I have always been a “summer person” and, consequently, never much of a fan of fall. To this day, 8 years after graduating from my last degree, I still associate fall with the end of summer vacations (aka the end of the fun part of the year). Living in Alberta, where fall can often prove to be more of a season on paper than in reality, only compounds my general apathy. From a sartorial perspective, fall means the return of “cold weather dressing” and, in turn, coats and boots; I don’t like either all that much. All in all, it’s hard for me to get excited about fall.

Still, practical reality dictates that, every year, I have to resign myself to the new season. To make the most of it, it helps to be prepared. These are my must-have items for surviving fall in style.

Fall coat

fall must haves
Wish list: Classic Burberry trench

I’ll come out and say it: I hate coats. The cute ones are rarely practical, and the practical ones rarely anything but ho-hum. I hate shopping for coats. I hate buying coats. One of my idiosyncrasies is that I hate paying a lot of money for practical, mundane things; coats are both of those things, and expensive to boot. But fall weather requires a coat, and around here that means something more substantial than, say, a jean jacket.

My go-to piece is the trench. It’s a classic that never goes out of style, and in a neutral colour (camel, black or navy, for example) it goes with everything – dresses, skirts, pants, or jeans. If the weather calls for it, you can add layers underneath for extra warmth. The trench has personality, which is a bonus.

fall must haves
Real life: GAP Trench coat

Rubber boots

fall must haves
Wish list: Aigle rubber boots

You don’t strictly need rubber boots; push comes to shove, you can just wear your leather boots on rainy fall days. I recommend getting rubber boots, though, because (a) they are easier to care for than leather ones; and (b) you can find really cute ones for cheap. For example, last year, Winners had pairs starting at about $30. Yes, they were made in China, but so are Hunter’s.

fall must haves
Real life: Hunter boots

Not to mention, there is something really fun and exuberant about rubber boots – they always make me think of my son, stomping with glee through rain puddles. Reliving a childhood moment: priceless.

Fun tights

fall must haves
Wish list: Wolford tights

Yes, I just put “fun” and “tights” in the same heading. They may not be everyone’s idea of a fun wardrobe item, but they’re a super practical and versatile accessory for fall. Let’s start with the practical aspect. A good opaque pair of tights will keep your legs warm while you transition your summer dresses and skirts into fall (and beyond, if Mother Nature allows). Needless to say, that’s a huge bonus in terms of extending the utility of the clothes already in your closet. As for versatility, tights are a great way to add visual interest to an outfit – whether through colour, texture, or pattern.

fall must haves
Real life: Hue tights


fall must haves
Wish list: Pringle of Scotland cardigan

Cardigans are an all-year-round wardrobe must-have in my books, but never more so than in the fall. Fall dressing is all about strategic layering, and cardigans are eminently useful for that purpose. On warmer days, they can serve in place of a jacket (just don’t forget your trench!). On cooler days, a cardigan layered under a blazer can add that extra needed bit of warmth. I generally avoid cardigans in chunky knits specifically to maximize the layering possibilities; you can tuck them in, belt them, or even wear them backward (buttoned up, of course). If you’re willing to get creative, you can even layer cardigans on top of each other by mixing lightweight and chunky knit versions. The possibilities are endless.

fall must haves
Real life: Joe Fresh cardigan

What are some of your fall must-haves?

6 Comments on Fall Must-Haves

  1. Quite unlike you, I absolutely adore Fall! Having lived the past few years in 10-15 deg Fall /Spring climate, the possibilities are endless! It is cool enough to wear a jacket yet warm enough not to wear that heavy winter coat where nothing is seen ever. And trench coats.. need you get me started on that? I still keep my crappy Old Navy one because putting it on makes everything look slimmer. Can I continue? Boots, flats, open toes are quite the norm and my makeup doesn’t run and my hair doesn’t get greasy so fast! Walks are much more pleasant and cooking takes on a whole new twist (yes to soups and stews). Fall is like falling in love (ok, my Central Park experience was quite the “romantic” tossing the yellow leaves episode/walking in the park with red/orange/yellow). Fall out on the West (WET) coast is short-lived. A few days of crappy wet windy weather and the trees are barren. Oh, just to mention “casually”, I was born in October. Perhaps there lies my affinity to Fall. You can have my Summer and humidity 🙂

  2. I’ve definitely been on the hunt for a nice fall coat. Up to now, I have been unsuccesful. really love sweater dresses. I have a cute black and grey striped one from Tommy Hilfiger last year. And yesterday, I bought a great one from Joe Fresh. They’re so easy to throw on with a nice long necklace, tights, and a pair of boots.

  3. You’ve just mentioned all of my favourite things about fall: coats, boots, sweaters…. Spring and fall are my favourites. Summer is too hot for me, so I really prefer the cooler weather of spring and fall. I’ve been a little bit bummed lately that it’s been so hot and I can’t wear all the new sweaters I just bought. And coats….ah, I love coats. I could wear a different coat for every day of the year if I had the money. 🙂