Fall and Back to School (or La Rentree as the French chicly call it) are around the corner, so it’s time to make your hit list of what you need to transition into cooler weather. I love lists, and they are an important step I use to help women edit their wardrobes. Because fall/winter clothes are generally bigger investments than their warm weather counterparts, the exercise is even more relevant. Basics first. You can expand and go off on tangents later–say a shearling coat or that extra pair of boots, but knowing what you want for your core wardrobe is the best place to start. Once you have your list, see what you already have that works, and what you need that you don’t have. Then you can start to be strategic about filling in the holes. I am guessing that no one who reads this needs every item listed. Maybe you need a refresh here and there. I will dive into these items in more depth as the season kicks in and more options are available. Here, my Fall Transition Essential List.
- A BLAZER
I live in blazers in the fall so one isn’t enough for me. I have many in black and one brown check from Nili Lotan I bought last year (it’s a silhouette she repeats). To me a brown blazer really says fall.
I bought a similar pair of flared Nili Lotan jeans like the ones above last fall; I like them because they feel dressier and are so good with a boot that has a chunky heel. I have four jean styles that I rely on in fall–this flared version, a skinnier pair I can tuck knee-high boots into, classic vintage Levi 501s and then another simple pair in black.
3. A BUTTON-DOWN SHIRT
I wear button-down shirts all year, but they get just as much or more use in the fall, worn under blazers, layered with turtlenecks, etc.
4. A REALLY GOOD CASHMERE SWEATER
I collect sweaters in the sense that I buy one or two each season that are usually the best I can afford and are classic enough in style they will last a long time, but also modern enough to give an update to what I’m wearing. I think Khaite cashmere is quite good, and equally expensive, but these are hand-me-down sweaters that should last for decades.
5. PLEATED TROUSERS
This is actually the game-changer in my wardrobe this season. I haven’t worn pants in ages, but I really like the idea of a pleated, fluid menswear style pant for everyday and even at night with simple heels. I got lucky and bought a couple of pair of The Row Avril pants on sale (there are a few left here) from Spring that will work well (I had to have them tailored a bit). I will definitely do a bigger search on these in more price points as they come in and share.
My dream loafers are these Hermes version, but there are so many versions out there including those with a chunkier heel. And sure, boots are a thing come fall, but a loafer is an immediate wear.
7. A TRENCH COAT
A trench is my favorite transition coat for Summer to Fall and Winter to Spring. I say go super classic on this front, like this Nili Lotan.
8. A LAYERING TURTLENECK
A super lightweight turtleneck is great becasue you can layer it–under the button-down shirt or your sweater, or wear it solo with pleated trousers and a trench. This is also something where you can go luxe, like the FDL version above, or inexpensive like J. Crew’s tissue turtleneck. I have both.
Not sure this one needs further explanation, but we all need a runaround shoe.
10. A TRANSITION DRESS
Whether is a cotton print like the dress above, or a silk slip dress, it’s great to have one piece you can dress up or down and layer up if it’s a bit chilly.
11. A CARRY EVERYWHERE BAG ** Bonus extra because….
I am not sure I am buying a Fall bag, frankly there are not a lot that I like right now. But oddly, I am very into this Vuitton classic Monogram pochette because it’s medium in size so it fits enough and I like having a handle and shoulder strap option, plus it goes with everything and is rather indestructible. (I do want a clutch like this from The Row, because I’m lacking in that area.)
Beautiful selection Jennifer, thank you! I can’t wait for crisp weather here in NYC.
I also wonder if you or your readers have suggestions for coats (not a down puffer) that are warm, beautiful and can fit a thick cashmere sweater underneath without looking like a stuffed sausage. This kind of outerwear has been elusive for sometime now but is on my wishlist.
Actually I do have a recommendation, I would choose a belted style like the robe coat from Toteme, which also comes in black. I have a similar style from Acne that is a couple of years old, but sadly I don’t think they make it anymore.
Many thanks Jennifer for the recommendation!
Heidi Wynne says
Perfect choices, as usual. I can’t believe fall is just around the corner, however this post has me looking forward to the new season! Thank you!! xoxo
Hi there-I was wondering what skinny jeans you like? Thanks!
Hmmm. I need to do some research in that area, because I’ve had mine for a few years (don’t wear them often). Though off the top of my head, I would say maybe Nili Lotan.
Lisa Mac says
I’ve seen several IG posts on fall transition pieces but none as both classic and inspiring as this one. The Row Randa pant is in my cart – I’ve been coveting a pair of grey flannel menswear slouchy Gentlewoman’s trousers and I suspect these will be perfect. Thank you for the combination of inspiration and FOCUS.
Love all your choices – so beautiful and timeless. I bought a vintage LV bag about 5 years ago, I don’t know the style, but wear it crossbody all year long, but especially Fall/Winter. The leather has a great patina and it just looks very cool with sweaters and jeans. Highly recommend the bag above or a vintage one.
Alex Black says
For a coat, I would suggest Harris Wharf London.
Alex Black says
Another wonderful edit. Love reading your prose too. A very satisfying newsletter!
Karin S says
these are all classics & though I love the cashmere sweater, I think it’s a little heavy for the Pacific NW climate. I’m always on the search for thin cashmere if you have any recommendations. I have an old Etro cardigan that’s the perfect weight & would like to find another less pricey option. Harris Wharf makes great coats at affordable price points & usually do some fun colours or prints so they suit a wide variety of Buyers.
Thank you for a very helpful post on transitional pieces…love, love, love the pleated trousers, but prefer ones with belt loops…(like in your photo)…any suggestions?
I’m really interested in slouchy pleated trousers. I am very short-waisted so I’m looking for lower-rise versions. Would love you to include some in your pleated pant deep dive:)
Jennifer, I love those grey trousers and have been in search of something similar. Why are items like this so hard to find? You said to have them tailored. In what what? Are the bottoms not finished?
I had to have the waists taken in a bit and then hemmed. More options coming soon at many price points.