Just when we’re starting to get sick of the heat waves and floral print-saturated department stores that come with summertime, Mother Nature gives us fall. She gives us hot apple cider, Halloween movies, and, most importantly, a new wardrobe. With fall comes the opportunity to bust out those cute jackets, hats, and boots the summer heat wouldn’t allow for. While the prospect of (finally) layering and giving your closet a cozy makeover is exciting, forking over the money to do it is not.
Fortunately, the transition from summer to fall style allows us to pull pieces from both seasons, but there are a few staple items you should keep handy this fall. Keep reading for 15 affordable fashion essentials for a smooth summer-to-fall transition (so you can spend more on seasonal coffee and less on a wardrobe update).
A Formfitting Turtleneck
A snug turtleneck tucked into a mini skirt with some punk hardware is easily the sassiest ensemble to keep in your arsenal this fall. Throw on your favorite pair of booties to complete the look.
Subtle Cat-Eye Sunnies
Your grandma’s cat-eyes from the ’50s are all grown up. Wear these sunnies with a simple T-shirt, high-waisted shorts, and white sneakers, but throw on an oversize blazer for a “’90s sitcom romantic interest” vibe. More on that blazer later.
Get this look: Urban Outfitters The Cats Meow Cat-Eye Sunglasses ($16), H&M Jersey Jacket ($35), ASOS Vintage Style Rose and Coin Pendant Multirow Necklace ($16), Adidas Stan Smith Shoes ($75)
A Pinafore Dress
The beauty of the pinafore lies in its versatility. Dress it up for a boss lady look like this community member, or dress it down for a night out with a crop top. Either way, this is one piece you’ll want to keep handy as the seasons change.
A Pleated Midi Skirt
Listen, we love our go-to T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers as much as the next person, but it’s time to switch it up. There’s no better way to whip up a fresh outfit than with a metallic pleated midi skirt. Go ahead, get crazy with your accessories. We know you want to.
Get this look: Avec Les Filles Metallic Pleated Skirt ($59), Topshop Blossom Faux Leather Biker Jacket ($48), J. Crew Bead and Tassel Earrings ($25), Missguided Black Floral Embroidered Western Boots ($27)
A Leather Jacket
If anything’s worth the investment, it’s a nice leather jacket. A black turtleneck, black jeans, and a leather jacket make quite the golden trio, but if you’re still clinging to summer, rock this fall staple with a wide-legged jumpsuit and your favorite pair of mules.
If there’s one shoe that’s never overdone and always on trend, it’s the classic black combat boot. Pair them with funky tights for colder days, or wear it with silk PJ bottoms like this Community Member. Because hey, why not?
A Printed Sweater
Wearing clashing prints is not a fashion don’t, and you can’t convince us otherwise. Mix and match your favorite patterns this fall with printed sweaters. Bonus points if you find a jauntier way to wear it than this Community Member (good luck).
Get this look: ASOS DESIGN Chunky Cardigan in Leopard ($51), Forever 21 Skinny Cat-Eye Sunglasses ($8), Gap High Rise 4″ Gingham Shorts ($32), Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Lift Clean Leather Low Top ($70)
A Denim Jacket
A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Or, a quality denim jacket will provide you with endless outfit combinations during any season. Keep it clean, or jazz it up with flair like enamel pins and patches.
A Camel Coat
Meet the khaki trench’s cozier little sister. When the days get colder, you’ll definitely want this pragmatic pick hanging on your coat rack. Wear it over an all-black outfit for some sophisticated minimalism.
A Straight Midi Skirt
Here’s the next piece you should add to your French girl style repertoire. This skirt’s elegant silhouette is best served with ballet flats, dreamy knitwear, and the best views of Paris.
When Balenciaga unveiled their infamous Triple S Trainers this year, the world seemed split; are they fashion-forward, or do they just look like dad sneakers with a designer logo slapped on the side? Regardless of how you feel about them, chunky sneakers are here to stay. Pair them with a tracksuit and simple jewelry for a sporty look, or opt for denim and a beret if you’re going for something softer.
During a time when athleisure is king, a sturdy windbreaker is a good piece to keep in your mental Rolodex of Sporty Spice outfits. If you’re feeling like deviating from the athletic look, wear it with a long skirt and platform boots for a Harajuku vibe.
We’d like to think that ’60s go-go girls would be proud of our affinity for block heels. Whether your booties have zippers, buckles, clear heels, embellishments, or embroidery, bring your best ankle boot game this fall. Switch the white sneakers out for these beauties next time you reach for your favorite jeans and t-shirt pairing.
A Romantic Blouse
Just because fall is approaching doesn’t mean you need to give up your sweet, summery style. Channel your inner Romeo with a romantic blouse that’s as much frill as it is fierce. Throw a leather jacket over it for a get-up that’s equal parts charm and rock ‘n’ roll.
An Oversize Blazer
Pick up the phone, because we’re calling it: the oversize blazer is going to be your bread and butter this season. From executive realness to collegiate chic to casual streetwear, this jacket really can adapt to any style. Pair it with slacks to wear to your internship, or wear it over a mini dress for a healthy dose of fitted/non-fitted contrast.
Which of these looks will you rock this season? Show off your fall fits on Instagram (and don’t forget to tag @cfashionista).
Opening image by Madison Mitchell.