The wardrobe staples every woman needs

One of the biggest benefits for many of us working from home amid the Covid-19 pandemic is that we’ve largely been able to wear whatever we want. Many of us simply had to put on a blazer before the Zoom call to look presentable. During this time, we could keep our sweatpants or gym leggings on, knowing that none of our co-workers could see or care.

But now, return to work rates are at an all-time high since the pandemic. And you might be scratching your head wondering what to wear this fall to look well-dressed but also fashionable enough to meet co-workers or friends for drinks after hours.

The answer lies in strategically adding pieces to your wardrobe that can extend the current life of your wardrobe and increase overall versatility. Since the fall wardrobe is the backbone of a great wardrobe, now is the perfect time to think about your key pieces.

The key to effortless dressing for fall is to layer, layer and layer. With a few extras, this is the time of year when you can keep wearing most of your summer clothes for at least the next 60 days – and possibly longer depending on where you live. There’s plenty to choose from, but if you start with these wardrobe basics, you’ll discover how easily you can mix and match trendier pieces to create your own style.

Cashmere, long sleeve sweater

The long-sleeved cashmere sweater is a “sleeper”. You think it’s for winter, but the right cashmere – a finer cashmere around 14 to 19 microns – is soft and fine enough to give you ideal warmth for those chilly fall mornings while still being breathable. All day long. Layer your sweater over a fitted tee or try it under an oversized shirt.

High boots

Tall boots are a win because they will extend the life of your long summer dresses! A lighter colored boot like cognac or gray can coordinate endlessly with your wardrobe and give you just enough coverage for cooler late night evenings. Add a long-sleeved cashmere sweater over your sundress and you’re all set for hot days and cool nights without having to change.

pants pants

The updated silhouette of the pant pants makes it a wardrobe essential for fall. Slimmer at the waist and flowier as you move to the hem, you get a touch of femininity with this menswear-inspired staple. Front pleats are everywhere! Slacks also play well with fitted tops tucked in to make you look longer and leaner and they look great with flats, heels or boots!

Monica Barnett, founder of Blueprint for Style, a wardrobe styling and personal branding company, wearing a menswear-inspired cashmere sweater and blazer.
Monica Barnett, founder of Blueprint for Style, a wardrobe styling and personal branding company, wearing a menswear-inspired cashmere sweater and blazer.Courtesy of Monica Barnett.

Masculine-inspired blazer

The go-to layering staple for any woman is a great blazer, and this fall is no exception. Blazers add instant polish to any work outfit, and they also keep you cool or warm anytime you want. The dominant silhouette is a slightly longer and slimmer blazer, but the options are endless. I would recommend something bright or patterned to bring out your neutrals.

Knitted or ribbed midi dress

Chances are you have this in your wardrobe right now – a knit or ribbed midi dress. If it’s wool or cotton, you could have worn it all summer, but to make it work in the fall, add a layer (and your boots)! The knit midi dress can go to work with heels and a blazer, it can go out with fun shoes, and it can even handle weekends with a fitted tee on top and sneakers. It’s a versatile staple for your new fall wardrobe.

Before shopping for your fall essentials, check your wardrobe so you only add what you need. Part of being stylish is being responsible. These five pieces will give you a great start to making fall effortless and stylish. They can even help you in your professional activities. You know the saying “dress for the job you want, not the one you have”. So choose wisely!

Monica Barnett is the Founder and Chief Image Curator of Blueprint for Style, a wardrobe styling and personal branding firm. She’s the author of two books, a professional speaker, style and brand coach, curator of your Visual Resume™️, and runs an online style school. Her work has appeared in numerous online and print publications, including The Washington Post, Real Simple, and The Root. It has relationships with Marriott International, NBC Universal, Oracle, and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, among others. She focuses on first impressions, authenticity, diversity and cultural awareness. To find all the ways to contact her, go to his website.


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