Autumn instantly does wonderful things for fashion: longer lines, more layers, and deeper colors. But between nippy mornings and still-sweltering afternoons, the fall can present sartorial challenges at work. Here are six transitional pieces that make the switch stylish and comfortable.
Save your heavier scarves for winter months. What you need this time of year is a lightweight piece — think cotton or polyester — to throw on when it’s chilly, but not that chilly. Lighter scarves can help you get more wear out of short-sleeve tops, and you can break them out again in the spring.
BP Southwestern scarf, $28, available at Nordstrom.
Depending on your office culture, you may need monochromatic tees or simple patterns to avoid looking too casual. Either way, all-cotton long-sleeve shirts are a must for layering and fluctuating temperatures. They should be classic enough so you can easily wear them under cardigans, sweaters, and blazers.
Avoid polyester and poly blends. Since you’re wearing the top between other layers, you’ll want something breathable so you don’t burn up.
Modern long-sleeve striped tee, $24.95, available at Gap.
Cashmere sweaters are the holy trinity of fall must-haves: They last a long time, they’re lightweight, and they keep you warm. Because they’re so thin, cashmere sweaters are ideal for layering when it’s cold, hot, then suddenly cold again. (Also great for offices that tend to be chilly year-round.)
As a general rule, quality cashmere should cost a touch more than your standard cotton or poly blend sweater (think around $100 or $200). Pro tip: Always buy cashmere if it’s on sale. Even if you have some already. Yes, these pieces are an investment, but you’ll get tons of use out of them straight through winter.
Cashmere crew neck sweater, $148-$198, available at Boden.
Some days you might be able to stick to your flats or loafers, but when the weather is crisper you’ll want something more sturdy. Low-heeled booties (or high-heeled if you’re so inclined) in neutral colors are versatile and transition easily to winter and spring. Much like cashmere, your fall boots are an investment. Splurge wisely and you won’t be replacing them each season.
Chic ankle boot, $178, available at Boden.
Saying farewell to summer often means bidding adieu to cute clutches and dainty cross-body styles. Fall’s handbags are more structural for a reason — they need to hold up against wind, rain, and leaves. Your autumn bag should have space for all your work necessities, since you might need your free hand for holding an umbrella. Try a tote made of more substantial materials, like vegan leather, and leave the canvas for next year’s BBQ season.
Reversible vegan leather tote bag, $59, available at Urban Outfitters.
Last but not least, fall is the time to wear your classic blazer in a lighter fabric. Any wool blends should be saved for the tail end of the season when the temperatures drop.
Pair a light blazer with your cashmere and scarves. It’s the ultimate in versatility: You can wear a blazer over skirts, pants, or dresses. Plus, it can upgrade a casual outfit into something more professional.
A good-quality blazer with a flattering fit (consider tailoring!) is worth its weight in gold, so don’t be hesitant to invest in this piece.
Burgundy one-button blazer, $158, available at Banana Republic.