15 Fashion Essentials to Transition from Summer to Fall

15 Fashion Essentials to Transition from Summer to Fall

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).

PHOTO: Cat Aucker, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

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.

Get this look: Nasty Gal Stripe Side of Wrong Turtleneck Sweater ($10), Tripp NYC Vinyl Zip Skirt ($56), PrettyLittleThing Black Platform Cleated Zip Front Ankle Boot ($60)

PHOTO: Lee Ann Jastillana, Emerson College

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)

PHOTO: Kelly Madu, University at Buffalo

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.

Get this look: Valfre London Pinafore Dress ($64), ban.do Ivory Ruffle Turtleneck ($30), Puma x Fenty Clara Lionel Women’s Creeper ($60)

PHOTO: Alexis Kelly, College Fashionista Alum

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)

PHOTO: Madelyn Rosario, Montclair State University

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.

Get this look: Missguided Black Ultimate Faux Leather Biker Jacket ($52), Mango Halter Neck Jumpsuit ($60), Madden Girl Lylah Heeled Mule Sandal ($32)

PHOTO: Edith FelizNew Jersey Institute of Technology

Combat Boots

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?

Get this look: Dr. Martens 1460 Smooth ($140), Dolls Kill Cuddle Buddy Fuzzy Jacket ($40), New Look Crepe Corset ($12), Victoria’s Secret Satin Pant ($20)

PHOTO: Gabby Holloway, Savannah College of Art and Design

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)

PHOTO: Aniyah Morinia, University of Florida

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.

Get this look: Topshop MOTO Fitted Western Denim Jacket ($75), UNIQLO Women Drap Wide Cropped Pants ($30), Michael Kors Willa Satin Slip-on Sneaker ($50), Forever 21 Metal Aviator Sunglasses ($8)

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.

Get this look: Boohoo Oversized Collar Wool Look Coat ($42), Nasty Gal Make it Fair Gingham Pants ($20), Puma Smash V2 L Perf Women’s Sneakers ($55)

PHOTO: Kate HartmanSouthern Methodist University

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.

Get this look: Oh Hey Girl Zip Through Midi Skirt ($51), LF Contrast Sleeve Mock Half Zip Sweatshirt ($89), Zara Two-Toned Ballet Flats ($40)

PHOTO: Flower Direnna, Universidad Argentina de la Empresa

Chunky Sneakers

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.

Get this look: FILA Disruptor II Pink Shoes ($65), H&M Denim Jacket ($20), Lazy Oaf Black Mom Jeans ($72), Chuu Angora Beret ($32)

PHOTO: Chloe Felopulos, Fordham University

A Windbreaker

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.

Get this look: Nike Women’s Woven Jacket ($65), Adidas Active Icons SST Track Pants ($60), Nike Air Force 1 ’07 ($90)

PHOTO: Amanda SmithValencia College

Classic Booties

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.

Get this look: Zara High Heel Leather Ankle Boots with Zipper ($80), Red Hot Chili Peppers Aztec White T-shirt ($30), Free People Clean Wide-Leg Jeans ($70)

PHOTO: Jordyn Wissert, Iowa State University

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.

Get this look: Oh Hey Girl Corset Shirt Dress ($86), ASOS DESIGN Leather Western Tip Waist and Hip Belt ($26), Dr. Denim Nora Light Retro Jeans ($85), Urban Outfitters Emma Glove Boot ($79)

PHOTO: Nabi, Fashion Institute of Technology

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.

Get this look: Miss Selfridge Multi Checked Ruched Sleeve Blazer ($82), Need Supply Co. Flora Print Jumpsuit ($43), Nike Classic Cortez ($70)

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.