Vogue.com’s Executive Fashion Director Shares Her Fall Must Haves

As much as I love summer, I can’t help but get excited about fall—otherwise known to me as layering season. Some of my best fall outfits are comprised of classic pieces like jeans, sweaters, and great boots, worn in artful ways. After a season of breezy cotton fabrics and gossamer white dresses, I gravitate toward richer, warmer hues that are universally flattering—think forest green and deep burgundy. And stripe knits and sturdy boots quickly replace summer’s patterned sarongs and flip-flops. 

I view a great fall wardrobe a bit like a puzzle—a select few key pieces that, when put together, look just right. The go-to boot, the wear-anywhere dress, the versatile bag—each item on their own are pretty basic but when styled just the right way, make magic.

With September on the horizon, I can finally turn my attention to the new season for which I’ve put together my must-have fall list. Most of these things can be shopped from my own closet, but designers are also delivering refreshed takes on these autumnal wardrobe essentials that I can’t help but notice. 

Altuzarra has a rust-colored knit dress that I know will get a lot of use as we make our eventual return to the office, while Everlane’s durable, all-weather wellies will make my commute all the better. Plus, there’s an Attersee tote with a seasonless stripe that I plan to carry straight from summer to fall. These, plus 19 other things I have my eye on, ahead. 

The All-Purpose Dress 

This is the perfect all-purpose dress. I can pair it with boots and wear it to the office but just as easily throw it on with sneakers for a casual weekend night dinner. The color and print get me immediately in the fall mood. 

Veronica Beard Swedie floral-print cotton-blend poplin midi-dress

The Heeled Investment Boot

These Celine boots are an investment, but they’re totally worth it. I bought these boots three years ago on a trip to Paris, and they pair with just about everything. They hit at exactly the right spot above my calf, and while the heel is high, I can still walk in them quite easily. I have been eyeing them in a hunter green color too. When you find the perfect pair, why switch for anything else?

Celine Claude calfskin boots

The Printed Blouse 

My friend, and Vogue Mexico EIC, Karla Martinez, is the queen of the printed poplin blouse. I saw this Polo RL one and immediately thought of her. Here’s hoping I look as chic as she does wearing this with my favorite Khaite high-waisted jeans. 

Polo Ralph Lauren long-sleeve button-front shirt

The Weekend Crossbody Bag

I am always running around with my kids on the weekend, and this Loewe crossbody is just the right handsfree bag to hold all my essentials—keys, wallet, and mask.

Loewe Gate mini grained-leather cross-body bag

The Fall Stripe 

I have a stripe sweater addiction. While I don’t need another classic piling up in my closet, this matching set will be my 2021 update. 

La Ligne crochet stitch stripe crewneck sweater

La Ligne crochet stitch knit skirt

The Polished Knit Dress

The no-brainer dress. Ideal for those crisp fall days, this rust-colored Altuzarra dress is easy to throw on and run to the office. 

Altuzarra Alice belted cashmere midi-dress

The Work Bag 

The recently re-invented Diana bag has been on my want list since it came out this summer. As we prepare to return to the office, I can’t imagine a better bag to tote my computer around in than this one.

Gucci Diana medium tote bag

The Fall Fair Isle

Nothing says fall quite like a good Fair Isle knit. Weekend Max Mara makes great, slightly oversized knits. 

Weekend Max Mara Brigida sweater

The Foolproof Jean

These black jeans are the perfect match for fall’s cozy sweaters. 

Khaite Vivian jean in black rinse

The Matching Set

Anyone who knows me knows I love a skirt and top set. I love how sweet and feminine this floral set from Paco Rabanne is. I am trying to add more print and pattern to my wardrobe, and this does the trick.

Paco Rabanne rosebud-print stretch-jersey top

Paco Rabanne lace-trimmed rosebud-print satin midi-skirt

The Weekend Boot

I need a boot to combat the elements that come with fall, and this Everlane one is it. Whether apple picking with my kids on the weekend or running in the rain to appointments, this classic will get me through it. 

The Shirt Dress

Ever have a day where you just don’t feel like thinking about having to “get dressed”? I have them all the time and always find a classic shirt dress is just what I need to feel put together enough to get out the door. I love the color of this A.P.C. one. 

A.P.C. Morgane belted flannel shirt dress

The Essential Tee

Every season calls for a restock of my favorite Rag & Bone white t-shirt. 

Rag & Bone the Slub T-shirt

The Touch of Summer

Who said a summer tote is only for summer? I carry this Attersee tote everywhere, and no change in season is going to change that. It’s a durable bag that is just as good for a fall weekend getaway as it is for a day at the beach. 

The Outfit-Making Belt

I have this belt in brown, and I cannot tell you how often I wear it. You can remove the thinner belt, so you have two for the price of one! 

Ulla Johnson Paola twisted leather belt

The Fall Print

I am trading in my bright summer caftans for fall’s jewel-toned go-anywhere dresses, like this favorite from the newly launched label Câllas Milano.

Câllas Milano Tilda tiered foliage-print midi-dress

The Evening Dress

With events slowly making a comeback, this retro-inspired Paco Rabanne evening dress gets me excited to dress up again come fall.

Paco Rabanne polka-dot maxi dress