Fall Wardrobe Essentials

One of my most popular blog posts each year is my Fall Wardrobe Essentials, so today I’m posting an update for 2018 in preparation for my fall fashion series that launches in just a couple of weeks!

2018 Fall Wardrobe Essentials including product picks at various price points! #fallfashion

When putting together a list like this, I always hesitate to use words like “essentials” and “must-haves” because each woman is different and has different wardrobe needs. My best advice is to take this list with a grain of salt — consider your climate, lifestyle, and personal style aesthetic when determining what you actually NEED to add to your closet.

Okay, let’s get started! Here’s my list of 9 wardrobe essentials I think most women should have in their closets this fall season. As always, when you shop through my links, it helps support my business (at no additional cost to you) so thank you!

2018 Fall Wardrobe Essentials

Let’s start with shoes. After all, we have to wear some type of shoe pretty much every day!

1. Ankle Boots

Ankle boots are still hot this year, although we’re seeing some new silhouettes. Sock booties are popular, and you will be seeing a lot of white and off-white shades as well as other neutrals. There are plenty of more traditional styles still around as well, but I’m going to try to experiment with some different looks this fall.

Ankle boots range from casual to dressy and everything in between, and then there are various shaft heights, which you will style differently depending on the length of your pants or style of skirt/dress, so there are a lot of factors to consider when building a shoe wardrobe. You’ll also want to take your climate into account when purchasing fall boots.

Fall and winter weather can be messy here in Philly, so while suede is definitely trending, I like to have some leather shoe options as well. Also, some brands such as Blondo and Aquatalia make weather-proof suede and leather booties, and they are well worth the investment if you live in an area with messy winter weather.

Pair your ankle boots with everything from dresses and skirts to ankle-length skinnies and cropped flares, but it does take some practice to figure out what works best together. See my post, How to Wear Ankle Boots if you need some guidance. I hope to update that post soon!

SHOP ANKLE BOOTS: (Use the arrow to scroll to see more styles; more colors are available than what is shown.)

2. Tall Boots

classic riding boot will never go out of style, but over-the-knee-boots are fun and modern and a little more trendy at the moment, although I’m seeing the pendulum swing back towards the middle; there were a lot of knee-high boots in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I added this pair of black suede knee-high boots to my closet when they were on sale last month, and I’m excited to bring back my caramel suede knee high boots from last year.

Also, don’t forget rain boots! While I tend to think of rain boots as a spring shoe, I wear mine a lot in the fall too.

Within each of those categories, as with ankle boots, there are different shaft heights and heel heights and a myriad of styles to choose from. Here are some of my favorites.

SHOP TALL BOOTS: (Use the arrow to scroll to see more styles; more colors are available than what is shown.)

3. Ballet Flats or Loafers

When you’re tired of wearing sandals but it’s still too hot for boots, ballet flats or loafers are the perfect shoes to transition you from summer to fall. I’ve never been much of a loafer girl, but right now slide loafers are trending and I like this modern take on the classic.

These Ugg loafers went bonkers during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale last month, and although they’re selling out, there are lots of similar styles out there; this Born driving loafer is a great option. This Me Too loafer is a bit more feminine than some, and the comfort is bar none.

When it comes to ballet flats, I have two tried and true favorites — the Tory Burch Minnie Travel Flats and the Sam Edelman Felicia Flats. I own multiples of both. They both come in a variety of great colors and even some prints. Neither are cheap, but I am willing to pay a little bit more when it comes to good quality leather shoes. Both of these styles are super comfortable and very durable. That said, you can certainly find adorable ballet flats at more budget-friendly prices. Payless has a comfort line that is really good, and Target always has a great shoe selection.

As far as color goes, neutrals are still popular, but blush is edging out the metallic trend that was hot for a while, and don’t forget about leopard!

SHOP LOAFERS & BALLET FLATS: (Use the arrow to scroll to see more styles; more colors are available than what is shown.)

Miscellaneous Mentions: There are other shoe styles I didn’t include that you probably want to have in your closet for fall, like fashion sneakers, a classic pair of pumps, and maybe even suede wedge sandals or mules (if you live in a warmer climate) but those are styles that most of us keep in our closet all year ’round, and the length of this post is reaching epic proportions so let’s move on to the clothing basics we need for fall.

Clothing Basics for Fall

4. Denim

Denim trends are in transition this fall, and I’m seeing a little bit of everything. Skinny jeans still reign, but they’re getting some competition from the return of flares and bootcut styles. High waisted jeans are definitely making a comeback, and cropped straight and cropped flared styles are probably the most fashion-forward silhouette. I’m not seeing as much all-over distressing as we’ve seen in recent years, but the busted-out knees are popular among the younger set.

The good news is, basically anything goes. Wear what looks best on you, and experiment with the newer trendy styles with caution. Once we reach a certain age, it’s best to take each trend on a case by case basis. There is no age at which one must stop wearing a certain style, but take into account your lifestyle, your personal style aesthetic, and your body type, and decide if it works for you or not. There’s nothing wrong with sitting out certain trends and partaking in others. In fact, that’s the best to be.


5. Sweaters

Cozy sweaters are one of my favorite things about fall, and I recommending having a mix of pullovers and cardigans. This year, I’m seeing a lot of both. Trends in pullovers are cropped and boxy fits, blouson sleeves, and slouchy looks. Cardigans are also oversized and slouchy, but I recommend looking for more slenderizing fits.


I’ve tried to link to a variety of retailers for this post, but most don’t have fall sweaters in stock yet so all of these are from Nordstrom. I was still able to find a variety of price points tho!

6. Lightweight Jackets

If you live in an area with a distinct fall season, a lightweight jacket to throw on over your t-shirts and sweaters is pretty much an essential. I love a good quilted jacket for fall, and an anorak or rain jacket is nice to have. Leather jackets and utility jackets are great outfit makers. I actually have one of all of the above!

Make sure to take into account your lifestyle and the climate in which you live when making jacket purchases, and you may want to take a look at my newly updated Fall Jacket Guide for more suggestions!


7. Layering Tees

2017 Fall Wardrobe Essential: Layering Tees

Of course you’ll need something to layer under your cardigans and jackets, so I recommend having a couple of basic t-shirts in your closet. I keep my short sleeved tees in my closet all year ’round, and I have a few long sleeved ones as well for when it gets colder.


8. Dresses

Florals are all the rage with dresses this fall, and midi lengths are trending, but you can still find fit-and-flare and sheath styles if you look hard enough. Jumpsuits are also a big trend this summer that is carrying over into fall.

Pair your dresses with slides or sock booties for an updated look, or if you’re like me, you’ll probably stick to pumps and wedges, and that’s okay too.


9. Neutral Handbag

3 Handbags Every Woman Needs: Leather Tote

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. Think about your footwear and choose a neutral that goes with most of your shoes and boots. Do you tend to buy browns or greys? I like to have one of each, personally, but if you usually gravitate one way or the other, you can easily find a handbag that will work with everything you have.


Okay, so that’s a wrap. I hope this post is helpful as you start to fill out your fall wardrobe.


Did you like this post?

Subscribe to get updates in your email inbox! You can also connect with me on Instagram and Facebook.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my About Page: Blog Monetization and Disclosure.