Build Your Best Fall Work Wardrobe Yet

October 29, 2014

Build Your Best Fall Work Wardrobe Yet |

Feel that? (It’s Fall)

Fall is here; winter is near. It is the ideal time to prep your seasonal style. Build your best work wardrobe yet – one that truly supports you – giving you that extra confidence boost to seize every professional opportunity.

Follow these three easy steps to reinvigorate your fall/winter work wardrobe today:

STEP 1 – Assess wardrobe history. Review what you wore to work last year. Ask yourself: What were my go-to looks? Is this outfit still appropriate in my current position? Will I feel empowered wearing it now? Is each piece in good condition? Is the look still personally flattering? Is it on-trend?

STEP 2 – Get space organized. Arrange what you need; eliminate what you don’t. Check out my closet organizing strategies here. (This step is optional, but it does certainly help your wardrobe to best serve you.)

STEP 3 – Create a shopping checklist. Determine whether you need/want staple or statement pieces to enhance to your existing wardrobe. Next, create a shopping list, and then shop accordingly. Ask yourself: What value does this new piece add? Is it versatile? Where am I going to wear it? What can I wear with it?

I prefer to get the majority of my seasonal shopping done in one fell swoop, so I don’t have to fret over it anymore. Then I can easily add a few pieces here and there as necessary or preferred (ie. holiday parties, etc).

Inspiration is a great motivator. But! The amount of options available in the marketplace can certainly be overwhelming. To help you jumpstart the season stress-free and in style, I’ve gone ahead and put together the ultimate workwear shopping guide for you with some favored fall/winter trends. Some styles may wear best on the weekends, most wear best for weekdays – it truly depends upon your individual work environment – corporate, creative, or casual – along with your personal aesthetic and professional position. Note trends highlighted are available at all price points.

Let’s get started and close out this final business quarter looking good and feeling great:


TOPS: Digital prints, dark florals, and plaid shirts, plus boxy tops, leather accents, and feminine sweatshirts all in lush seasonal color palettes are the big top trends this fall/winter season. I must confess, Loft is carrying some of my favorite pieces right now – great styles at great prices (nope, they are not a sponsor…yet!) – and this includes their blouse collection. I got this one and this one, and I’m thinking about getting this one too. Also, I got this leather sleeved top. Since I haven’t found many plaid shirts that fit well and are available at a reasonable price point so far this season, I instead opted to wear the trend in this super soft, Gap plaid scarf. Got the light blue one and the green one too. (Update: Hold on! Plaid shirts…Madewell to the rescue.)


SWEATERS: Nubby knits, side slits, zipper accents, shirttail hemlines, and extra long cardigans are the sweater styles that will keep you warm, cozy, and stylish this season. Loft does it again! I got this marled sweater, tunic, and cardigan. I’m also really drawn to this J.Crew one and this one. Plus this Gap waffle-knit one. This navy sweater vest with leather pockets is chic too. And I love this pine green and this two-tone sweater from Madewell. See more sweater suggestions below. I highly recommend layering an undershirt or top underneath the zipper accent pullover sweaters, because those little zippers feel mighty chilly against the skin. Also, note the long button-down cardigans I selected have some ‘weight’ to them, which I love.


BLAZERS: – It is all about leather accents, two-tone combos, seasonal fabrics and patterns, and neutral colors like camel, gray, and timeless black, plus jewel tones like burgundy, teal, and green when it comes to blazer jackets this fall/winter season. I always keep my eyes out for what I like to call the 4 F’s: fit, form, function, and fashionability factor when it comes to investing in classics pieces. This best-selling camel blazer is stunning and passes my 4-F challenge. This two-tone gray one is a nice changeup to the traditional. Love the modern tuxedo cut on this burgundy one, the jacquard texture on this black one, and the waist band on this other black one, plus the tweed color palette on this moto one and the admiral style of this black tweed one. This embellished green tweed blazer is fab, especially on-trend for the holidays. So are these faux and real leather-sleeved ones too. In fact, I’d wear them all season long.


SKIRTS: Midi, leather, mixed-material, and mini are the top trends in skirts for fall/winter. If you’re looking for an alternative to your classic black pencil skirt, see this front slit one, and side slit one, along with this zippered one, and midi flounced one. Plus these leather ones here, here, here and a chocolate brown option here. Love the pockets on this a-line gray tweed skirt and the herringbone fabric on this classically cut one. This flounce skirt and this one look promising – tights recommended for the office. I’m also intrigued by this asymmetrical zippered houndstooth one.


DRESSES: Look for classic shapes in earthy neutrals or vibrant jewel tones, plus subtle colorblocking, dynamic prints and patterns, and leather accents for your work dress trends this season. I’m obsessed with anything and everything in gray tones right now like this dress and this one. Berry tones too like this one, this one, and this one. And I adore the lush green color on this one and fall color palettes of this one. Current favorite print dresses include this shirtdress, this faux wrap one, and the figure-flattering piping details on this one. This plaid fit-and-flare dress, this houndstooth shift dress, and this charcoal mixed-tweed one are so apropos for the season. Loving these leather accent dresses here and here too. On my wish list is this colorblock knit dress, sizes are limited, so similar style here. This one is getting great reviews. I’m waiting for this stunning olive green and black one to go on sale.


TROUSERS: No new work-style trouser trends this season, except those with zipper details. I haven’t found any worthy of sharing with you yet. But! If you’re in the market for some new basics, check out these, these, these, these, these, these, and these. Several available in multiple neutral color options. If you’re looking to spice things up, note these colorful tweed and plaid patterned pants here, here, here, and here. Plus these pinstripe ones.


DENIM: Swap your basic office-worthy, dark wash, non-distressed, blue denim for a colored pair in black, gray, burgundy, teal, emerald or other jewel tones this season. Also look for zipper accents, coated treatments, and leather leggings to pair with oversized tunic tops, long sweaters or button-down shirts. Several options displayed below.


OUTERWEAR: Moto, utility, and sleeveless jackets are all the rage for the cooler months this year along with wrap, and oversized cocoon coats. Plus classics like peacoats and trench coats. Loving this gray moto jacket, this metallic tweed one, and this crepe moto style for chic outdoor wear. This utility jacket, along with this one and this one are ideal for fall casual Friday’s or weekend adventures. This plaid vest coat is definitely on-trend and for a more minimalist version check out this one. Hello, wrap coats! Like this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, and this water repellent one. I couldn’t resist grabbing this pea coat in wine. This navy one and this turquoise one also have great cuts. Other car length coats that caught my eye this season are this one, this one, this one, this plaid one, and this leather-sleeved one along with this one. Need a longer coat? This gray colorblock one is eye-catching. Also, I am obsessed with this powder blue one, gray moss felt one, stand collar camel one, this collarless vibrant red one, and all the color options available with this J.Crew one.


BAGS: The handbag designer who is simply knocking it out of the park in terms of both innovation and design is Rebecca Minkoff. She’s updated the color palettes on her popular Amorous (here and here) and Jules satchel bags for fall. I’m also drawn to her innovative hands-free options, such as her Dylan tech crossbody bag, Love quilted backpack, and Affair convertible fanny pack. Yes, backpacks and fanny packs have gone chic! Of course, there is Michael Kors and his über popular, classically designed Selma satchel bag which is now available in a quilted texture in seasonal colors. Coach has some beautiful new bags this season too like this black one, this oxblood one, and this gray one. I couldn’t decide which one of Kate Spade’s new bags I liked best to share with you, so here are both: this one and this one. J.Crew designed this eye-catching, coffee and black, two-tone bucket bag. Doesn’t this Furla satchel have a cool entry access point? Loving these shoulder bags from Tory Burch and Loeffler Randall too.


BOOTS: Of course, it wouldn’t be fall/winter without boots and booties! Whether you favor heeled or flat versions in ankle, knee-high, or over-the-knee styles – all are on-trend this season. Booties: Rag & Bone’s Newbury (suede and leather) and Harrow (nubuck and leather) stacked heel booties are a huge hit again this year. Madewell made a similar and less costly leather Lonny option that is getting rave reviews. I also really like the feminine toe on the brands’ Sammie and Ames booties, plus their Chelsea bootie is a nice flat option. Prefer a narrow heel? Check out these, these, these, these, these, these, these, and these. More bootie options below including these Joie cutout ones, and Marc by Marc Jacobs flat ones. Knee-High: Heeled options here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Flat options here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Over-the-knee: Stuart Weitzman is the master of this style with his 5050, Reserve, and Highway styles. Also drawn to these budget-friendly options by Vince Camuto and Sole Society. Rainboots: Two great commuter rainboots to try this season are these Loeffler Randall flat moto rain booties and Blondo’s knee-high waterproof riding boots.


PUMPS: If you’re looking to upgrade your classic pumps, then try this season’s strong architectural designs. Look for strappy accents and d’orsay silhouettes in classic leather neutrals or suede materials in seasonal colors. Go for multi-straps like here, here, here, here, and here or ankle straps like here, here, here, here, and here or t-straps like here, here, here, and here. Here are some d’orsay ideas for you here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Check out these traditional pumps in gorgeous fall colors like wine, olive, sapphire, and emerald. Aren’t these plaid Manolo’s perfection too? Expensive, but so fun!


FLATS: Modern loafers and casual slip-ons are the big flat shoe trends for this fall/winter season. My favorite loafers are by Everlane. Available in black, burgundy, and olive. The pointy toe adds the perfect feminine edge. I am also drawn to both of these J.Crew suede ones here and here. Here are some more eye-catching loafers here, here, here, here, here, and here. Vince is making the most sought after slip-ons like here and here. Looks like they have some new styles coming out too, here and here. Since they have been such a huge success, most every brand now has a slip-on option. I got these perforated Vans over the summer and I’ve now got my eyes on these snakeskin ones too. Steve Madden has some great options too like these colorful quilted ones, leopard ones, black snake ones, and studded ones.


What is your most challenging work apparel or accessory to locate? Do you prefer to shop at the beginning or throughout a season?

Image credit: (Top) Alyson Haley of Sequins & Things. Graphics by Kristina Moore for Corporate Fashionista.

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  • ediotu

    This list is really comprehensive. As a recent college grad who started the corporate life a month ago, it’s great to be able to reference a catalog like this when trying to decipher which of the trends I would like to build my work closet with. Thanks!

  • Thoughtful preparation is key. Glad to hear you’re thinking about what to wear and its relevance as a professional. Congrats on the new job!

  • The Office Stylist

    I love fall fashion! Can’t get enough of those sweaters and boots! Thanks for sharing this awesome list!

    The Office Stylist