Fall Essentials You’ll Love (My Go-Tos!)

Fall Wardrobe Essentials + Dudley Stephens Fleece featured by fashion blog, Monica Dutia

I fully intended to have this post up Friday, but was in Des Moines for a girls weekend and didn’t have a chance to proof and schedule it before I left. It’s kind of a long one, and basically a brain dump re: my fall wardrobe staples/closet essentials. I’ve shared nearly all of these items before and talked about many of them extensively in the past, but it’s nice to pull everything into one post and measure how my style has changed or stayed similar over time. My last post of this nature was in 2016 and I’m happy to report that I still own and wear everything mentioned! You’ll see some overlaps here, but I wanted to focus on some newer discoveries instead of repeat everything I shared previously. So consider this post to be an extension of this one, and feel free to share your fall wardrobe staples, too!


Cashmere crewneck: I’ve been buying Lord & Taylor’s cashmere crewnecks for a few years and wear them regularly as soon as it gets cooler out! I have four and try to buy them later in the season when prices dip or there’s a sale–they’re usually $40 on Black Friday through Cyber Monday!–but my one qualm is that L&T’s website and customer service are pretty bad. I tried to place an order online and via phone several times last year, they had no idea why my card wouldn’t take. I happened to have plans near one of their stores a few days later so they put one on aside for me there…turns out it wasn’t there when I went to pick it up, but they were nice in store and honored the deal. The whole thing was incredibly annoying so I’d say proceed with caution (but take advantage of a good deal, if you have the patience!) and if you want a guaranteed smoother shopping experience, Nordstrom’s in-house brand, Halogen, makes wonderful cashmere at similar prices! They often get marked down to $46 at a couple points during the season but the original price is affordable as far as cashmere goes. Uniqulo’s is supposed to be good, too!

Everlane cashmere v-neck: This is a newer addition to my closet but one that earned “staple” status as soon as soon as I wore it for a day. It’s pricier than the L&T crewneck but I think the quality is exceptional. It does fit a little cropped so size up if you’re in between sizes (I’m wearing a medium) and the fabric has a good heft to it. An easy piece to wear solo or layer!

Flannel: My favorite flannel is the slightly fitted style from L.L. Bean. I have a couple “relaxed” fit ones too and they’re just a little looser. I own both smalls and mediums and the latter is better with leggings! I’ll typically wear them solo, or under a vest or sweater.

Neutral crewneck sweaterI got this sweater in navy from Tuckernuck last year and reach for it constantly. I have a medium and it fits loosely without being sloppy. The price is good (especially when they do site wide sales) and it comes in several colors. An easy basic to dress up or down and it washes + fits well–which is why it’s one of my fall staples!

Fisherman’s sweater: By far the warmest cotton sweater you’ll own–I have two, this classic crewneck and this longer tunic version. They aren’t the most flattering on me because I have a broader frame up top, but they’re so insanely warm and will never go out of style. Make sure and read the reviews for sizing–I sized up in the crewneck and down in the tunic! They are perfect for layering with flannel and have kept me warm on some of DC’s coldest days.

Fleece turtleneck: ***Pictured above! Along with my Zella leggings + Supergas!***I’m jumping the gun a bit because I only got this fleece a couple of weeks ago but it is, without a doubt, a staple I’m going to be wearing for years to come. I love supporting small businesses and when I came across Dudley Stephens last year, immediately added one of their fleece turtlenecks to my wishlist. They’re items are a little pricey but the quality is unmatched! It’s hard to explain what a luxury fleece would feel like but trust me when I say the material is both sustainable and far superior than the average fleece on the market (it’s known not to pill, and the pieces are partially made from recycled water bottles). These are definitely investment pieces but I’m a firm believer in “less is more” and would rather invest in something and keep it for years than have to replace it after a few washes. I have the Cobble Hill turtleneck in navy and got a medium. The small was too tight up top so if you’re in between sizes, consider going up! Next up on my list is the shorter version–the Park Slope in black.

Black bell sleeve top: I ordered a black bell sleeve top on J.Crew Factory about this time last year and it was backordered for weeks. It eventually came in and was worth the wait…I’ve been wearing it year-round! Unfortunately it’s no longer available but Tuckernuck and Old Navy have similar styles (at very different price points!) Mine is a cotton blend and is starting to fade some in the wash, so I’m potentially looking to upgrade since I wear it so frequently. Bell sleeves are one of the few trends I’ve embraced so I’m trying to decide whether I’ll love them for long enough to warrant splurging!

Everlane U-Neck tees: Hands down my favorite tees–100% cotton, so soft, don’t wear out in the wash, and they’re priced well. I recommend sizing up! They discontinued the u-neck style I have but the v’s are just as good!


Jeans: I’m not linking to a particular pair of jeans here because all of mine are sold out (though I do have a couple of the FRAME Le Skinny De Jeanne–the particular washes are old, though!) and I’m in the market for a new pair or two. The dress code at my new office is “casual” and I’m wearing jeans pretty much daily! I did just get this black pair from Old Navy (Katie and Laura rave about this style, and they were marked down to $22) and need to find a couple classic blue pairs. I’m hoping not to go the designer route this time around, though my current pairs have lasted up to five years. Unfortunately I didn’t have luck with Gap but am hoping to try something from Old Navy and Banana!

Full-length black leggings: My current favorite pair of full-length black leggings is Zella, but I also have a couple pairs of cotton ones. I’m definitely one of those people who wears leggings with pants but do aim to have a longer to balance things out. If you have a pair you like, I’m all ears–I need to replace my old Forever 21 ones!


J.Crew Cocoon CoatIt feels like every girl in DC has this coat because not a day goes by this time of year when I don’t see at least one person wearing it! The style has been slightly tweaked since I bought mine in 2016, but the classic silhouette remains. I love the camel color–it goes with everything and is dark enough not to show general wear and tear.

Barbour jacket: I have yet to meet someone who has a Barbour and doesn’t love it. This Beadnell is a classic fitted option, and the Bedale is boxier (and unisex). I got the Bedale a few years ago and picked up the Beadnell in waxed cotton and the quilted fabric when I was at the Clearance Center in New Hampshire last summer. I definitely did not need three Barbours, but they were half off and I rotate between them constantly! Tuckernuck has a great editorial on the difference between styles–it can be confusing to order online, so this is really helpful!

Sweater FleeceIf you search “sweater fleece” through the search bar on this blog, you’ll find several posts that illustrate my love for the L.L. Bean Sweater Fleece. It’s in the top three favorite pieces of clothing I own and I ended up selling all my other fleece pullovers since it’s the only one I reach for. They’ve introduced so many colors, but my favorite is still the gray. J got on board last year and wears his constantly, and we actually just ordered the buffalo plaid dog version for Millie.

Mountain Pile vest: Another great L.L. Bean buy! I love wearing this vest with crewneck shirts, flannels, and light sweaters. It’ll work just as well on casual days as it will on a hike, and the zippered pockets are a great feature if you want to go purse-free. J also has the men’s version!


Corso Como flats: Another closet staple I’ve raved about consistently over the past two years! Unfortunately these flats are sold out almost everywhere, but Amazon and J.Jill have a few available . I sized down a half size (am usually an 8 or 8.5 but have a 7.5 in these), as the leather stretches slightly. They’re the most comfortable pair of flats I’ve ever owned and are quick to break in. I own them in three colors, am on my second black pair, and just ordered another as backup!

Leopard flatsI put off getting into leopard flats for years…they never felt very “me” and always felt al little too outside my comfort zone. But I eventually caved a couple years ago and totally get the “leopard is a neutral” stance–they go with everything! This pair from J.Crew Factory has held up really well and while they aren’t the shoes I’d walk miles in, are pretty comfortable as far as structured flats go.

Black waterproof suede bootsA pair of Aquatalia boots were a sartorial bucket list item for me, and I finally snagged a pair on major sale last year (see them in action). I’d recommend looking for markdowns on neural styles, and you may have to wait till later or towards the end of the season if you don’t want to pay full or close to full price. I can see why these boots retail for as much as they do–they are insanely comfortable, waterproof, and are impeccably constructed–and for others out there with narrow calves, these are some of the best fitting boots on the market. I still have my Frye riding boots but only wore them once or twice last year since my Aquatalias were so comfortable and versatile.

Superga sneakersThere’s a reason these have a cult following (Kate Middleton is apparently a fan!) and if you’re looking to add a casual sneaker to your wardrobe, I’d highly recommend them. I will say that they are a bit heavier than other similar shoes on the market, but it’s not something that bothered me after I put them on. I wore them in Europe and walked a lot…they don’t have the same support as running shoes, but they’re still a stylish sneaker that’s comfortable when you’re going to be on your feet all day!

Nike sneakers: These are my go-to walking shoe if I’m fully embracing athleisure. My actual pair is sold out but there are so many similar ones on the market. They’re usually what I reach for on weekends when I’m wearing workout clothes and am walking the dog or running errands.

Black suede bootiesMy black suede booties are last year’s version of these…the heel height is perfect! Easy to pair with jeans and dresses + skirts, and a workhorse for both casual outfits and dressier days.

Bean Boots: My all-time favorite cold weather footwear! I’ve talked about Bean Boots a lot on here (use the search bar above if you’re curious!) but everything you need to know about them can be found in this post :)

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