Fashion & Beauty

Not-So-Basic Basics for Fall

Ease into fall with snazzy sweater vests from Sea New York (left) and Cos (right) and mini cowboy boots (center) from Reformation.

By Janet Kelly

TRANSITIONS, transitions! The calendar says autumn, but the Fahrenheit is still reading in the mid-70s and 80s.

So, don’t put away that summer shirtdress quite yet. Use it as a base for a playful sweater vest (it has recently roared back into fashion) from the likes of Cos or Sea NY. Another comeback kid on our radar is corduroy, a transition-from-summer-to-fall staple. But this season cords (jackets and pants) break from traditional colors like black and dark green to bright blues and pinks and can be worn as suits. Loafers are, er, a shoe-in for fall. Instead of reliable cordovan, go for a pair in plum suede from Doc Martens to ground that denim skirt or try short black cowboy boots with white piping from Reformation.

For more basics that are not so basic, see below:





Remember football hunks from high school and college strutting around campus, thinking they’re so cool in their letter sweaters and jackets? Well, here’s one for us—in raspberry no less. This varsity jacket ($595) from Alice + Olivia couldn’t be cuter or a cheerier way to head into fall.


Bright color is everywhere for fall. Wear this orange-and-hot pink jacquard sweater vest sleeveless for now; on cooler days, layer it on top of a creamy long-sleeve blouse. It’s $98 at Anthropologie.


Did I mention I love corduroy? And for the past few years, I haven’t seen it around much, so I’m celebrating its return. Banana Republic has got this blush pink Rivoli corduroy blazer ($250) and matching pants either in a wide leg or a pleated style. Alex Mill is also into corduroy (its three-piece (pants, jacket and vest) suit is available in olive, blush or navy). Cos makes three with its bright blue double-breasted corduroy blazer and matching pants.


Cos, the H&M-owned Swedish fashion label, made its runway debut at New York Fashion Week last Monday, showing a see-now, buy-now collection for the autumn/winter season. Several vests were included, such as this one, a mohair-merino wool blend in an abstract animal print in an unexpected color combo of brown and purple. It sells for $135.


Charmingly retro, Frances Valentine’s wool Finley Blazer ($498) is nipped in at the waist for a flattering fit, and I just love that plaid.


‘Tis the season for slipping on a fringe suede jacket and stepping into a cowboy boot. These Otto ankle boots distinguish themselves with authentic Western piping and padding near the toes for extra comfort. We prefer wearing them with a denim skirt, but a prairie dress would pass muster as well. They sell for $398.


Sea NY’s knit sleeveless vest  ($495) in a merino wool-and-linen blend is knit with oversize geometric shapes that creates a kind of 3D effect. The roomy fit (generous armholes and side splits) is an invitation to layer.  Slip it on and feel ever-so stylish.


For Doc Martens fans, a different look. The suede on this Snaffle Loafer ($160) is made in England, and the soles are heat-sealed for durability. Best of all, the plum color.


The Frankie Shop has also climbed on the suit bandwagon with its oversize Felola Blazer ($199) and matching pants ($115) in a gorgeous sapphire navy. The midweight fabric (polyester, rayon and spandex) makes it a candidate for buy-and-wear now, but the generous fit also allows layering it over, say, a crochet sweater.

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3 thoughts on “Not-So-Basic Basics for Fall

  1. Carol says:

    Haven’t had any corduroy for few years
    Love the pink!!!

  2. Nancy G says:

    The purple loafers!!!

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Yes! Adorable and different.

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