The time has come to once again tuck away all your sundresses, jean shorts, and sandals and replace them with chunky sweaters, boots, and chic button-downs. And while most of us are sad to see summer start to fade into the rear-view mirror, we’re equally excited to shop the latest fall fashion trends. As we usher in the new season, shopping for wardrobe essentials that will help us transition to cooler temperatures and cozier activities offers a fresh start.
Fall fashion always sets the tone for the seasons ahead, says Rebecca Rowe, designer for Rebecca Rowe: Capsule Creator. “As we swap out our closets, we tend to purchase items that are designed to be layered in the coming months,” she notes. Personal brand and style expert Nicole Busch agrees, adding that fall trends are essentially the bible of fashion, dictating what’s in and what’s to come. “For example, we’re seeing an array of colors and lightweight knits this fall, which will roll over into winter and even trickle into spring of 2022,” she says.
So, to help you make the transition in style, we asked stylists for the trends they’re looking forward to most this season. Here’s what the industry insiders say we’ll all want to wear again and again—because from knitwear dresses to oversized coats and sweater vests, the style this fall is all about elevated comfort.
Fall Fashion Trends 2021
From mini and midi dresses to skirt sets, the knitwear category includes more than just sweaters this season. “What’s so great about this trend is that after a year spent in sweats and pajamas, it’s the perfect ‘ease back into dressing’ style,” Busch says. She loves pairing a simple cable-knit dress with a bold boot for a sophisticated take.
Bold Oversized Outerwear
The coats on the runways this season were anything but shy—we’re talking big, colorful, and textured to the max. “Oversized statement coats in faux fur, shag, and wool textures are swaddling entire outfits this fall,” says Erika de la Cruz, a TV host, author, and Macy’s ambassador. To pull off this look, she recommends layering your coat over a monochromatic outfit, like a black turtleneck and trousers.
As the grandpa-chic trend continues to thrive, we’re seeing new iterations nearly every season, and the Autumn/Winter 2021 runways were all about the humble sweater vest. Turns out, the sleeveless sweater is incredibly versatile and perfect for the seasonal switch. Wear one over floral dresses, as demonstrated by designer Adam Lippes, or opt for a chunky sweater vest layered over a button-down for a more classic take a la Veronica Beard.
Nylons were once a wardrobe staple for women, but they’re now considered more of a trend, worn to complement summer silhouettes in the fall. De la Crux points to the sheer black tights seen on the Saint Laurent ready-to-wear runway this season, which were paired with mid-60s-style mini skirts and leather shorts. Complete the look with tall boots, she says.
Leather pants are nothing new, but rather than the leather leggings we’ve worn in seasons past, this year is all about the tailored trouser. “Leather pants add edge to an otherwise basic look, like a white button-down and heels, or can be styled casually with a sweater and combat boots,” says Nicole Russo, stylist and founder of Let’s Get You. She also likes wearing them with a matching leather trench for a cool “Matrix moment.”
Playful Puffer Coats
Rest assured, puffer jackets have not gone out of style—and this season, they’re more fun than ever. “The snow-wear look is still upon us, with colorful prints and metallic materials that take us back to puffy jackets we wore as children,” says de la Cruz. She recommends styling a playful puffer jacket over athleisure and chunky boots for a ‘straight from the slopes’ look.
Haven’t hopped on that crop top train yet? Now’s a better time than ever, says Rowe. “Crop tops and sweaters, even cropped jackets, are amazing layering pieces to add to your fall wardrobe,” she says. “Look for a crop that hits at your natural waistline—about two fingers up from your belly button—and style smartly with higher-rise pants.”
If ever you’re questioning the right shoe choice for the fall, de la Cruz says to go with a knee-high boot. “The style adds additional warmth and style to any outfit,” she says. This season, she recommends styling knee-high boots with a feminine floral dress or long-sleeve shirt dress. Another cool way we’re seeing them styled this fall is with bike shorts and big sweatshirts.
Silky Slip Dresses
What better to pair with cozy knits and cashmere than a silky-soft slip dress? “Still going strong, brands like Miu Miu and Chloé have taken the 1920’s inspiration and run with it, bringing back drop-waist dresses and smooth draped skirts,” says Rowe. “These slinky dresses are a great way to build balance with some of the chunkier knits or more masculine and structured pieces of the season.”
Camel coats are a timeless classic. “They go with everything and instantly make a look more refined,” says Russo. “Pair the coat with jeans or high-waisted leggings for a ‘running errands in style’ look, or go matchy with camel trousers for an elevated monochromatic look.”