6 Fall Style Essentials

It took fall a little longer to get here this year and I am so glad the cooler weather is finally here. For now. I’m more than ready to dig out my sweaters and figure out what styles will carry me through the season.

This long transition into a cooler season forced me to think about what wardrobe staples look like fall, even when it’s still 85 degrees outside—so this list includes more than just chunky sweaters and warm scarves.

These are a handful of my favorite fall style staples; I’m looking forward to hearing yours in comments.

Draper James // J. Crew // Target

Denim and chambray

The chambray shirt has been one of my closet staples for decades, but right now chambray and its cousin denim are showing up in stores (and in my closet) in ways beyond the usual. (If you come see me in person this fall, you’re probably gonna see this dress.)

J. Crew // Nordstrom Rack // Anthropologie

Jewel tones

Jewel tones—those rich colors like burgundy, eggplant, turquoise, and emerald green—are an excellent way to lend a fall feel and a pop of color to an otherwise ordinary outfit—whether you’re rocking a cozy sweater, a simple tee, a handbag, or a pair of flats.

Sofft // Toms // Essex Lane


Even when it’s warm out, a cute pair of boots makes an outfit feel like autumn. (Would somebody please grab a pair of these Wyoming boots and wear them on my behalf? I adore them but they don’t make them big enough for my enormous feet!)

Paige // J. Crew Factory // Anthropologie


In warm weather I often carry a jacket to defend against aggressive air conditioning, but when temperatures finally drop the real layering fun begins. I love the soft Paige jean jacket pictured above, and if you want to double up on your fall trends, check out the deep garnet and academic green shades of that sweater blazer pictured above.

Target // Madewell // Nordstrom Rack

Cozy sweaters

I always look forward to sweater weather. I might wrap up in an oversized cardigan or layer on a pullover to stay warm on an evening walk. Sweaters are a fall essential for a reason and there are so many great styles to choose from.

J. Crew Factory // Tieks // Old Navy

Leopard print

Leopard is everywhere this fall and I am here for it: the question I’ve been asking is, how much is too much? This year you can find everything from casual sweatshirts to dressy dresses in this season’s hot print.

What are your go-to fall style essentials? Tell us all about them in comments!

P.S. 8 investment pieces actually worth my investment, and the rule of three for looking put together.

6 Fall Style Essentials


Leave A Comment
    • Susan says:

      Agree wholeheartedly! Don’t think one can have too many animal print essentials. I have sandals, flats, a 3/4 sleeve top, and a scarf. But, I have my eye on a down vest and a pair of sneakers.

  1. Sue says:

    Speaking of sweater weather in Kentucky, I’m hoping to visit Kentucky next year, and I’m wondering what the temps are like in April. Is it pretty then? It’s dreary in Maine, not yet spring. But I want to avoid blistering hot!

    • d says:

      You probably will avoid the blistering temps that come to KY in July and August. I have been in Kentucky in April six years and they have everything from gorgeous 70-something to 50’s and rainy, so you’re going to take your chances. Also keep in mind that Derby season is the last two weeks of April so if you’re going anywhere near Louisville expect more tourists and festival activities.

  2. ellen says:

    My latest obsession: anything allbirds.com- (sneakers, slides, etc.)
    They are eco-friendly, washable and so cool/warm cozy.

    • April Cunningham says:

      Start with an accessory. I was afraid for years but have tried animal print shoes (just slip-ons, similar to the Tieks pictured above) and feel like I can do that. I agree that any clothing item (shirt, pants, dress) makes me feel like I’m trying to draw attention to myself.

    • Rachel says:

      I always felt the same way, but I just got the spotted (leopard) Rothy’s flats, and they work just like a neutral! I think accessories are the perfect way to start.

  3. Christine says:

    I life in Wyoming, so as far as the weather you just never know what you might need. I went to a pumpkin patch the other day, and I grabbed a jean jacket, a down vest, and my winter coat. Ha, I didn’t end up needing any of them, it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I would also like to add a good pair of long underwear (CuddleDuds are my favorite ) to the list.

  4. Sara Breeggemann says:

    Yes to all of these! I have that sweater blazer from J. Crew & LOVE it!! I’m also a big fan of necklaces. Long or short, they just MAKE an outfit.

  5. Lisa F. says:

    Corduroy! Whether my pants or blazers (not worn together!), I love the warm textures and colors. Also, socks–knee length or crew length, fair isle or donegal, striped or plaid–I gotta have my warm, colorful socks to wear with my warm, colorful sweaters!

  6. Lisa says:

    Leopard paint just makes everything and anything look snazzier. (No, I’m not an 85 year old woman) Snazzy was the first word that popped in my brain. 😍

  7. Jaye says:

    I bought a lightweight leopard print open draped cardigan and have already worn it over a dozen times. With dark denim straight leg jeans, a black t-shirt and black Sr. Scholl’s booties or with dark denim jeans, gray 3/4 sleeve crew neck tee and gray slim-line Nike’s and today over a 3/4 sleeve, a-line, black cotton knit, scoop neck midi dress with dark taupe suede booties. I almost always alternate between two handmade long pendant necklaces along with a long strand of small beads, either dark or light. On my wrist, almost daily is a multi-strand beaded bracelet with interchangeable gemstone centers. Our daughter is an accomplished jewelry designer/artist, I trust her ideas on what looks best. The fewer decisions I have to make, the better and keeping my outfits as simple as possible is a must for me. I’m 5’2″ and 104 lbs., I look overwhelmed if I wear too many colors, prints or oversized clothing.

  8. Lori East says:

    I am all in for animal prints but please, just one at a time. Anything more verges on too…too. well, of course, if it makes you happy, then wear them however you like. Also, denim and chambray shirts? They are my faves year-round, they carry so much possibility! And sweater season is wonderful. I am a knitter so anything I’ve knit myself makes me happy. Once I taught myself to knit while I read, I have to work hard to not stay plopped in a chair all day.

  9. Nancy in WA says:

    For me, scarves are a necessity (though I like them in all seasons). But in the Fall I get to indulge in the cuddly warmth around my neck. Since this post is specifically about LOOKING like autumn when it’s still warm out, scarves work for that as well.

  10. Amy LeBlanc says:

    I just started a small shop for book lovers and I have leather earrings with book pendants. I have leopard (because I also wanted just a touch of it) and a design called cozy sweater because that’s what it reminds me of! I have loved your blog for years and appreciate your reviews! You have led me to many of my now favorite books!

  11. Amy C says:

    I’m all about jewel tones. That look great against my fair skin and red hair. But a great pair of booties is my go to. Living in Colorado means we have 6 months of cold weather so I’m usually wearing my heavy coat most days. You can’t even see my cute sweater! But everyone can see my cute booties!!!

  12. Donna Duvall says:

    You’re awesome!
    Going to buy your book! The last one first and then the others!!🤗🤷🏻‍♀️
    Haven’t this far due to Covid and now 2 hurricanes. It’s time to make that purchase. Thank you for your lovely style and modernmrsdarcy.
    After later all we should go to some great eating reading and wine place. Thank you Anne.

  13. Heather says:

    I love animal prints and I also have a chambray dress I love from J Crew. The one from Draper James is super cute though! Makes me think I need another one!!! I do need to bring out my fall/winter seasonal box and find all my booties. It is time!!!

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