17 Wardrobe Upgrades Every Woman Needs for Fall, According to Stylists
These style essentials can completely revamp your look in no time.
Finding the thought of donning yet another pair of sweats a less-than-appealing prospect? You're far from alone. As the U.S. continues its reopening and many people head back to the office—or just occasionally pencil in a date night or trip to the store—that means a return to wearing real clothing once again. For those who could use a fashion pick-me-up for fall, investing in a few new items can make you feel more polished and put-together as you emerge from your quarantine cocoon. However, that doesn't mean you need to splurge on a completely new wardrobe to look and feel great. With the help of stylists and fashion experts, we've rounded up the fall fashion essentials every woman needs this year. And if you're planning on hitting the stores in person, This Is the Best Time to Go Shopping, According to the CDC.
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Don't break out those heavy winter boots just yet—this fall, it's all about the ankle bootie.
"Every woman should have an ankle boot because not only are they sleek and stylish, but they are practical for any weather conditions you might encounter and can be dressed up with a trouser suit or down with a pair of jeans," explains celebrity stylist Brittany Diego, who recommends these Jeffrey Campbell booties. And if you need some new looks for your remote work routine, check out these 19 Work From Home Outfits That Will Make You Look So Put Together.
A black turtleneck
Keeping warm and looking stylish can go hand-in-hand. Diego recommends snagging a black turtleneck, like this one from Express, noting its versatility from season to season. "Wear it under a summer dress to make it fall weather appropriate—and for warmth!—or wear it on its own under your favorite coat," she says.
A trench coat
Looking for the ultimate lightweight outfit topper? A trench coat is always a classic, says Diego.
Trench coats, like this one from Bloomingdale's, are on trend for fall because they're "not only stylish, but extremely practical, with deep pockets to hold any extra items and practical fabric that will protect you from harsh weather," says Diego. And for more stylish ways to stay warm, check out The 20 Best Winter Coats for Women.
Adding a little pop of color to your normal makeup routine can refresh your look in a hurry. Carolina Dalfo, a designer at Ralph Lauren, recommends adding some red lipstick into your look to brighten things up.
"Nars' velvet matte lipstick pencil in Cruella has been my go-to for the fall season," says Dalfo. "Besides being the most beautiful shade of red, the formula is amazing and it lasts forever!" And for more ways to upgrade your makeup look, check out these 15 Makeover Essentials You Can Buy from Sephora.
Sure, you may not be willing to wear your pajamas out of the house, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy similar comfort in your choice of outside attire.
"Every woman needs some luxe loungewear in her wardrobe," says personal stylist Samantha Harman. "I'm loving the luxe but fresh vibe of the new collection from Ethereal London." Harman says she particularly loves the line's silk loungewear, like this comfortable and stylish jumpsuit.
Looking to add some edge to your style? This fall is going to be all about leather, says Kimberly West, founder of Kimberly West Styling & PR.
"Leather pieces will be seen on pants, skirts, dresses, coats, and much more," says West. We particularly like this color blocked dress with a faux leather waist, which is currently marked down to just $41. And for more ways to stay stylish when the temperature dips, check out these 20 Fall Dresses You'll Want to Wear All Year.
Even the smallest accents, like the right piece of jewelry, can make over your look in no time. Sustainable fashion consultant Andrea Olmstead, co-founder of the Sustainable Fashion Alliance, says that bright pops of color are key to revamping any outfit.
Olmstead says she particularly loves Anna Monet's ethically-made earrings. "They are bold, unique conversations starters with empowering goddess vibes," she explains.
A fashionable mask
It looks like we're going to be wearing masks for the foreseeable future, so you might as well spring for one that's worth showing off. "Choose some stylish masks that can match some of your stylish ensembles," suggests fashion photographer and art director Michael Freeby. Freeby says he particularly likes Maggie Barry's masks, like this sequined number. And for more stylish ways to stay safe, check out these 8 Celebrity-Approved Masks You Can Buy Now.
Who says comfort and style can't go hand-in-hand? Alex Tran, fashion expert and activewear reviewer at Schmiggy, says that her fall go-to is this pair of Lululemon high-rise leggings.
"These offer the right amount of compression and are super soft," she explains.
A clear handbag
The '90s are back in a big way—and clear accessories are, once again, having a moment. If you're eager to refresh your look this fall, try out a clear handbag, suggests designer Margo Paige.
"Over the last few years, handbag regulations at events across the globe have been present…and with COVID, [a clear bag] helps with distancing when entering a venue," explains Paige.
Bare legs may essential to beat the summer heat, but come fall, tights will be back in a big way.
"Pantyhose and tights make outfits look more polished," says Freeby. These tights have tons of five-star reviews and are sure to make any outfit look more elegant—but they'll set you back just $12.
Want to make any outfit look more sophisticated in seconds? Throw on a necklace with pearls, says Freeby. "I'm all about that Royal Family/Princess Diana look," he says.
However, just because you're opting for a more prim and proper style doesn't mean your choice of accessory has to look stuffy. This necklace, for instance, is a playful take on a time-honored trend.
For those days when it's not quite cold enough to wear a coat, but too chilly for just a sweater, what should you wear? "Every woman should have a poncho in her fall wardrobe!" says Melissa Erickson, owner and stylist for MH Style Consulting. Erickson suggests trying out a few different shapes to see which one suits you best, and opting for a slimmer pant if you're going for an oversized look on top.
She recommends this H&M poncho in particular, which pairs perfectly with everything from skinny jeans to your favorite little black dress.
Those slippers you've been wearing for months don't exactly scream professionalism. If you want to up your style game, try a stylish flat instead. "Flats are great for fall, but they are also a good investment because you'll wear them three or four seasons out of the year," says Carla Irvin, co-owner of Plum Bottom. Irvin recommends these studded leather and leopard flats in particular—they're perfect for adding some serious style to any otherwise basic outfit.
The Spice Girls aren't the only ones who think platform sneakers are a must-have—stylists are seeing the trend return this fall, as well. "Platform sneakers will be back with a vengeance!" says stylist Lana Blanc, founder of The Blanc House.
This black pair is work-appropriate, but still a little edgy—and has a budget-friendly price, to boot.
If you're feeling a bit daring, there's one easy way to channel your wild side this fall: add some cutout clothing to your look.
"What I love most about this trend is the ease at which you can interpret it to make it your own—show as little or as much as you want," says Blanc. This dress from ASOS, for example, shows just a hint of skin.
A gold chain
Want to add some glitz to your look without going overboard? Kristina Petrick, creative and marketing director for Day in My Dreams, recommends donning a gold chain to make any outfit sparkle.
"It will match everything you already own, and adds a hint of glamour without extra effort," she explains.