Fall Wardrobe Essentials Feature Image

I never used to like the cold weather. The cold just seems to affect me more than most. I can never seem to get warm, no matter how many layers I put on. Strangely enough though, autumn is my favourite season for clothing. The cooler weather means you can start layering within your outfits, which makes them oh so much more interesting. So what pieces are considered autumn wardrobe essentials you ask?

Your essentials are the pieces you turn to as the base of almost every outfit. They are generally versatile for many occasions and easy to remix and wear in different ways. Everyone’s essentials are going to be different depending on style, job, budget and age among other things so this list is more of a suggestion than hard and fast rules. For example, someone with an office job five days a week might value a good blazer over a military jacket as it’s much more appropriate for the workplace. Everyone is unique when it comes to personal style and wardrobe choices so adjust as needed. So without further ado, let’s bring out those sweaters and get into my autumn wardrobe essentials.

My 20 Autumn Wardrobe Essentials:

1. Basic Long Sleeve T-shirt

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Long Sleeve Tees

Much the same as a basic tee in the summertime, the long sleeve t-shirt is an essential piece in the colder weather. Neutral colours are a good bet for pairing with any statement pieces you may own. A striped shirt is another good option. Stripes in neutral colours can go with just about the same things your plain shirts go with (even some patterns) but they add a little more interest to the outfit.

Long sleeve basic tees come in various necklines according to your preference, scoop neck, v-neck, crew neck, boat neck and even button up like the one on the far right. Keep in mind what you will be pairing this shirt with when considering neckline. A higher neckline will cover more skin and keep you warmer but it might look odd paired under some of your other tops or sweaters.

Another thing to consider is your fit. Slim fitting shirts are great for layering under things but if you prefer a looser fit, that can work too. When taking fit into consideration, don’t forget the length of the shirt and the sleeves. Nothing is more frustrating than having to continuously pull your shirt down because cold air is getting access to your midriff. In colder weather, a long line tee is an important feature that shouldn’t be underestimated in your autumn wardrobe essentials.

While cotton is a favourite fabric for t-shirt’s in summer, it’s something you should stay away from in your winter wear. It’s effectiveness in moving heat away from your body, especially if it gets a little wet with sweat, backfires on you in the cold. Instead you want materials that move moisture away from your body. When you move around a lot, even in cold temperatures, you’re likely to sweat. That moisture is just the worst if you don’t have materials that can deal with it.

So what is the best material? The answer is wool. Wool does a great job of moving moisture away from your skin and amazingly keeps you somewhat warm even when it is soaked with sweat.  If you are envisioning itchy sweaters that shrink in the wash when I mention wool, no need to worry. Merino Wool can be worn directly against your skin without any irritation. It even resists shrinking.


2. Jeans

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Jeans

Jeans are a wardrobe staple pretty much all year round but when the temperature starts to dip, they really come into their element! Whatever your preference, skinny, flares, mom or boyfriend jeans, there is something that’s perfect for you. The standard denim blue is great because it goes with everything but don’t be limited. Black, white, beige and grey jeans are other great colours to maximize wear in your wardrobe. If you are a little more daring, there are jeans in all colours of the rainbow and in just as many patterns. The most important thing is to find the right fit for you!


3. Chambray Shirt

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Chambray Shirts

Chambray shirts are essentially like jeans but for your top half. Darker washes generally mesh well with the darker colours that become popular in the fall but light washes can add some lift to an otherwise dark colour palette. Chambray shirts also come in greys which could be a great choice as well. When the weather isn’t quite that cold yet, use them as an outer-layer over your singlet tops until autumn has truly taken hold, then you can layer them under a sweater.


4. Flannel Shirt

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Flannel Shirt

Flannel shirts are most often associated with lumberjacks but there really is so much more to them than that. While the red and black checkered print is the most widely known, they come in all sorts of different colours. I’m particularly fond of the black and white plaid prints. Just as with the chambray shirt, they are versatile because they can be worn as is, unbuttoned over another top as an outerwear piece or layered underneath a dress or sweater. Just Pinterest flannel shirt outfits and you will see their styling potential. The flannel material is great for keeping you toasty warm too.


5. Turtleneck

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Turtlenecks

There is just something so chic about a turtleneck, don’t you think? Choose between fitted or flared out at the bottom or even batwing in any colour you can think of. The high neckline looks great paired with statement or sweater chain necklaces without having to deal with the cold metal directly on your skin. They keep the cold air from getting in at your neck too. Experiment by layering them underneath other tops or dresses for a seamlessly warm and sophisticated look.


6. Leggings

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Leggings

Ah leggings! They are just so adaptable all year round but for the colder weather you can get ones made with a thicker material. They are all soft and fuzzy on the inside. Yay for comfort and style! Black is definitely the most versatile colour but don’t be afraid to grab a patterned pair if they float your boat.  Faux leather look leggings are great for cool weather as well as they can help keep the wind out. If you do plan on wearing them as full on pants without a dress or long top layered over them, then please do the bend over butt test to make sure they are not see through! Head on over to my how to style leggings post for ideas on how to wear them.


7. Denim Jacket

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Denim Jackets

Denim jackets are a wardrobe staple for spring and autumn alike! Oversized jackets are still very trendy right now but the good old cropped jacket is a classic. Distressed jackets are great if you are digging a more casual look but if you want to wear these in a more polished way steer clear of all the tearing. Similarly, the lighter wash denim has a more casual feel whereas the dark wash denims look dressier.


8. Leather Jacket

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Leather Jackets

The right leather jacket will go with basically everything you currently own or could possibly ever buy so it’s a great piece to have in your closet. A neutral colour like black, brown or tan will serve you well in terms of wear-ability and is more timeless than their coloured counterparts.

Colour of the hardware is important too. Make sure it doesn’t clash with your jewellery. If you find a jacket with neutral coloured hardware like black, you’ve hit the goldmine, so buy it right now! There are many styles to choose from (Biker, Bomber and even Hooded Jackets) and which you buy greatly depends on your personal style and body shape.

Aside from style, length is another very important aspect to take into consideration. Full length jackets that hit at your hip are best if you plan to mostly wear your jacket with jeans and pants but cropped is more flattering when pairing it with dresses. Don’t discount the lining! You will see glimpses of it from time to time so if it’s in a pattern that clashes with the rest of your wardrobe you might want to pass on that one.

And lastly but definitely not leastly… the fit! It’s better to go for a jacket that is ever-so-slightly too small over one that’s too big, as leather stretches slightly over time. If you are opting for faux leather though, it isn’t as likely to have any give. Ensure you try on your jacket with a thick layer underneath. You’ll want to be able to raise your arms comfortably and the shoulders should look fitted, not baggy.


9. Sweater

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Sweaters

Fall time is commonly referred to as sweater weather for a reason! Sweaters may just have to be my favourite piece to bring out in the autumn! There are just so many cute designs and patterns. Even the most simple cream cable knit sweater just looks so cute when paired with jeans, ankle booties and a blanket scarf or loosely tucked into a skater skirt with knee high socks and doc martens.

Once again woolen materials are best when it comes to providing warmth. Cashmere is particularly well known and luxurious but you have to be willing to look after it properly, otherwise it’s a waste of time and money buying it in the first place.


10. Long Cardigan

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Long Cardigan

Short cardigans work too but I particularly like a long one for the fall. It’s so much nicer to get cosy in when you can wrap it all around you. Once again neutrals are more versatile but don’t discount a lovely dusty pink, oxblood red or even a striped cardigan. Woolen materials are going to be warmest but thinner viscose and polyester versions are great for layering. The teddy cardigan is very in right now and feels like a nice big hug! What more could you want from your autumn wardrobe essentials!


11. Ankle Boots

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Ankle Boots

Ankle booties are at the top of almost everyone’s autumn wardrobe essentials list and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Black, brown, tan or beige, low heel or something a little taller, patent leather or suede… There are so many options that I’m sure you’ll find the perfect pair of boots for you. At the moment, I’m seeing quite a lot of more strappy designs with cutouts on the sides. While these look super cute, they don’t keep your feet as warm if cold air can get in. Where do you draw the line in the balance between fashion versus function?


12. White Sneakers

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - White Sneakers

Even though white sneakers are also on my summer wardrobe essentials list they are no less essential in the fall. The crisp white is a great contrast to all the more dull and muted colours that often accompany the autumn weather. White sneakers and jeans go together like milk and cookies! The white sneaker is a trendy and comfortable autumn wardrobe essential no matter your style preference; converse, plimsoll, slip-ons, athletic kicks, ugly dad sneakers and high top basketball sneakers.


13. Loafers or Oxfords

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Oxfords and Loafers

If you prefer a more polished look than a sneaker can give, then the oxford or loafer is for you. They are super comfortable but are a really classy shoe. You can even get them in heeled versions if you’d prefer. The tan brown and patent black versions are quite popular and there are heaps of outfit inspiration available on Pinterest if you so desire. Dusty pink, teal and oxblood red are great colour choices for fall time as well. The patterns are very cute but a little harder to style. If you are looking for a point of difference that’s not quite as out there as a pattern then the laser cut out pairs might be a good choice for you.


14. Blanket Scarf

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Blanket Scarf

What’s more snugly and cosy than actually wearing a blanket? That’s pretty much what it feels like to wear a blanket scarf but they look a little more stylish! There is many colours to chose from. My favourite are the black and white grid pattern ones as they go with everything!


15. Trench Coat

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Trench Coat

The classic trench coat definitely fits into the autumn wardrobe essentials list! The coat is not too heavy and layers perfectly over all your summer clothing to make them more fall appropriate. Length is one of the biggest things to take into consideration when buying a trench coat. They don’t really have any standard lengths so you need to really go searching to find the best one for you. If you are wearing them with dresses I’d recommend having your coat just slightly longer than the dress. When wearing them with jeans you can get away with having a longer coat.


16. A Military Jacket/ vest

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Military Jacket Vest

Similar to the trench coat in use, the military jacket has a completely different look about it. It has a much more casual vibe and is great for blocking out any cold wind. The olive green they normally come in is a pseudo neutral so will go with every colour in your wardrobe but looks a little more exciting than black in an outfit. A lot of military jackets have a cord around your waist to cinch it in. Make sure that it does actually sit at the smallest part of your waist. I have tried on jackets that cinch too high and it makes for a weirdly proportioned outfit.


17. Midi Skirt

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Midi Skirt

Just because the weather is getting colder doesn’t mean you have to put way all your skirts. Midi skirts are a great length to keep your legs warm while still looking stylish. There are just about as many variations of midi skirts as there are fish in the sea, plain colours, patterns, lighter fabrics and ones in tweed, ones with slits and ones with buttons. Don’t settle for anything less than your perfect skirt.


18. Long Sleeved Dress

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Long Sleeve Dress

I love long sleeve dresses for the fall! They are super comfy and easy to style. I recommend getting one in a pattern and one in a plain colour like olive, emerald, navy or oxblood red. Pair it with knee high or even thigh high socks or boots and a blanket scarf and you have a ridiculously stylish yet warm fall outfit!


19. Knee High Boots

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Knee High Boots

A great way to keep wearing your shorter dresses and skirts into the fall is to invest in a pair of knee high boots. You could even get a thigh high boot if you’re more daring. They do keep your legs warmer. The main styles are classic, slouchy, lace up, cowboy or riding boots. If you have larger calves slouchy might be a better option for you, whereas smaller calves require a bit more structure which the riding boot will give you.

An important element that often gets forgotten when buying boots is the shape of the toe. The toe shape can really change up the whole look of the boot! Pointy toes instantly elongate your leg and look more ladylike and refined whereas a rounded or square cut toe can look more casual.


20. Stockings

Fall Wardrobe Essentials - Stockings


Stockings are great for layering under skirts and dresses to keep your legs warm in the cooler months. I personally really love knee high socks as well but they may not be everyone’s style. Black is definitely the standard for cold weather stockings but navy or a wine coloured stocking could be just the thing to freshen up your outfit. You can also get patterned stockings which can be a fun addition to your outfit too. The cable knit look is my favourite for both stockings and knee high socks.


And Voila! That’s my complete list of autumn wardrobe essentials! Did you agree with them? Which of these items do you have in your wardrobe? Was there any that I missed that are essentials for you? Let me know in the comments below. I’ll be writing a winter wardrobe essentials post next season and that will include even more warm clothing items so stay tuned.

If you found this post helpful why not check out my other wardrobe essentials posts. If you are in the other hemisphere of the world, the summer wardrobe essentials might be more relevant for the moment.