Developing a simple fall wardrobe

After sweating it out all summer, I am looking forward to bundling up in turtlenecks and tweeds, knits and beautiful scarves.  Something about the jewel tones, rich textures, and luxurious layers call to me after the skimpy and casual summer months.

However, as much as I look forward to the autumn attire, I also miss the ease and simplicity of summer dressing.  Good news, though, with a few suggestions you can keep your fall and winter wardrobe as easy as your summer clothes.

Long ago, I decided I wasn’t going to be a hoarder of clothes.  My closet is smaller than my husband’s, and I rarely try on more than one outfit in the morning.  There are plenty of stressful things in life, but getting dressed should not be stressful.  I have learned what works for my body and what kind of clothes I really wear.  Those are the two biggest things to pay attention to when shopping.

Does this work with your body type?  Does this fit your preferences/what you normally wear?  I know what what looks nice on me.  I know my preferences–such as, I don’t like synthetic materials, because they make me clammy.

Do you know your answers to these questions?

old navy



I also like to think in formulas.  A skinny jean, a workshirt, and a cute structured knit make me feel put together yet comfortable.  If you think in formulas, you don’t need as many items of clothing.

For this fall, I’m loving brights and layers.  Chambray, structured knits, and skinny jeans will find their way into my fall wardrobe.  As fall turns to winter, I’ll add chunkier sweaters, even more layers, and boots.  It’s easy to transition your closet when you’ve shopped thoughtfully.

If you’d like to find out more about how I create, curate, and maintain an easy wardrobe, check out my eBook The No Brainer Wardrobe.  It is 80 pages of ideas including how to shop discount stores and thrift stores, how to put together outfits, and how to know what works best with your body type.

What staples will you be adding to your wardrobe? Do you have any formulas for your clothes?

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  1. I was just talking with a friend about my lack of wardrobe understanding. I definitely need some formulas to help me figure it out…

  2. I’m on the lookout for a pair of bright jeans/pants that actually fit! That’s the hard part for me, but I’m definitely on board with your formula-based dressing! My goal this fall is to be brave in my choices; I’m always afraid to stand out, but I’m trying to remember that’s not a bad thing. Looking pulled together and happy is a *good* thing to stand out for!

    • gap has some cute ones, old navy has a TON of colors–but i’ve heard they run soul-crushingly small. j.crew has some but they are insanely (i think!) expensive!

      • Jennifer says:

        I love your description of Old Navy’s sizes for the jeans, as I have found this to be the case with many of the pants/trousers/jeans/etc. that I have tried on there over the years (at least since having children). When entering the dressing room, I just repeat to myself, “you survived buying clothing in France for 2 yrs, you can survive this as well!” Great post – many thanks for the helpful tips.

  3. I have a very similar formula: jeans (not skinny ones; they just don’t look right on me), a cute blouse, and a cardigan. I want to step up my game, though, and include more accessories for fall (mainly scarves).

    • perfect! it’s all about what works for YOU. i had a totally different “formula” last fall, and it worked so great for me then, too.

  4. Oh, I so need a personal shopper. I despise shopping for myself. Would much rather look at stuff for the kids! Need to check out your book!

    • i know the feeling. i think a lot of women go through that. i think it helps once you start narrowing what you truly gravitate towards and REALLY wear. that way, you can eliminate 80% of the store, just by knowing your preferences!

  5. Oh I like this so very much!

  6. Jennifer Campbell says:

    I LOVE Fall! The clothes, the cooler weather, the colors, the smells… everything. It’s my favorite season to shop. Now, I need to lose weight so something looks good me. LOL

    • 🙂 i know the feeling as i’ve been pregnant 5 times in 6 years! lots of changing body shapes. enjoy the fall!

  7. I really like the idea of using formulas. That takes a lot of the work and stress out of getting dressed!

  8. Great tips! I love cardigans and skinny jeans, but I definitely need to add some button down shirts to my fall/winter wardrobe. 🙂

  9. In most areas I tend to eschew my natural tendency toward formulas, but I’m thinking clothes are a good place to keep it simple! Great tips, Hayley!

  10. I love the idea of a formula! Right now I am happy with fresh clothes and no spit up on me. I do need to start matching, my three year old keeps calling me out when I wear terrible outfits.

  11. Simple wardrobes are the BEST! I too am a girl of few clothes (I make a point to donate more than I buy), and my favorite thing to do is mix and match what I have. Cool post! Definitely made me more excited for the fall in spite of my clinging to the summer warmth. I’m way up north, so fall means the beginning of a long, long winter.

  12. Anyone know where to find a quality chambray shirt? I’ve also been looking at thrift stores/consignment stores for bright jeans, but I think I’ll have to wait until the end of fall 🙁

  13. Great job making fall fashion a little less daunting. You really have the “less fuss” thing down-pat. I love the bright jeans. I’ve been looking for some orange ones in my price range. Super fun post, friend.

  14. Synthetics make me clammy too, ick.

    The one thing I have determined is I can’t wear a shirt or sweater that has no definable shoulder seem. Beyond that I’m still sifting through what does/doesn’t work for my figure.

  15. Great post! I always have problems with shoe choices. Where to find simple knee high brown boots that look good with dresses and jeans? An easy (comfortable!) everyday shoe that goes with jeans or a simple skirt or dress? I have so much difficulty with this! Any tips?

  16. Love this! My other fall uniform is tuxedo pants/slouchy pants and a cute sweatshirt.

  17. This is very helpful! I have been trying to thin out my wardrobe so it’s not so stressful to get dressed. One of my staples is a nice vintage-soft v-neck (Old Navy or Target). I can throw it on with skinny jeans, add a few pieces of jewelry or a scarf, and I’m ready to go!

    Unfortunately, I won’t be wearing fall clothes for a while (it’s still hot in Phoenix).

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