Here's What I Bought for Fall
Friends, I took my own advice and did a closet audit before I went shopping. It really wasn’t that bad - maybe 2 hours on a lazy Saturday? And the level of clarity I have now is pretty exciting!
Here’s how I did it & what I learned:
I made a list of my work, going out, and working out occasions.
Work/errands - meetings, work from home/co-working, and client sessions made the list. I usually wear a light sweater, jeans, cute boots, and option a blazer.
Going out - I have indoor activities, like going out to dinner, where a cropped sweater, high waisted jeans, cute boots, and a wool coat will work; and I have outdoor activities, like tailgating, Fall Party, and trips to the dog park, which requires an added baselayer, a heated vest and heavier boots.
Working out - A cropped tank top and high waisted leggings for yoga, weightlifting, or treadmill; The same plus a neon midlayer and light hat for outdoor exercise like running or biking.
I went through the list above & estimated how many outfits I’d need for each, in a 2 week laundry cycle: 10 work outfits, 4-5 going out outfits, and 6 working out outfits.
I went through my closet and looked at what I already had. I separated my clothes into 3 groups:
Base layers - tees, tops, buttondowns, light sweaters, and dresses that are the lightest layer, worn closest to your body. Some may be able to be worn as an outer layer too - if they can do double duty, I put them in the base layer category.
Outer layers - heavier sweaters, cardigans, puffy vests, and blazers that can only be worn by themselves or over another piece.
Bottoms - Jeans, leggings, skirts, and pants.
I tried on each of my base layers, and mixed and matched them with as many of my outer layers and bottoms as I could. Actually trying my clothes on was critical - there were some pieces that I thought would work that were tragic (a promising bodysuit that just kept missing the mark), and other pieces that turned out to be outfit heroes (my gray Gai Lisva turtleneck!) I wrote down the outfits that I liked, including shoes and jewelry. If I thought an outfit would work really well with something that I didn’t have (layered necklaces, or tall black boots, or a pretty fall coat), I wrote that item down & underlined it. I also noted what occasion I’d wear the outfit to.
I made a shopping list based on these outfits^^, from what I counted. For example, I knew I needed 6 workout outfits, but I currently only have 3 tanks, so I added 3 tanks to the list. I found that I used my turtleneck in most of the outfits I liked, so I added 2 turtlenecks to the list, and I needed at least 2 more cute sweaters for dinners out and social events.
In for a penny, in for a pound. I wrote down my bigger social events over the next 3 months - Fall Party, Swap Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving, my husband’s work Christmas party, friend holiday party, Christmas day, NYE - and noted what I’d like to wear to each. This confirmed my dire need for cute, sassy sweaters. I added anything missing to the shopping list.
And at last, I went shopping! Here’s what I bought:
TURTLENECKS! My gray and black turtlenecks were total outfit heroes, and added a little warmth and a very of-the-moment feel to all of the outfits I made. They worked with my jeans, my overalls, as a baselayer under crew and V-neck sweaters and sweaterdresses, with joggers for a casual look, and under my favorite slip dress with tights and boots. I ordered this turtleneck bodysuit from Reformation, and Everlane kindly offered to gift me this cozy one in rust. There are also a TON on thredUP - click here to see all of thredUP’s turtlenecks, and then just filter by your size & color preference. I nabbed options in bubblegum pink, soft light green, and emerald.
BOOTS. I’m thinking mid calf is going to be the popular height this winter, but in Wisconsin, over the knee boots rule, because boots are so much warmer than pants, and every inch of skin that you can cover counts. I tried to find an ethical, high, black suede option, and the closest I got were these from Able and these Gianvito Rossi velvet boots, which I’m still waffling over. I also caved and bought a conventional mid calf pair from Splendid that I think I’ll get 3-4+ years of wear out of. (Update: I ended up going with a higher, slightly less cute but warmer option from Splendid.)
A BEAUTIFUL LONGLINE WOOL COAT. I did some major hunting, and your best bet to get a gorgeous wool coat is to shop secondhand. ThredUP and theRealReal have some, and Rent the Runway sells their stock that isn’t renting. The jackpot, however, is at Poshmark - I found gorgeous vintage Pendleton coats and plenty of like-new J. Crew coats in lush colors. (You can always use LAURENENGELKE for $10 off at Posh, and I’ll get a $10 credit, too.) Here were some of my favorite runners-up:
CUTE SASSY SWEATERS. For dinners out, parties, and work, I wanted colorful sweaters with personality! I ordered a couple from Ref, and have my eye on some at the RealReal and Naadam. Also also, some people have expressed interest in the fluffy pink sweater I wear regularly on insta - there’s one in nearly the same shade of bubblegum at Everlane.
TOTE THAT FITS A LAPTOP. I noodled over the options below and ended up going with the Everlane Boss Bag in burgundy (gifted - thank you Everlane!). I love that burgundy goes equally well with black, brown, and colorful outfits, and the deciding factor - it zips!! So when I have to stash it under a seat on an airplane, my stuff doesn’t fall out. Amazing!
ODDS and ENDS. Workout tanks, a pair of leggings, workout sneakers, 2 more necklaces so I can get that layered effect (I’m actually going to hit up a local gold dealer - blog post about ethical jewelry coming soon), sandals because mine wore out, high waisted black bikini bottoms, some undies (I’m going to try these & these), a fresh pair of white kicks, plant based makeup in cooler tones for wintry skin, and possibly some fun heels to go with those super long jeans should set me up until spring.
P.S This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something, I will make a small commission, do a little dance, and quietly thank you for supporting my writing.
What are you guys buying this fall? Anyone else doing a closet audit first? I’m curious!!