The beginning of fall means a multitude of things. It means changing leaves. It means switching from cold brew to plain old brew. But most importantly, it means completely ditching your summer wardrobe in favor of warmer, almost-winter layers. Stores are already in full fall swing so now’s the time to start stocking up on your fall essentials. What’s that you say? You don’t know where to begin? Never fear because it’s really not that complicated. Here are some tried and true essentials that will get you on your way to crafting a perfectly curated fall wardrobe.
A Seasonal Suit
Now a suit might seem like an odd way to start a fall must-have list but hear me out. Whether you wear a suit to work every day or you have a little more freedom for your work dress code (luckily I fall into this bucket), picking up a new suit this time of year makes a lot of sense. Now if you don’t have many suits by all means pick up a good basic like navy or gray, but if you’ve got a good selection of year round suiting, try a more season-specific fabric like a tweed or herringbone. If you have to wear suits to work a new fall suit will be a much-needed breath of fresh air to your collection. If you don’t have to wear suits regularly break the suit up and wear the pieces separately. A pair of tweed pants is a perfect pant for autumn office days. And a herringbone jacket is a great outer layer and looks great paired with jeans for a night out. Either way your new fall suit will pay you back twofold because it transitions so nicely right into winter. Check out: J.Crew / Bonobos
Use fall as the signifier to ensure you’ve got a good pair of dark denim jeans. Put those light and distressed washes away and make dark denim your go to this fall. Most likely you will be wearing dark denim a lot over the next few months so you need to make sure you’ve got a good pair that’s up to the task. Besides, dark denim is the perfect base for nearly every other piece in your fall wardrobe. Whether it’s a dark button up or a merino wool shawl-collar sweater, dark denim always does a good job at showcasing the rest of your look. Check out: Mott&Bow / Levis
I feel like I’m always telling someone to pick up a floral shirt and while it might be annoying I won’t stop until every man has tried it out. For fall, dark florals are perfect. Anything with a navy or olive backdrop is perfect for the changing of the season. Plus, a dark floral breaks up the monotony of stripes and plaids. Get a little festive and embrace florals. Besides, how cool will you look with a little bit of that dark floral peeking out from under a sweater? Check out: J.Crew / Bonobos
Sheesh there are a lot of pants on this list… suiting trousers, jeans, now corduroys? Yes you need them all. It’s about to get cooler and your sun kissed legs will thank you for stockpiling pants when it does. Corduroy is like the seersucker of the fall and winter. It really only makes sense in cooler months and it’s an easy way to dispel any confusion what season you’re dressing for. By nature cords keep your legs warmer which is great because, as discussed, it’s about to cool off. Plus they come in a variety of colors so it’s also a great way to inject some colors you might not have in your closet into your wardrobe. Try a forest green or a mustard yellow so you can stand out or opt for a safer amber or honey brown if you want to blend in with that pile of leaves. Either way you’ll be doing fall the right way. Check out: Brooks Brothers
Having the appropriate footwear for the fall is a definite must. Now is the time to pick up a pair of boots (or two). I’m a sucker for a good pair of boots but if I had to tell you to pick up one and only one style this fall I’d tell you to pick up a pair of Chelseas. The Chelsea boot emerged a few years back as a trendsetting silhouette and it’s still being seen all over the place. Don’t get me wrong, rugged workboots are great but Chelsea boots are so versatile that they beat out workboots (but just barely). They can be worn casually with jeans and cords but dressed up with that new tweed suit you’re getting. How can you go wrong with a pair of shoes that’s just begging to be worn all the time? You can’t. Check out: Tommy Hilfiger / Cole Haan
A wool crewneck sweater seems like a straightforward, boring must-have for fall and it sort of is. But I’m telling you that you will get so much wear out of it that you will probably want to pick up a few colors. For years the v-neck sweater was the sweater. And while it’s still a viable layer to load up on, crewnecks have been coming out on top the last few seasons. A crewneck brings with it added versatility because it can pass itself off as a polished layer for the office or a dinner date but can also masquerade as a casual sweatshirt-type layer which is nothing if not wallet friendly. Since we’re talking fall and not winter, opt for a lightweight, refined merino wool or a cashmere instead of a warmer lambswool or alpaca. Layer it over buttons ups (I hear dark florals are cool) or over just a t-shirt for a more casual look. Check out: J.Crew
I’m realizing as I compile this list that I could say that each piece is my number one choice for the fall and I’ve slowly put it together that I just love fall. No matter which pieces you choose to load up on, this list is a good one and I could go on forever about other pieces you need (leather jackets, bomber jackets, printed socks, lightweight scarves, etc.) but this will get you started. All of these pieces will have you looking great for fall and get you ready to head straight into winter.