Ask a Vogue editor about the season’s top trends or which micro-mini bag is going to sell out first, and she or he can rattle off a dozen suggestions. But you’d be better off asking a much simpler question: Which items in your closet do you wear the most? Those pieces tend to reveal so much more about the wearer: They’re our perfect, go-to basics, the things we reach for on the best and worst days, that we never get tired of, that we’ve spent years searching for: the perfect jean, the perfect sweater, the perfect shoe.
It’s inevitable that we start dreaming about those pieces—and maybe picking up fresh new versions—at the end of summer, when the humidity is stifling, all of our summer dresses need to be dry-cleaned, and we have “back to school” on the brain (for us, it’s “back to fashion month”). Here at Vogue, what qualifies as a fall “basic” could range from a black sweater to pair of honey bee–adorned pearl earrings (both have wear-everyday potential!), and while some of us are buying things we already know we love (like fashion news editor Staff Yotka, who’s investing in another pair of clunky loafers), others are in the mood to try something totally new (like senior fashion news writer Brooke Bobb, who wants to wear more color). Skip the end-of-summer sales and get a head start on fall with all of their expert picks below.
Sally Singer, Creative Director
My fall must-haves involve one big new splurge—a camel hair and washed satin coat from Zanini—and then a restock on my most-worn basics. The Row jeans cost a small fortune, but I replace them once every seven years (amortize!).
Mark Holgate, Fashion News Director
An update on the Guernsey sweater I have been wearing for years: I’m switching the plain navy blue, the classic, for a new striped version. It’s almost as much as buying a coat, but I am obsessed with this Loewe houndstooth scarf, especially since it’s made in Scotland. This Carhartt jacket is lightweight yet can also stand up to the unpredictable elements, which is essentially the definition of fall in New York!
Chioma Nnadi, Fashion News Director
Though it might be blisteringly hot right now, it’s usually at this time of year when I start thinking about what coat I want to rock for the fall. At the moment, I’m loving the idea of a toggle coat as my staple, though I’m feeling for something with a twist. Rokh’s deconstructed version of that classic Paddington Bear style totally fits the bill. As far as jewelry goes, I’m a sucker for layering necklaces, even in the fall. I’m into the idea of a pearl-studded choker, like this one from Washed Ashore, peeking out from a crew-neck sweater, say. Plus, it’s so delicate I’ll basically never have to take it off. My favorite pieces always come with a sense of humor. With that in mind, Of Rare Origin’s new honey bee pearl earrings are just the kind of thing I can see myself wearing with everything. And when it comes to layering pieces, nothing beats a good long-sleeved graphic tee. I’ve started collecting the ones by the L.A.-based brand Total Luxury Spa.
Rickie De Sole, Head of Fashion Initiatives
I think the key to fall dressing is to layer! I swear by Rag & Bone’s white T-shirts and Proenza Schouler or Vince black ones. They’re the perfect length—not too short, not too long. I wear them under everything from Chanel blazers to my La Ligne striped sweaters, which are my other go-to for fall. This cropped one pairs just as well with a skirt as it does with my blue jeans. Lastly, Dôen dresses. I wear them with sandals in the summer and add tights and boots come fall. I just ordered this one.
Steff Yotka, Fashion News Editor
For me, nothing is more essential for a fall wardrobe than a big, clunky black shoe. With tights, socks, and a miniskirt, it’s the thing that will carry me all the way to winter.
Emily Farra, Senior Fashion News Writer
My fall wardrobe is built on a foundation of three things: Citizens of Humanity jeans, which fit me better than any other brand; Khaite featherweight cashmere sweaters, which are cozy without being bulky; and Margaux ballet flats, which are both elegant and wildly comfortable. I could wear those pieces all day, every day and never get bored; I’d just mix in different jewelry and accessories. On that note, I recently picked up Emily Levine Milan’s crystal drop earrings, which I love so much (and get so many questions about!) that I might need a second pair.
Willow Lindley, Accessories Director
Nothing takes the sting out of saying goodbye to summer like celebrating with two new instant classics. For the past two years, I’ve invested in a new Proenza Schouler sweater at the beginning of fall and end up living in it all winter. I’ve been seriously lusting after these McQueen flat boots since seeing them on the runway; they’re a practical, yet exciting upgrade on my traditional winter boot.
Chloe Malle, Contributing Editor
I love these suede leggings from Off Track: chic enough for any meeting, but comfortable enough to wear at home, legs curled (my usual position), and made sustainably with leather that is a byproduct of the food industry. I’ll pair them with this Meme Chose tuxedo shirt and top it all off with a House of Fluff faux leopard car coat, the perfect transitional jacket that pulls everything together.
Anny Choi, Editor
My go-to fall basic is a men’s button-down shirt, so when I saw Alexander Wang’s tuxedo shirt dress on Malgosia Bela last winter, I knew I needed this elevated version! I also found a perfectly oversized striped one from the men’s section at Gap for that I will keep on rotation every day. As for accessories, I love a classic, well-made, logo-less bag. Metier London makes my favorite bags right now, and a pair of Bensimon tennis shoes will be perfect for running around during fashion month.
Brooke Bobb, Senior Fashion News Writer
I will always gravitate towards a minimal knit and high-rise jeans for fall, but I’d also like to try and incorporate more florals into my repertoire. I’m going to experiment with softer prints layered with a chunky sweater and a pair of mules. My main goal is to keep wearing color and prints and not to shove all the brighter, bolder pieces to the back of my closet once summer is over.
Caroline Griswold, Market Manager
For fall, my go-to is always a good pair of wide-leg jeans. I’m currently loving this pair from Mother that feels very authentic and is surprisingly flattering! I’ll add a blazer and sweater or something a little lighter for these late-summer nights. I’m also into this top from DoDo Bar Or that has the best fall oranges and a vintage feel. Add the Tory clogs, and it’s my favorite mix of groovy ’70s vibes!
Laird Borelli-Persson, Archive Editor
Classics are really speaking to me these days. None more so than Chanel’s cream and black spectator slingbacks, which always remind me of a picture of Marisa Berenson from the archive!
Christian Allaire, Fashion and Style Writer
Heeled boots are what I wear pretty much every single day, even in the summer. But I’m excited to wear them with chunky knits and jackets in the fall. I waited so long to invest in a leather moto jacket, but last year I finally did, and it’s my fall staple. I love wearing it with turtlenecks and dress pants for work. I’m a big fan of Understated’s because they don’t cost a month’s rent.
Alexandra Gurvitch, Editor
I am obsessed with these Eve Denim workwear jeans with a utility shirt from Wardrobe NYC. Top it off with this Prada coat with the hardware accent and woven Bottega Veneta boots—a great addition to my black boot arsenal!
Madeline Fass, Associate Market Editor
I have been using every rainy day this summer as an excuse to swap dainty heels for a heavier loafer and sock moment. With fall approaching, I can’t wait to wear them more, and some chic ribbed socks are a good first step. Chunky, lug-sole loafers from Labucq are on my wishlist, and while I patiently wait for them to become available, I plan to shop for a twist on a classic trench and more leather jackets to wear as tops in place of sweaters.
Madeline Swanson, Accessories Editor
To me, the best basics are defined by comfort and versatility (oh, and not needing to iron them!). Subtle and easy layering pieces like SVNR’s adjustable slip dress and MadHappy’s unisex hoodie are the ultimate unfussy wardrobe staples to wear from morning ’til night this fall—not to mention, they go with every single pair of shoes I already own!
Originally Appeared on Vogue