Check Off These 30 Amazing Fall Essentials

For lovers of fashion, there's no season that offers more reasons to get out of bed and get dressed than fall. Tall boots, velvet, tweed, corduroy, denim,'s all on the menu. And this autumn, there are even more luxe and tactile options to get your creative juices flowing. But stocking a fail-safe fall wardrobe isn't only about getting up to speed with the trends, it's about taking stock of all the stylish staples you already have—and wearing them in a new way. So, what to buy after you've taken those classic pieces to the dry-cleaners for a refresh? We've got your fact, we've got the 30 essentials every woman needs this fall, from a dramatic maxi-coat to a pleated mini, to a set of pearls that turns traditional on its ear. Dig in...dressing up for the back-to-school season has never been so inspiring.
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1. The Thick-Striped Sweater— Drawing on old, amazing J.Crew rubgy stripes, we're loving the passion for thick-striped sweaters this fall. In the chunky knits and cropped cuts, find one you can wear with long skirts and high-waisted jeans alike.
Topshop Knitted Stripe Guernsey Style Jumper, $80, available at Topshop; A.L.P. Striped Cotton Jumper, $250, available at Matches.
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2. The Maxi-Coat—Don't say you're too short to wear're not! A long sweeping coat with a tight cinch at the waist is not only elegant, it’s a practical piece you can wear all autumn long over jeans, a party dress, whatever. And if you are petite, just tailor yours to hit right above your ankle.
Acne Farrah collarless wool coat, $950, available at Net-A-Porter; BB Dakota Dedrick Military Coat, $127, available at Revolve.
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3. The Low Bootie—We can thank Isabel Marant for inaugurating this fall staple last spring, and we still can't get enough. This versatile boot looks equally good with dresses, trousers, shorts, or whatever outfit needs a dressed-down touch of boho-chic.
AEO Side-Zip Bootie, $59.50, available at American Eagle Outfitters; Rachel Comey Calabar Boot, $391, available at Gargyle.
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4. The Polka-Dot Blouse—Our grandmothers knew a thing or two about looking chic at work. And this fall, you can channel that modern secretary vibe with a silky polka-dot blouse. Wearing it more casually, with jeans or slouchy trousers, will prevent you from looking like you're auditioning for Mad Men.
Paul Smith Black Label Polka Dot Blouse, $370, available at Paul Smith; Daniel Rainn Polka Dot Top, $64, available at Piperlime.
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5. The Artful Printed Dress—From retro graphics to futuristic prints, fall's must-have dress boasts bold prints that make a statement with or without sky-high heels and big jewelry.
Anne Klein Women's Floral Haze Belted Fit and Flare Dress, $119, available at Amazon; 3.1 Phillip Lim Embroidery Print Dress, $625, available at La Garconne.
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6. The Midi-Skirt—A potential man-repeller, the midi-skirt is definitely the dark horse of the fall lineup. But despite it's questionable rep, we love the midi with sleek platforms, textured tights, and lots of layering on top. The trick: Make sure yours hits just above or below the widest part of your calf.
River Island Belted Midi Skirt, $54.89, available at ASOS; Raoul Midi Skirt, $185, available at ShopBop.
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7. The Snakeskin Platform Sandal—This fall, don't to grab your preferred snakeskin footwear. This is a print you'll wear for years (maybe decades!) to come. We love a style with a '40s-inspired ankle strap or contrasting tonal shades.
Kitsch Couture Snake Overlast Heels, $57.73, available at Bank; Jimmy Choo Folly suede and snakeskin wedge sandals, $795, available at Net-A-Porter.
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8. The Felt Hat—If you think a '70s-inspired felt hat isn't your thing, think again. A classic style with a wider brim (we love the styles at Madewell) give any fall outfit a little extra oomph (and disguise a bad-hair day to perfection).
Madewell Fulton Felt Hat, $45, available at Madewell; Eugenia Kim Corinna, $280, available at Eugenia Kim.
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9. The Velvet Trousers—No question, velvet is the day-to-night fabric for fall. And thanks to Proenza Schouler's dreamy, swirly trousers, we're making sure we check this one off our list.
Mark & James by Badgley Mischka Velvet Pants, $66, available at Couture Candy; Miu Miu Velvet cropped skinny pants, $595, available at Net-A-Porter.
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10. The Paisley Scarf—We're not saying you should toss your favorite black cashmere scarf, but as summer gently fades to fall, fight the late afternoon chill with a pretty paisley scarf instead. The print will make that perfect fall blazer feel that much more up to date.
Etro Paisley Print Scarf, $238.16, available at Harrods; Talbots Studio Paisley scarf, $69, available at Talbots.
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11. The Loafer—With a chunky heel or flat and academic, autumn is the perfect time to pull out your favorite penny loafers or indulge in a high-heeled pair (perfect worn with that midi-skirt!).
Top Shop Sullivan Moccasin Platform Loafers, $124, available at Top Shop; Ralph Lauren Collection 'Gianna' Platform Loafer Pump, $575, available at Nordstrom.
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12. The Bright Belt—Okay, so we really started out hankering for a neon belt, but decided a simple bright orange, blue, or red belt would do just fine to mix up the layering game and give that old cardi a fresh new look.
Oasis Skinny 60s Belt, $21.95, available at ASOS; Stella McCartney Skinny Belt, $210, available at Kirna Zabete.
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13. The Knee-High Boot—Once again, the '70s vibe is sweeping through our closets, but instead of wearing these cool knee-high staples in the traditional way, why not try them with a long sheer dress or that leather pencil skirt you've been lusting after.
Guess High-Heeled boots, $155, available at Yoox; Pierre Hardy Leather knee boots, $1550, available at Net-A-Porter.
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14. The Pleated Mini-Skirt—Granted, a pleated mini might conjure images of prep school, but this season's version is exceedingly sharp and more elegant, not to mention divine with a pair of heels or those low suede booties.
Oasis Faux-Leather Trim Pleat Skirt, $75, available at Oasis; A.L.C. Pleated Skirt, $418, available at Barneys New York.
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15. Colorful Printed Socks And Tights—Our advice for this one: Play around! Starting at just $8, fun, colorful socks and tights are the perfect way to experiment with an outfit's effects without investing serious cash.
Forever 21 Ribbed Knit Tights, $7.80, available at Forever 21; Marc Jacobs Spotted Knee-High Socks, $125, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
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16. The Neck Bow—We're not packing up our jeweled collars just yet, but we are definitely switching in a wide, long satin scarf to play up our autumn glow (and our accessories routine!).
Oasis Apple Print Silk Square Scarf, $25, available at Oasis; Emilio Pucci Cerchi-Print Square Scarf, $375, available at Neiman Marcus.
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17. Unconventional Pearls—You might have a pair your mom handed down to you, or maybe you're like us and buy them constantly when you spot them at thrift stores. This season, mix and match your pearls for an offbeat effect or layer them with other materials for an edgier nighttime look.
Modcloth Adora-bable necklace, $34.99, available at Modcloth; Dannijo Marley necklace, $595, available at Dannijo.
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18. The Flannel Or Plaid Blazer—Okay, you've probably already got a few of these in your closet. It’s time to pull them out and get ready to wear them in a number of ways; over a long dress, layered over a denim vest, with a fur gilet...the possibilities are endless.
Delia's Plaid Blazer, $49.50, available at Delia's; McQ Alexander McQueen Trompe L'Oeil Waistcoat, $695, available at Ssense.
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19. The '70s cords—'Tis the season to give your favorite denim a rest and rotate in a cozy-chic pair of cords. We love them in a warm shade of honey or rust, but you can definitely take advantage of brighter jewel-tones, too.
James Jeans Play Girl Cord Flare Pant, $172, available at Amazon; J Brand High-Waist Bette Cords, $218, available at Anthropologie.
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20. The Varsity Jacket—A few of us have the grown-up varsity jacket on our must-have list for fall, but if the look isn't quite you, we say try a longer coat with contrasting sleeves, in leather or a bolder color. When paired with slim pants and a high-heeled boot, the look is modern and a little playful.
Member's Only Jacket, Long Sleeve Striped Baseball Jacket, $59.50, available at Macy's; Rugby Henrietta Wool-Blend jacket, $298, available at Rugby.
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21. The Cape or Poncho—Personally, this editor is not a fan of ponchos, but the right one layered over a blazer or long coat—and worn with tights and a good pair of platform boots—can really take a basic, casual look to the next level.
ASOS Premium Multi Stitch Zip Cape, $61.29, available at ASOS; Rugby Hetty Fatigue Cape, $268, available at Rugby.
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22. The Leather Skirt—Whether in mini, pencil, or A-line form, the leather skirt is a sumptuous foundation for layered, fall dressing. Feeling cheeky? Choose one in a bright color.
H&M Skirt, $24.95, available at H&M; McQ Alexander McQueen Black Leather Exposed Zip skirt, $858, available at My Wardrobe.
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23. The Skinny, High-Waisted Denim—If there's any pant that makes you look a zillion feet tall, it's the high-waisted jean. In a substantial rise, a body-hugging fit, and a thick weave, we dare you to find a jean more perfect than these this season.
Gap 1969 Textural high-rise skinny jeans, $69.95, available at Gap; Won Hundred Brigitte High-Waisted, $150, available at Need Supply.
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24. The Colored Bag—The easiest (and, in our opinion, most fun) way of injecting a hearty dose of color into an outfit is with a cheerfully colored bag. Neon, jewel tones, or pastels all work!
Modcloth Never Sing The Blues Bag, $67.99, available at Modcloth; Alexander Wang Rocoo Satchel With Rhodium Hardware, $875, available at Alexander Wang.
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25. The Small Clutch—The dainty evening bag is back again, and in a big way. Think of it as an accessory with utility, and choose one that's anything but "safe!"
Miss Selfridge Ochre Colour Block Clutch, $28.86, available at Miss Selfridge; Reed Krakoff Python envelope clutch, $1390, available at Net-A-Porter.
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26. The Little Red Dress—Even if it's not a Valentino, a red dress is going to be something you'll want to have in your wardrobe. Keep it casual, or go extra glam—either way, keep your LBDs at the back of the closet!
Anthropologie Noon & Night Dress, $158, available at Anthropologie; Alice + Olivia Faux Wrap Drape Dress, $297, available at ShopBop.
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27. The Classic Black Trousers—Stella and Chanel have reignited our love for this simple, sleek separate. Fall's mod theme makes them the perfect foundation for all your '60s whims.
J.Crew New élan trouser in Super 120s, $118, available at J.Crew; Narciso Rodrigues Calvary Twill Pant, $795, available at Barneys New York.
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28. The Camel-Colored Leather Jacket—Black is nice but camel's better! A buttery-soft leather jacket in a neutral hue will quickly become your go-to topper to brave dropping temperatures.
Baguda Leather Jacket, $298, available at Nordstrom; See by Chloe Cropped Leather Jacket, $995, available at Neiman Marcus.
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29. The Printed '60s-Inspired Cardigan—Retro prints look extra-nice when splashed on a cardigan. Wear with a belt and a solid-colored dress for a no-brainer Perfect Outfit.
Top Shop Knitted Jaquard Pattern Cardi, $88, available at Top Shop; Jones New York Long Sleeve, $149, available at Amazon.
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30. The Bold Eye Frame—Give your contacts a break with bold eye frames in retro styles that feel anything but dated. We're loving thick, patterned frames, but colored pairs are just as chic.
Warby Parker Winston, $95, available at Warby Parker; Cutler and Gross Angular Cat Eye-Frame Acetate Optical Glasses, $400, available at Net-A-Porter.