Considering I love any excuse to lounge around in leggings and a cozy jumper, it’s no surprise that fall is my absolute favorite time of the year for fashion. Fall is also a great season to build a capsule wardrobe for; it’s still warm enough to want to get dressed up, but cool enough that you can get away with wearing a lot of the same things over and over again. So, it’s a great season for stocking up on essential items you’ll wear year after year.
This year, I decided to do an audit of my fall wardrobe and put together a list of fall staples every twenty something should have. These are items that are great for women who want to look fashionable going from work to play in the fall; they’re the items I consistently buy and wear every year. Some are investments, and others are wardrobe staples that you can find at any price. I’ve also included tips for dress up and dressing down each item.
The photos in this post feature my favorite autumn purchase so far this year: this red Trouve jumper. I enjoyed cozying up in it on our recent glamping trip to Field725, and know you’ll be seeing a lot of it this autumn! It’s available in three colors and 40% off, but limited sizes remain.
Fall Staples Every Twenty Something Should Have
1. Leather/Faux Leather Leggings
Leather leggings really can’t lose the “are leggings pants?” debate because they’re thick enough to be jeans. However, they’re a lot more glamorous than jeans and look AWESOME with chunky sweaters and booties. So it’s no surprise that leather or faux leather leggings are the number one item on my list of fall wardrobe staples.
Leather Leggings Styling Tips
Dress Up Leather Leggings: Add a blazer over a nice t-shirt or blouse. Then, throw on some flat mules and pick up your favorite work bag. Add a sparkly necklace for a little bit of flash.
Dress Down Leather Leggings: Throw on your favorite chunky knit turtleneck and a pair of heeled booties. Wear your hair in a messy high bun, but throw on some extra eye liner to spice it up if you’re heading out with the girls!
2. An Investment Jumper
Jumpers are essential in the autumn, and the chunky variety are usually my preferred. However, your mid-twenties is when you should start investing in quality over quantity, which is why I specified an investment jumper above. Whether you opt for cashmere or a quality wool, investing in an expensive jumper is a great way to get used to caring for more expensive clothing items. Also, if you’re like me and you wear your favorite jumpers over and over again, it’s an item you’re guaranteed to get a ton of wear out of, meaning your cost per wear goes down.
What is an “investment” you might ask? It depends on what you are comfortable paying, and what you are used to paying, but I’d probably say anything around the £80/$100 mark and up. A piece you wouldn’t be willing to wear for one season and get rid of, and one you’ll actually WANT to take care of.
My go-to brand for investment jumpers is Vince; if you’re not ready to spend a ton, though, start with something mid-range, like Free People or Trouve. I always LOVE Free People’s sweaters and they’re extremely affordable, but still more expensive and better quality than most high street brands.
Sweater Styling Tips
Dress Up Your Sweater: Wear a chunky sweater partially tucked into a knee length or midi pencil skirt for a chic, office-ready look. If you have an even more casual office, go with an A-line mini, tights, and booties.
Dress Down Your Sweater: Pair your sweater with ripped straight leg jeans and a printed heel. Add a cross-body bag and, if you’re up for it, a felt hat.
3. Silk Button Down
Silk button downs are arguably one of the most versatile pieces you can have in your closet. I’ve owned a grey long sleeve one for a few years now and it’s been through it all: important work meetings, dress down days, date nights, and girls’ nights out. It’s a step up from a t-shirt, but doesn’t add any unnecessary fuss. There’s no better place to look for silk button downs than Everlane. I love the resort-wear vibes of a boxy short-sleeved white button down, and the casual chic of an olive button down (safari vibes, am I right?).
Silk button downs can be worn year round, especially if you invest in a few different colors/styles.
Silk Button Down Styling Tips
Dress Up Your Silk Button Down: Tuck your silk button down into a pair of culottes and add a heel. It’s a simple formula for an incredibly chic outfit!
Dress Down Your Silk Button Down: Go black on black, with a black long-sleeved button down tucked into black jeans. For girls night out, add a pop of color with your shoes. Or, if you’re on holiday, pair a striped short-sleeve button down with white jeans and a brown sandal.
4. Ankle Booties
I probably buy three pairs of ankle booties each autumn. Usually, I purchase a nicer pair (usually brown/gray) that I know I’ll have for awhile. I also purchase a pair of black booties with a chunky heel from New Look. They get worn so much that I prefer to pay less for a pair that’s going to get abused and only last a season. I also try to throw in a more trendy pair or something I wouldn’t usually buy. This year, it’s these pink Topshop booties that I’m looking forward to trying.
Booties are my favorite piece of footwear because they’re comfy and warm. More importantly, when I buy a pair with a chunky heel, I can get a bit of height without absolutely dying every time I wear them. I wear booties pretty much every day in the fall and they’re so versatile. You can dress them up for work or an event or dress them down for a short walk to the pub.
In my opinion, every closet should have a simple black heeled bootie, a pair of brown booties, and a pair of chelsea boots. With those three items, you could conquer the world. But, of course, the more booties, the better! (Note: the Valentino booties below are totally outside of my price range, but I loved them so much I just had to include them!).
Ankle Boot Styling Tips
Dress Up Ankle Booties: Pair your ankle booties with a flowy maxi dress and a leather jacket for a dressed up bohemian look. You’ll look like a total badass, in the best way possible!
Dress Down Ankle Booties: Jeans, t-shirt, booties. It’s that easy! With a simple outfit, it’s the little things that matter – add on a simple stack of necklaces or, if it’s cooler, a chunky scarf and a leather jacket.
5. An Overcoat
Coats are probably my favorite item to peruse the internet for each autumn. When I was younger and going through my Blair Waldorf phase (yes, it happened), I had a massive selection of peacoats of all styles, lengths, and colors. Now, my coat collection is severely lacking compared to that, but I love coming across a staple coat in a new style or color. Overcoats are currently my favorite because they’re so easy to dress up or down – I purchased an Only coat from ASOS last year and wore it non-stop in the winter and spring. Now, I’m looking forward to adding a camel coat and a short, colorful coat to my collection this year. I also have my eye on a fur coat, but that’s an entirely different conversation!
Overcoat Styling Tips
Dress Down & Dress Up Overcoats: The great thing about coats is that you can throw them on over essentially anything. I recommend playing around accessories – from hats and scarves to stylish gloves for colder days, it’s fun to style your coats to look different throughout the autumn.
I’m so happy that the weather is starting to cool down and it’s finally time to start playing with fall pieces. I hope you found some wardrobe inspiration in this post – comment below with your favorite fall fashion item!