22 Swoon-Worthy Essentials for Your Back-to-School Capsule Wardrobe
With the end of the warm weather season on the horizon, a bit of summertime sadness might have started to creep in — especially if you’ve been having flashbacks of bone-chilling temps, slippery sidewalks and soggy, salt-stained shoes. But fall isn’t just a segue into winter, it’s a pretty amazing season in its own right. You might not be ready to part ways with your arsenal of airy summer dresses, strappy sandals or bandeau bikinis just yet (you JUST managed to nail down that summer uniform, after all), but trust us — once you get a glimpse of the fall essentials below, you’ll be ready to make the leap into the new season. We’ve scoured every corner of the Internet to bring you 22 stunning autumnal accessories, jackets, shoes, skirts and more, ripe for your Back-to-School capsule wardrobe, so you can kick back, relax and enjoy those last few carefree days soakin’ up the sun.
1. Mango Suede Jacket ($130): If you were more than just a little obsessed with the summer suede thing, get pumped: The chic, supple fabric isn’t going anywhere for fall. Give your go-to leather jacket a rest, and throw this stunner on top of a billowy peasant dress and ankle boots for a night on campus or a casual potluck with your pals.
2. Jeffrey Campbell Walden-CHH ($185): Lookin’ good. We’re going to go out on a limb and name loafers the official shoe for fall. Take it there by ditching traditional silhouettes for OMG-worthy embellishments (like chain detailing with a don’t-mess edge) that are guaranteed to garner a bit of extra attention.
3. Free People Miranda Midi Dress ($148): Carry summer’s free-wheelin’ vibes over to next season with an ethereal floral dress that calls to mind easy, breezy afternoons spent laying in the hammock. Pop this pretty petal-happy frock over a pair of skinny jeans and cutout ankle boots for your fave Saturday morning flea market or Monday a.m. class, or dress it up with glitzy drop earrings, velvet platforms and a box clutch for a night out on the town.
4. Levi’s 505C Jeans for Women ($148): A good pair of denim shorts are a tough act to follow, but these rocker chick jeans are ready to rise to the challenge. Channel your inner ’70s-era icon by styling them alongside pointed-toe croco boots and a half-tucked plaid shirt with the collar popped. Bonus points for I-woke-up-like-this locks and siren red lips. Either way, these are a must-have for on-campus chic.
5. Zara Floral Printed Blazer ($70): New season, new blazer. When you’re crunched for time as you jet off to class, a trusty tailored jacket will never let you down. Add instant polish to boyfriend jeans and silky joggers by throwing this flowery number and a ruffle-neck top into the mix. Round out the look with minimalist baubles for a sophisticated getup that’s ready to impress.
6. Faris Disc Hoops ($125): Enter the architectural hoops that will send any #OOTD to new haute heights. These are the ones you’ll pop on when you want show-stopping seminar-ready style without piling on the glitz.
7. Babaton Mika Sweater ($195): Can it really even be considered fall without at least one snuggly sweater on standby? We have our eye on this rib knit number that would look ah-mazing mid semester with a suede midi skirt and slingback block heels for class, or high-waisted jeans and a messy topknot for a much-anticipated date with Netflix.
8. Urban Outfitters Thelma Ankle Boot ($98): Oh, these old things? Effortless glamour is easily attainable with these snakeskin scene stealers on your side. Opt out of the standard bodycon and heels on your next night off campus and style these vegan leather ankle boots with a sleek jumpsuit or shift dress for a one-and-done look that reads cool girl in training.
9. FP X Solstice Ribbed Fringe Kimono ($78): A cozy knit kimono? Don’t mind if we do! Autumnal days aren’t always straightforward in the weather department — one minute it’s a balmy 75 degrees, and the next an icy breeze blows in. What gives?! A toss-on-and-go layer that makes dealing with rollercoaster weather a total breeze is therefore essential, and this fringe-flecked number does just that.
10. Topshop Metallic Pleat Ankle Grazer Skirt ($130): If turning a few heads during a much needed break from studying is on the agenda, you’ll want to add this silvery pleated skirt to your lineup stat. Classy enough to wear to class, but cool enough to rock after hours, this show-stopping style is a bonafide hero piece in disguise. Play with texture by wearing it with an oversized cashmere sweater, or push the envelope with a one-sleeve top and statement geometric earrings.
11. Urban Originals Masterpiece Faux Leather Tote ($78): The utility of a backpack can’t be denied, but if you’re in the market for something with a little more sophistication, a good ‘ole tote will never disappoint. This slouchy tote doesn’t just bring it in the style department with its stylish two-tone design; it’s also roomy enough to fit a 15” laptop and all your everyday bag swag. Bonus: There’s also a removable second bag inside that can double as a stand-alone crossbody.
12. Mango Flowy Long Blouse ($80): When fall rolls in, let the layering begin. Consider this button-down tunic a key component of your new off-the-clock outfit formula, alongside leather-look leggings or skinny jeans, longline cardigans and ankle boots. Easy peasy.
13. Ann Taylor Floral Mini Silk Scarf ($35): If you’ve been loving the bandana trend, try this more upscale alternative on for size. Silky fabric and a floral print lends this square scarf an elegant edge that’s right on cue for internship interviews or a week long stint in the City of Lights.
14. Zara Contrast Mini Skirt ($40): Be it a weekend of gallery hopping, tapas or a late-night gig, this mixed-media mini skirt can serve double-duty for any number of events. Whether you style it with a mock neck sweater or a slinky silk cami, it’s a straight-up sartorial hit.
15. Whistles Cropped Wide Leg Culotte in Denim ($178): Why rely solely on expected silhouettes to get you through fall in style? Step it up with RN interpretations of all your favorite closet basics, like a pair of structured culottes in lieu of your everyday skinny jeans. Team ‘em with platform sandals and socks, a suede kimono and asymmetric earrings, then proceed to turn heads left and right.
16. Sam Edelman Arlene Velvet Platform Sandals ($160): Velvet is back, and in a big way. While last season the super soft fabric made a strong showing in the form of flowy, free-spirited dresses and skater skirts, it’s popping up in unexpected places this season. These ‘70s-inspired sandals are our favorite interpretation of the trend, with their punchy platform heel and gorgeous grape hue.
17. Wilfred Nivelle Pant ($110): More polished than skinnies and just as comfortable as your favorite pair of leggings, these sculpted, streamlined trousers are a straight-up dream. Wear them with an oversized button down and metallic Oxfords for a laid-back, up-and-coming girlboss look that more than makes the grade.
18. Need Supply Co Milena Ring ($18): No capsule wardrobe is complete without a bit of newfound bling. Accessorize your fresh fall finds with minimalist add-ons that elevate your getup without going over the top. This marble ring is all things chic with its half-moon pendant and streamlined styling. Stack it up or wear it solo — either way, you can’t go wrong.
19. Madewell Lakeside Peplum Shirt ($72): Anytime is a good time to upgrade that carefully curated collection of closet basics, and more than likely your go-to collared shirt is overdue. Combining utilitarian effortlessness and feminine elegance, this low-key top is the perfect way to rock the peplum thing without getting prissy. For school, weekend and everything in between, this timeless blouse does it all.
20. Silence + Noise Paige Plaid Midi Slip Dress ($69): Grunge goddesses everywhere, listen up! You don’t have to part ways with your much-loved slip dress this fall. This plaid number feels fit for the new season, with its moody plaid print and endless layering opportunities. Slide it on over a sheer long-sleeve tee and lace-up booties for a ‘90s-inspired ensemble that slays, or take it down a prim-and-proper path with a ruffle-neck blouse, statement studs and new-age Mary Janes.
21. Krystal Swarovski Crystal Oval Faux Suede Choker ($94): This just in: Chokers are fair game this fall too. Take a more is more approach this time around, enlisting eye-catching gemstones and luxe-look materials to set your #details apart.
22. Adidas Originals Superstar Leather Sneakers ($110): When loafers and ankle boots feel like a little too much, pare down with a pair of classic sneakers. Team these iconic kicks with a bomber jacket, t-shirt dress and bright crossbody bag for an ensemble that will take you from brunch to lecture in a snap.
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