One of my most popular blog posts each year is my Fall Wardrobe Essentials, so today I’m posting an update for 2022. I republish this post every year around this time, and while our fall wardrobe essentials don’t change a lot from year to year, I like to update it with current links and fresh thoughts.
To be clear, this is different than a fall trends list. Those are the styles, colors, and silhouettes that are popular this season, and you do want to keep those in mind as you re-assess your fall wardrobe essentials.
These are the fall wardrobe pieces and clothing categories that provide the foundation for a functional wardrobe and make it easy to get dressed in the morning.
2022 Fall Wardrobe Essentials
As always, you should take into account your personal style as well as your lifestyle and wardrobe needs when reading a list like this. My wardrobe essentials may not be the same as yours, but this should be a good starting point for most of us.
1. Base Layers
Base layers are the tops you layer under cardigans and jackets, but they can also be worn alone. Think plain t-shirts, white button-up shirts, woven shells, even thin sweaters if you live in a colder climate.
I’ve never owned a white button-up shirt, but I like to have a variety of plain t-shirts in neutral colors for casual wear as well as a few woven shells and camis in solids and prints for church or date nights. I also like to have a good variety of classic crewneck, turtleneck, and v-neck sweaters to wear under my moto jackets when it gets chilly.
2. Transition Tops & Sweaters
These are the stand-alone tops that inject your personal style into your wardrobe. Think lightweight sweaters, graphic tees, blouses with fun sleeves, etc. They usually have more details than your base layers, and they’re interesting enough to wear without a top layer… although they can sometimes double as base layers.
I love thermal tops and cotton sweaters for casual looks and printed blouses for when I want to level up. If you like to be on trend, consider adding a sweater vest to your closet this fall. Henley style necklines on both tops and sweaters are big right now as well.
As far as colors go, neutrals are still on trend, but we’re seeing more color coming into play as well, and of course autumnal colors are always on point at this time of year.
I wear jeans almost daily so I have a variety of styles and washes, but even if you only wear jeans on weekends and the occasional date night, a great fitting pair of jeans is a wardrobe item almost every woman should have in her closet.
Denim styles are in transition right now, so we’re seeing a little bit of everything. Straighter, more relaxed silhouettes are definitely here to stay, and flares are coming in strong this season. I’m seeing a mix of cropped and full-length styles, and mostly medium or light washes, but faded black washes are also big right now.
Read more about the Denim Trends for Fall 2022 and how to wear them.
4. Non-Denim Pants
If you work in a professional environment or just don’t care to wear jeans every day (I can’t imagine!) then you will need a few pairs of pants to mix and match with the tops in your wardrobe.
I always have a pair of basic black trousers in my closet for dressier occasions, and I also like to have a couple pairs of twill cargo pants to mix in from time to time.
5. Top Layers
My favorite part of fall fashion is all the layering options. When the cooler temperatures start to set in, that’s the time to bring out your leather jackets, blazers, denim jackets, and cardigans!
Leather jackets are fun for date nights and for toughening up those feminine blouses and dresses, blazers and cardigans are nice for the office and for throwing on over a tee or tank with your favorite blue jeans on the weekend, and denim jackets and utility jackets are perfect for wearing over dresses and with colored pants and jeans.
Take into account your life and personal style when deciding which styles make the most sense for your wardrobe. I usually stick to the more casual styles because they suit my lifestyle and fashion preferences, but maybe you need blazers and more tailored pieces for the office. I rounded up some of each below.
Fall is when I break out my boots, and ankle boots are still going strong this year. They look great with every style of denim as well as dresses and skirts, but of course styles will vary based on the current trends and your preferences.
Western-inspired styles are having a moment, Chelsea boots and lug soles still look current, and I also like to have at least one dressier style for leveling up my denim for date nights. We’re also seeing the higher shafts coming back, which are perfect for fitting under your straight leg jeans and flares. The nice thing about these is, they work with both cropped and full-length pant styles.
Take your climate and lifestyle into consideration when purchasing fall boots. I love a suede boot, but fall and winter weather can be messy here in Philly, so I make sure to have leather options as well. Also, more and more brands are making weather-proof suede boots, and they’re well worth the investment if you live in an area with messy winter weather.
Sneakers as a fashion item are here to stay, and I love the retro running styles for a change, although I still wear my P448s and my Vejas.
I generally recommend leather sneakers, especially in the winter because they tend to be more weather resistant, but suede and canvas styles can be lighter and cooler on the foot.
Patterns and prints are a fun way to add interest to an outfit, and they are popular right now, but there’s always a place for a classic white leather sneaker.
8. Transition Shoes
When you’re tired of sandals but you aren’t ready to break out the boots, or even as an alternative to sandals and boots, a versatile transition shoe is a life saver. Think loafers, ballet flats, mules, etc.
Ballet flats are actually making a comeback this year, but loafers are still very much on trend, and clogs are also a hot topic this season. We’re seeing everything from chunky lug soles to sleek pointy toes, and the square toe is still around, but it may be on its way out. It seems to pop up every few years, but it never seems to stick around for long.
With so many options, there’s definitely something for everyone. I wrote a whole post about fall 2022 shoe trends if you want more details.
9. Versatile Dress
I’m not much of a dress girl, but I still like to have one or two in my closet for each season. In the fall, I recommend transitional styles that you can wear now with bare legs and open shoes (like the ones I’m wearing above) or booties, and continue wearing with tights and boots (and maybe a layer on top) when the temperatures drop.
Trends at the moment are florals grounded on dark backgrounds, and lots of volume and ruffles, which do absolutely nothing for my hourglass body shape or my classic style. I enjoy following the trends and looking current, but I’m also a firm believer that you should wear what you like and what you feel good in, so I will be sticking to sweater dresses and more tailored silhouettes. I’ll link up a variety of options below.
10. Neutral Handbag
A fabulous handbag for the season is always a great accessory. If you’re going to carry one main handbag all season, I recommend going for a neutral like taupe or cognac. Black is nice to have too, but it can be harsh and isn’t as versatile as a lighter neutral.
Think about your footwear and choose a neutral tone that goes with most of your shoes and boots. I tend to wear a lot of cool colors like grey, plum, burgundy, and blush; so if I could only choose one handbag, I’d go with grey or taupe.
If you gravitate to warmer tones, you may prefer cognac or a warm beige. I like to have some of each, but it’s not necessary to change out your handbags with every outfit to be chic and stylish. To each her own! (If you like to stay current, see my post on Fall 2022 Handbag Trends.)
11. Seasonal Accessories
Finally, don’t forget to update your accessories for the season. In the summertime, like to keep my accessories minimal because it’s so hot, but as the temperatures cool down, I start to bring out my scarves and heavier jewelry.
We aren’t seeing scarves as a fashion accessory trending so much this season, but it’s always appropriate to break out your knit scarves to add to your outerwear when it gets cold outside. Jewelry trends right now are layered looks and link styles, and gold seems to be the primary metal, although I like to have a mix of gold and silver in my wardrobe.
Okay, so that’s a wrap. I hope this post is helpful as you start to fill out your fall wardrobe. HAPPY SHOPPING!!!
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