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Forget Christmas—fall is the most exciting shopping time of the year. It’s when the key wardrobe trends finally hit stores. This includes show-stopping outerwear, killer knitwear, elegant, go-to trousers for those all-important meetings. You get the idea. But now with the state of the world turned upside down, shopping in general doesn’t drum up the same enthusiasm. We are, for the most part, going to fewer restaurants, working from home, and bracing ourselves for possibly homeschooling, so what exactly should we invest in for fall? And should we even bother?
When this doubt kicks in, think of how incredible you felt on the days you actually swapped your sweats for real pants or (gasp!) threw on a dress, even to just go on a short walk (mask on, of course). Wearing clothes that make you feel good boosts your mood, and socially distancing during the pandemic doesn’t have to be a joy-free existence. But there’s no doubt that our needs have slightly changed during these anxious times. Instead of shopping trends, consumers want versatile and comfortable clothes that can be worn at home or on the go. There’s a fine balance of being practical and chic. To hit the right note, we asked some of our favorite fashion experts to curate a shopping list of investment-worthy items for our times. Ahead find the timeless staples perfect for Zoom calls, safe visits with friends, or just serving style while on a grocery run.
“There’s something very soothing about fall’s palette of winter whites and creams,” says Saks Fashion Director, Roopal Patel. “Worn monochromatic, winter whites always look polished, effortless, and chic.” This season Patel is loving Isabel Marant’s dramatic ruched-sleeve turtleneck, cut from luxurious virgin wool. Even when thrown over white sweatpants or laid-back jeans it radiates high-voltage glamour.
To Buy: Isabel Marant Gavina Ruched-Sleeve Turtleneck, $695
50 Shades of Beige
“For fall, Beige was the color seen across the runways,” says Patel. Update any of your everyday essentials in the neutral shade for a modern look, or try incorporating some beige accessories for a sophisticated take. “Cognac, clay, or rich chocolate brown handbags and shoes feel luxe and stylish,” she says.
To Buy: Bottega Veneta Medium The Shoulder Pouch Leather Bag, $3,700
“In today’s climate, we’re all looking for ways to feel comfortable and cozy,” says Patel. So it’s only fitting that fall’s lineup of knits include innovative weaves and textures, yarn, fringe, capes, and ponchos. “Head-to-toe knit dressing is the way to go,” she says like in this cozy, cut-out Altuzarra look.
To Buy: Altuzarra Gwendolyn Wool-Blend Knit Sweater, $895; Altuzarra Orville Rib-Knit Midi Skirt, $795
“These days we’re all spending so much time at home so you have to bring your A game when it comes to outerwear,” says Patel. That’s right, stepping out of the house— whether to run an errand, dine outdoors, or socialize safely with your friends— is likely the only time we’ll be in contact with others making the coat more important than ever. Stella McCartney’s plush faux shearling is the perfect statement piece.
To Buy: Stella McCartney Faux-Shearling Runway Coat, $3675
The Lug Boot
When it comes to footwear you can’t go wrong with the lug boot. “A parade of boots came down the fall runways and the lug boot seemed to stand out with its tough, utility chic attitude,” says Patel. “These Bottega Veneta boots are the perfect example of design, quality and function coming together.”
To buy: Bottega Veneta Contrast Leather Chelsea Boots in Black Transparent, $1,150
Elevated Track Pants
Like the rest of us, Elizabeth von der Goltz, Net-a-Porter’s Global Buying Director “has spent the past few months in track pants or leggings,” she says. And since our work from home situation isn’t changing anytime soon she says invest in fashion-forward loungewear. Brunello Cucinelli’s soft cotton jersey pants, embellished with Monili beads, make even this casual look feel special.
To Buy: Brunello Cucinelli Bead-embellished stretch-cotton jersey track pant, $1,745
With Zoom calls in mind, von der Goltz says a stylish romantic blouse is a must. You can wear one with pajamas and no one would be the wiser.
To Buy: Saint Laurent Ruffled Tiered Silk-Chiffon Blouse, $2690
For those celebratory moments you can’t go wrong with leather. “It’s so transitional and timeless!” says von der Goltz. This season the expert is especially loving culottes which can be styled with heels to dazzle or pair with mules for a quick run out the door.
To Buy: Tom Ford Leather Culottes, $2750
Always bet on cashmere. “This fall I am looking forward to chic, stylish pieces, while still remaining relaxed in comfort and style,” says von der Goltz. One sure-fire way to look elegant and stay comfy is with a dreamy cashmere sweater. Von der Goltz loves Khaite’s Scarlet cardigan. The Katie Holmes-esque bra is optional.
To Buy: Khaite Scarlet Blend Cardigan, $1540
Flare Leg Jeans
Remember denim, your pre-pandemic uniform? It’s time to rekindle the romance. Update your collection this fall with a wide leg silhouette. One pair on von der Goltz’s list is Frame’s ’70’s inspired Le Palazzo.
To Buy: Frame Le Palazzo High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans, $245
We discussed how head-to-toe knits are a thing, but Caroline Maguire, Shopbop’s Fashion Director, prefers to take it up a notch with bold options. “I am especially loving novelty when it comes to knits, which make for the perfect video conference outfit,” she says.
To Buy: No. 21 Round Neck Knitted Sweater, $955
“At Shopbop, we believe in a statement blazer year-round,” says Maguire. “This year, we’re looking to bold, sharp-shouldered options as the ultimate fall uniform.” The fashion expert styles hers with a basic t-shirt underneath in order to let the blazer stand out. Another tip: “I tend to size up for a more exaggerated look,” she says.
To Buy: Isabel Marant Etoile Kerstin Jacket, $595
“Spice up your look with heavy metal accessories,” says Maguire. “Chunky chain jewelry has the ability to transform any outfit—and I especially love the juxtaposition when layered with your everyday smaller, dainty pieces.” An eye-catching necklace is also an easy way to draw attention away from say, your unwashed hair.
To Buy: Maison Irem Chunky Chain Choker Necklace, $172
“Invest in a rich color palette for fall—think: paprika, copper, cocoa, burnt orange, and chocolate brown,” says Maguire. “These hues are ideal for timeless, wearable staples.” To have some fun with the look, Maguire loves to pair these tones with a shot of bright color—fuschia, mint, or lemon—for an unexpected take.
To Buy: Ulla Johnson Stearline Jumpsuit, $495