a hassle, but I love my statement necklaces. They add a pop of color to a monochrome outfit or transform a basic T-shirt and jeans outfit.

Sweatshirt: H&M // Necklace: Forever 21 // Boots: Target

4: Riding boots - Knee-high riding boots are a classic fall staple. A good pair can be a little pricey, but it goes with everything and adds a classy touch to any outfit. When looking for riding boots, I keep an eye out for ones with a low heel: perfect for being on your feet around campus all day and super easy to run in if you see that bus about to leave the stop!


5: Neutral sweatshirt - A comfy, neutral sweatshirt is such a versatile addition to your wardrobe. You can lounge around in one with your favorite pair of baggy sweatpants or dress it up by throwing on a statement necklace and a pair of ankle boots; you look put together while still keeping that cozy feeling. What I love about this one is the quilted pattern; it adds a interesting detail to an otherwise plain sweatshirt.


Plaid flannel: Aliexpress // Cardigan: Brandy Melville // Jeans: Forever 21 // Ankle boots: Forever 21 

6: Plaid flannel - Nothing is more indicative of the autumnal season than a good ol' plaid flannel. Doesn't it just conjure up thoughts of bonfires and pumpkin picking? Similar to a chambray shirt, a plaid flannel can be styled in a multitude of ways and adds a cozy touch to your outfit. While red plaid is an undeniable classic, go off the beaten path with colors like deep green or something bright!

7: Cardigan - Cardigans are just one of those pieces that you should have in your closet year-round, not just during fall. They come in different colors, patterns, and knits and are a great, more casual alternative to jackets. Here I pair a thick waffle knit cardigan with a plaid flannel; I find that this combination has the potential to look a little frumpy, but adding a cool pair of ankle boots steers the outfit away from grandpa-ish towards a more sleek kind of mature.

T-shirt: Kohl's // Plaid flannel: Aliexpress // Jeans: Forever 21 // Ankle boots: Forever 21

8: Ankle boots - Being barely 5 ft, I tend to shy away from anything that cuts me off directly at the ankles; I don't need to look any shorter than I already am. But thank God for ankle boots that have heels! They give me a teeny bit more height and add an edge to outfits that knee-high boots just can't achieve. I love this pair of boots so much; I was browsing the Forever 21 website out of boredom and saw these beauties and just had to have them (my bank account was inclined to disagree). The gold plate on the heels remind me a little of the Alexander Wang rose gold Anouck boots.

9: Basic T-shirt - A plain, neutral colored T-shirt is one of the building blocks of a stylish wardrobe. It is quite literally the epitome of versatility; it's the foundation of any outfit - a blank canvas and matches everything. You can dress it up by tucking it into a pair of fitted trousers and heels or go casual with denim shorts and sandals.

10: Dark wash jeans - As classic as apple pie, a good pair of jeans is another one of those pieces that should be in your closet at all times. There are so many washes and cuts to choose from but I think for fall, a pair of dark wash jeans is an essential. It makes any outfit look just a smidge more classy and put-together.


Blouse: Forever 21 // Trench coat: Forever 21 // Leggings: H&M // Loafers: Forever 21

11: Jewel colored blouse - As the weather gets colder, the colors on our clothes get deeper and richer; move aside whites and neons, it's time for jewel tones. If fall was a painting, it would be colored with vibrant burgundys, emerald greens, and cobalt blues. I found this blouse at Forever 21 for a steal at $9 but it's rich amethyst color and pleating makes it look like a department store purchase.


12: Trench coat - Trench coats are like that friend you know you can rely for anything. They're the finishing touch to your already well-thought out outfit and also your saving grace for those days where you simply can't be bothered. Just button up a trench coat and nobody will ever know that you're wearing your pajama top underneath.


Sweater: Kohl's // Leggings: Forever 21 // Loafers: Forever 21

13: Leggings - College has made me lazier when it comes to my wardrobe; most days I stumble to class in a crew neck and a pair of leggings. Super glamorous, I know. But leggings are just so darn comfortable! Black opaque leggings should already be a college girl's closet staple but fall allows you to experiment with other colors like olive green or burgundy.

14: Loafers - I have a tenuous relationship with loafers; they look incredible on other people, but I'm not so sure if they work for me. But that doesn't mean I'll stop trying and experimenting. Loafers are like the cooler, less girly cousin of ballet flats; I don't know why but they just strike me as the kind of shoe that you'd slip into, wearing a pair of ripped jeans and a white T-shirt and head out to brunch in.

15: Chunky sweater - What fall wardrobe would be complete without a comfy, cozy, chunky sweater? People don't refer to fall as "sweater weather" for just any old reason. There's nothing like bundling up in a warm, soft sweater on a chilly autumn day. I love the oversized fit of this sweater and the studs add an edgy detail.


Dress: Forever 21 // Utility jacket: Joyce Leslie // Scarf: Marshall's // Bracelets: various Taiwan boutiques

16: Utility jacket - Utility jackets can be a little tough, utilitarian-chic looking, and you can certainly go edgy with your outfit or, if you're like me, balance it out with something like a sweet floral dress. The olive green color is one of those classic fall colors and makes it a piece that will go perfectly with any outfit.

17: Casual dress - A simple flowy dress is one of those summer staples that can carry on into fall. You can adapt it to the decreasing temperatures with a jacket, tights, and a pair of boots. When looking for a summer-to-fall dress, keep an eye out for a more neutral color with a simple silhouette like this black trapeze piece; it gives you the option to either dress it up or down.

18: Lightweight scarf - Fall means you don't have to take out your chunky, knitted scarves just yet; opt for a light scarf instead. It's an essential layering piece that won't cause you to overheat. This rich maroon infinity scarf is my go-to for fall because it adds a seasonal pop of color to any outfit.


Dress: Forever 21 // Denim jacket: H&M // Necklace: Forever 21 // Bag: Shoedazzle

19: Denim jacket - This is one wardrobe staple that you can don from spring all the way to fall and even winter depending on where you live. Similar to it's other denim counterparts, it comes in a wide variety of washes and detailing. Hunting for the perfect denim jacket takes time and dedication but when you find the one, you have a classic piece that will last a lifetime.

20: Structured bag - I think that fall is the quintessential time to pull out your structured handbags; just something about the shape and substantial-ness screams fall and colder weather. It adds a sophisticated breath of life into any outfit. This tri-color trapeze bag is reminiscent of a Céline trapeze bag but at a fraction of the price.

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So there we have it, my twenty fall wardrobe essentials! I think the best thing about these pieces is how simple they are; they provide a basic foundation for you to expand on or to adapt to your own individual style. Let me know what your fall clothing must-haves are!

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