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the 8 fall must-haves to freshen up the minimalist’s wardrobe

Fall is steadily underway, and if you haven’t shopped for your key pieces for the season yet, get ready for these to be your new everyday essentials that you’ll be able to continue wearing through the cold winter months and into early spring. 

If you’re trying to maintain a more minimalist capsule wardrobe (like myself), bear in mind you don’t need to adopt every trend, but rather, should select the pieces you know you’ll be able to integrate into multiple looks throughout the season and beyond.

These pieces are all fresh and modern, yet versatile and timeless classics, so with a little creativity you should be able to remix them with your current wardrobe into countless outfits you’ll be able to wear for months to come. 

image cred (and one of my favorite bloggers @jacquiealexander

The chunky loafer

Thanks to the return of 90’s preppy fashion trends, the loafer is back in a big way. Wear them with all of your preppy looks from suiting to skirts and denim. What to look for: sleek minimalist uppers or uppers with subtle details like cozy shearling or ornamentals. The important part here, is that thick chunky sole.

The sweater vest

Perfectly paired with your chunky loafers, the 90’s has brought the return of another mega trend this season – the sweater vest. Pretty much any style goes, from preppy plaid to cozy cottage prints and oversized minimalist cable knits. Whatever your vibe, this is a layer you’re not going to want to miss. If you can’t quite nail down your style, check out Refinery29’s sweater vest shopping list for a variety of looks no matter your style

image cred: @iamdaisywi

The oversized puffer coat

Layer it over your sweater vest, sweat suit, tailored suiting and athleisure wear – the puffer coat is in. Specifically in an oversized fit with a loose, wide bottom that allows for layering over even the thickest knitwear. The style is more European prep, and pairs well with knee-high riding boots and utility style. But truthfully works well over anything, making it a super versatile piece for FW21 and beyond.

image cred: @ameliakay__

Knee-high boots

Speaking of knee high boots, this is another trend you’re going to want to get your hands on. While the movement is largely rooted in utility and urban prep style with heavy duty rubber lug soles, you can also rock a stiletto if you’re more of a dress girl. 

A geometric handbag

If you want to instantly modernize your look, take your pick from the market’s ample selection of geometric inspired bags. From 90’s banana shoulder bags to half circles and everything in between, the shape is what should stand out. Let it be the finishing statement to tastefully take even the most basic looks up a notch. This scrunch bag is my newest of the season, just in, courtesy of Bob Ore.

image cred: @about.janedoe

Chunky chain jewelry

While we’re talking about accessories, chunky chains are in, and it’s another way to instantly elevate your basic minimalist outfits. The bigger the links, the better. And feel free to stack your favorites. Gold and silver are both right depending on your look. Match them up with suiting, oversized tees and basic knits to add a little fashion statement to your outfit.

Wide leg trousers

We all want to be comfy, but we still want to look tailored and professional. Good news, wide leg trousers are in. Look for sophisticated details like pleating, or updated twists like the front slit. You can wear this minimal essential piece casual with tees and crewnecks or tailored for work in a coordinating oversize blazer. I’ve snagged a couple of my favorites from luxury designers like Anne Fontaine who do work wear classics well. For me, this is an investment piece as a working professional, that I’ll be able to wear years to come. You can check out my Anne Fontaine work wear shortlist that also includes some tailored blazers and white blouses.

The cardigan

If you’re sill rocking’ mom jeans, the cardigan is your new must-have sweater of the season. This nostalgic 90’s mom look is cozy, and an easy layering piece for fall winter looks. Thankfully, it’s also a silhouette that’s perfectly timeless, so you can snag one or two without feeling guilty for jumping on the fast fashion wagon. I still wear (and am currently wearing) some of my favorite cardigans from season’s past from State Cashmere.

I haven’t included blazers on this list, because if you’ve been wearing minimalist style, you should have a few favorite blazers in your wardrobe already from season’s past. But if not, consider it a “bonus” mention staple that you’re going to want to be cycling through your fall and winter looks. 

That wraps up this season’s minimalist must-haves. If you want to get the most out of your new purchases, remember to consider your price per wear.

If you feel like an item may be on the trendy side for your wardrobe, opt for a fashion steal. If it’s something you know will play in important part in your wardrobe for months or years to come, try investing in higher quality basics to bolster your core wardrobe. Remember, true fashion minimalism is about investing in the pieces you wear on a daily basis. If you shop wisely, you’ll never regret spending that extra cash on new jeans you wear everyday with the perfect fit… vs. that $80 trendy sweater you wore once and don’t care to ever wear again. 


  1. Pingback: preppy or minimalist, loafers are the new footwear essentials | day in my dreams

  2. Pingback: the best of winter fashion essentials | day in my dreams

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