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Autumnal Wardrobe Essentials

Autumnal Wardrobe Essentials

Build the foundation of your seasonal wardrobe with a core collection of essentials.

Every new seasonal turnover, fashion editors and influencers report on the must-haves to refresh the wardrobe. Seasonal must-have lists can enlighten those of us with an interest in fashion about developing design trends and concepts. However, leaning too heavily on a fashion “must-have” list, we may risk overstocking the seasonal wardrobe with idealized visions of fashion, as well as, curating a collection of wardrobe items that does not strengthen methods of outfit building nor articulate day-to-day style. The development of a customized core collection of essentials can ward off a dysfunctional wardrobe and assist us build an adaptable and practical seasonal wardrobe.

If we want to have a seasonal wardrobe that dresses us to our best sartorial advantage, it requires a foundation of essentials. Although the brand, designer, fit and price may vary from one wardrobe essential to another, essentials are ambassadors of universal style and transcend the boundaries of age, proportions, lifestyle and social class. Mixed, matched, layered together or worn simply solo, I cannot visualize a wardrobe that does not benefit from a customized collection of core essentials.

Potential Autumnal Essentials

Personally, I don’t place weighty reliance on generic must-have lists for the seasonal wardrobe, because much of building a better wardrobe is subjective. What may be an ideal seasonal essential for me, may not for another? However, I do trust that a core collection of essentials can greatly benefit the seasonal wardrobe. Below I’ve compiled a list my favorite autumnal essentials. Feel comfortable to pick and choose your favorites from the list. Just choose those essentials that are the best fit for your sartorial aesthetics and lifestyle.


Don’t overlook outerwear when assembling your core collection of essentials. Light to mid-weight outerwear is a not to be missed item in the fall wardrobe. Outerwear lets you put together dozens of layered outfits to keep you covered during fickle fall temperatures, as well as, make a favorable impression. Invest in two or more items of essential outerwear to support your seasonal wardrobe.


Blazers are my ultimate essential for fall dressing. Blazers are the building block to layering outfits and can make perfect pairing from a host of separates. These gems of the seasonal wardrobe can multi-task from morning to midnight, from office to office duty, from cityscape to countryside and just about every in-between. Choose a shape that best suits your personality and reality. And choose one in a good-quality fabric like tweed, gabardine, corduroy, flannel or velvet.

Cardigans & Sweaters

These seasonal essentials are both practical and polished. Dressier versions fabricated from cashmere, merino or Saxon wool are closet classics and can take you from off-duty afternoons to chic evenings. I recommend, first, stocking your essential knitwear collection with neutral hues such as black, navy, camel, gray, cream or olive. Then introduce bolder and brighter hues such as apple red, pumpkin orange, harvest gold, deep raisin, or burnt rust.

Trousers & Pants

Start at the bottom when assembling your core set of autumnal essentials. Pants are perfect everyday wear whether for office or office duty. We expect pants and trousers not only to fit well, but also to camouflage our imperfections. The right pant or trouser can do just that, as well as, make a great style statement. Much like assembling a blazer capsule, choose your essential trousers/pants in a good-quality fabric.


Denim is really an essential for any season, but unreservedly a fixed staple for fall. Jeans are the quintessential denim staple whether it’s a skinny, boyfriend, straight, flare or classic trouser. More than likely we’re going to stock more than one pair of denim in the seasonal wardrobe. As for rinses, we can’t go wrong with a dark or washed rinse, white, grey or black. As Ines de la Fressange wrote in her book, Parisian Chic, “Jeans are a little like salt, they go with everything.” Think outside the jean box and consider a denim jacket, dress, skirt or shirt to round out your autumnal denim capsule.

Button-Downs & Tees

Undoubtedly the supporting performers of the seasonal wardrobe, these wardrobe essentials are there to accompany our seasonal outfit combinations. It’s impossible to layer without a few soft cotton tees or crisp button-downs. The personalities of a button-down and the classic tee are virtually infinite. Styles vary in shape, necklines, color, length and fabric, so stock up on several variations.

Dresses & Skirts

Dresses make a variety of style statements and save us time from having to coordinate separates. Our seasonal wardrobe will benefit by stocking an essential dress for day and evening. A simple slip dress or a classic tee dress, especially in  an elevated fabric such as silk, can seamlessly move us from day to night. Don’t neglect a skirt or two. The darlings for those of us on a budget, because of their nimbleness to pair with an assortment of tees, button-downs, sweaters, blazers, boots or sneakers; it’s possible to create an array of outfits throughout the season.

Bags & Shoes

Why shouldn’t our style philosophy start from the ground up? From boots to cult sneaker or from loafers to kitten heels, there are lots of options for grounding the autumnal footwear collection. Build a footwear capsule of versatile shoes that you can style up or down throughout the season. Although, the carrying of the handbag is mostly for utilitarian purposes, these can just as easily refresh an outfit. Shifting and sorting through the contents of a handbag is impractical and exasperating, so invest in a handbag with great organization features that make items more accessible such as zippered closures, storage sleeves, various pockets and key fobs.  

Begin building the foundation of a seasonal wardrobe with an assortment of essentials. Invest in a solid set of essentials, then spruce up the autumnal wardrobe with a few fashion pieces each season. Even when the seasonal wardrobe is limited, a core set of essentials, thoughtfully selected and carefully maintained, can dress us day after day, season after season, and year in and year out.

Please note that I do not receive any form of compensation for the brands that are mentioned and represented in this article.

Image from pixabay.com

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