I’ve had a major glow-up over the years. Partly because I learned how to simultaneously tame and show off my thick curls, but mostly because I’ve honed my style. And as we shift into the colder months, you can bet I’m taking this skill into curating my autumnal closet—and all the best fall basics I’ll have on rotation from now until spring.
Obsessing over my style board on Pinterest has been a huge source of inspiration in my sartorial shifts. But trust me: it’s serious work (wink). I have a monthly practice where I audit and delete images that no longer inspire me, import new looks from my Instagram saved folder (pro tip), and even have a widget that refreshes every hour with another favorite look. I take my style seriously.
Doing this consistently over the last couple of years has not only helped me figure out and evolve my personal style but it’s allowed me to create a very efficient shopping list. It’s simple—all you have to do is gather your favorite inspiration images, put on a fun playlist, and recreate as many looks as you can using only your current fall wardrobe. And believe me, that’s where the tried-and-true, best fall basics come in handy.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
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The Best Fall Basics to Wear This Season
Go through this process once, and you’ll quickly realize that you need to track down the perfect sweater, jacket, or pair of boots to take your wardrobe to the next level. With this method, I’ve transformed my closet from an uninspired collage of trends to a collection full of fall basics and neutral colors that I can endlessly mix and match.
But know this: The perfect closet doesn’t have to be a rigid capsule wardrobe. However, it does have to withstand trends and reflect who you are. With that in mind, keep scrolling for the best fall basics and essentials our editors swear by—this season and the next!
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2 of 30Image by Michelle Nash
This coat makes all my effortless French girl dreams come true. In this neutral color, it will layer just as easily over a t-shirt and jeans as on any other fall outfit. Obsessed.
Did you get the memo? Cardigans are out and blazers are IN. I’ve seen so many classic blazers ranging from the perfect plaid to classic neutrals. This one is the perfect mix.
Nothing says fall quite like a good head-to-toe denim look. I am particularly partial to this Reformation number because it can go from day to night in a snap. It’s all in the accessories. Swap out your work bag for a smaller satchel, add a fun earring, and keep your heeled boots. This dress is the perfect length for any occasion.
Not only do jumpsuits automatically make you look put together, but they take all the effort out of planning an outfit. Perfect for work, lunch, or a wine night by the fire, this short-sleeved denim jumpsuit will easily become your go-to. I love mixing my jumpsuit with the fall trend du jour: ballet flats. But if I’m feeling like something more timeless, heeled boots make for a casual, yet chic seasonal look.
Nap dresses are forever, but we love the simple, streamlined ease of a slip dress. The good news is that you can take it with you from season to season. While in the summer we paired this dress with sandals, in the fall, we like to layer up with tights, a cozy sweater, lug sole boots, and a scarf to top things off.
This dress is the perfect mix of flattering and fitted while also being unbelievably comfy. Throw on a pair of statement earrings and you’re all set—this is a one-and-done sort of outfit.
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Every timeless wardrobe needs a good leather jacket. And while many real-deal picks will set you back hundreds in price, this affordable option looks even better. We love the laidback appeal that’s nonetheless undeniably ***. Consider this your ticket to cool girl fall.
Maxi skirts are everywhere this season, but luckily, they’ll never go out of style. While this is on the expensive side, the investment is worth it. The timeless structure and quality design ensure you’ll be wearing it for years to come. It can be styled in endless ways, and worn just as easily to the office as for a date night out. — Isabelle, Managing Editor
4 of 30Image by Emma Bassill
I envision cozying up in this cardigan with a full monochromatic look, head to toe. It’s relaxed while still feeling chic, and can look cozy, classy, or *** depending on how you style it. (Bonus: You’ll reach for it whenever you need an extra layer of comfort when working from home.)
Admittedly, these retro pants are slightly outside of my comfort zone. But rest assured, they are so versatile and equally chic. They pair beautifully with boots, heeled mules, and white sneakers. They’re also the perfect accouterment to your fave long-sleeve (or perfect t-shirt) and cozy vest.
Trousers have become one of my favorite wardrobe pieces. They always look chic and are easy to dress up for a night out or a casual look with sneakers and a tee. I have this pair in both colors and they always get compliments.
It took me a while to realize that yes, anyone can truly pull off leather pants. These look stunning paired with a t-shirt to run errands, a black body suit to go out, and a button-down for work.
5 of 30Image by Michelle Nash
A wardrobe essential. Don’t take my word for it, buy it now and thank me later. This tee has the perfect scoop neck and material that’s light and cozy without being fully transparent. (Which, let’s admit, is the worst quality in a white t-shirt.) Size up for a looser fit.
This perfect crewneck bodysuit gives me 90s supermodel vibes in the best possible way. It’s soft, and stretchy, and creates the sleekest silhouette under blazers or on its own with vintage jeans.
Far too often, the sweatpants in our drawer are stretched out and ill-fitting—what we reach for when we really don’t care about looking pulled together. But I believe that every fall wardrobe in 2023 should have a perfectly cut pair of sweatpants that can go from workout class to lunch date paired with a trench and cool sneakers. These are super soft and will make you feel sporty on even your laziest day.
This is the perfect mini skirt that pairs just as well with a chunky oversized sweater as with a basic tee. While this classic black mini is trending, I also think this is one of those essential wardrobe staples that you can wear through most seasons, while still looking timeless.
When the temperatures begin to dip, I start to crave chunky woven knits. But even during the coziest season of the year, I like to keep my looks streamlined. This is the perfect, affordable sweater that won’t pill and the softness lasts forever. You’ll want one in every color.
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These are my favorite pair of boots because they’re both stylish and actually comfortable to walk in. I love that they button up almost any look and pair as perfectly with cuffed jeans as they do with cozy socks over leggings. An instant fall fave.
The cowboy obsession continues. While it may seem like a niche trend, I’ve discovered that cowboy boots pair with all of the best fall basics. From my long, flowy dresses to denim skirts to cozy cords, this pair is the perfect statement piece that melds function with style. Pro tip: This pair is expensive, but one of the best for authentic cowboy boots you can trust will last for years.
This classic, yet on-trend shoe will last you forever. And while they give any outfit a preppy appeal, they can pair beautifully with just about any style or aesthetic.
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I love that you can dress this wrap up or down and it’s a go-to for travel. Wear as a scarf for a bit of drama or a shawl to keep you warm. There’s nothing like cozy cashmere on your skin in the cooler weather.
If you buy one accessory this season, make it a pair of gold hoops. They look good with anything and can even elevate a simple sweatsuit. The perfect outfit topper.
While this isn’t technically a wardrobe piece, it’s a style hack that I will bring with me into fall. I started slicking my hair back in a bun after being at the beach and feeling too lazy to wash my hair, but now I can’t stop. Something about a slicked-back bun with some fun earrings elevates every outfit—even a turtleneck and jeans. Plus, this wax stick is foolproof for those who need some help in the hair styling department.
This post was originally published on September 29, 2023, and has since been updated.