4 Tips for Building a Fall Wardrobe

4 Tips for Building a Fall Wardrobe with Clothes You Already OwnFall is now in full effect here in the Midwest!  The leaves are turning and the temps are dropping.  A week ago it felt like summer (and we are still getting the occasional warm afternoon), but now it is undoubtedly fall.

4 Tips for Building a Fall Wardrobe with Clothes You Already Own_

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my fall capsule wardrobe with you.  Now I want to share some tips on building a fall wardrobe using clothes already in your closet.

I am a huge fan of the seasonal capsule wardrobe.  I feel like every time I change out the wardrobe in my closet, it is like having new clothes.  I don’t get tired of the clothes I own and feel like I have nothing to wear.  It curbs that spending appetite that can flare up when the seasons change and there are irresistibly cute new clothes on the racks.

So if you have yet to build your fall wardrobe, or if you feel stuck because you are resisting that urge to purchase a bunch of new clothes to put in your fall wardrobe, I hope these tips help!!

Tips For Building a Fall Wardrobe with Clothes You Already Have

1. It’s All About Layers

Where I live, the weather in fall can just about clear the spectrum of possibilities.  In late September, it can be 80 degrees one day and 60 the next.  It can be sunny in the morning and rainy come afternoon.  November can even have some warmer days that get into the 60s and at other times feel like winter has arrived in style, complete with snow and ice.

That is why layers are your best friend in fall.  Also, using layers can expand your mix and match possibilities greatly!  I include cardigans of different styles in my fall wardrobe because they get the best mileage when it comes to layering.  But I’ve recently discovered the layering potential of a good chambray shirt.  Using these two things, you can easily get more mileage out of sundresses, sleeveless blouses, and shells by wearing them into fall.

2. Include a Variety of Pants/Bottoms

For some reason, fall just feels like a season for jeans.  I loooove jeans.  I don’t know what it is.  They are like an old friend that I haven’t seen for three months when the weather turns cool.  But having only jeans in your fall wardrobe really limits your ability to create a variety of outfits.

My current fall wardrobe doesn’t do much in the way of variety, and I’m already feeling the effects just a few weeks into the season.

My ideal fall wardrobe would include just one pair of comfy jeans and one pair of more dressy jeans, like a dark wash trouser jean.  I would also keep one pair of black skinnies, maybe jeans or maybe a softer material.  Those three items are a good starting point, but you will feel like you have more to work with if you add in a couple of non-jean bottoms, like a cute A-line skirt, a maxi-skirt, or even a pair of khakis.  Don’t forget about tip #1 though – you can use layering to turn dresses into “bottoms” also!

3. Don’t Get Hung Up on Trends

I know those patterned leggings would be SO CUTE with your big bulky cable knit sweater!  But if you want to truly hone your own personal style, you’ve got to be strong and resist the temptations of seasonal trends.  Don’t get me wrong – if you’ve already got the leggings, by all means include them in your capsule!  My point is, don’t feel like you’ve JUST GOT to buy something new for your wardrobe.  Because, honestly?  How many people really notice if you are not wearing the latest fashions?  Unless you live in LA or some other super-fashion-aware community, it is likely that not a single person will notice that you don’t always wear the latest trend.

So my tip here is, if you don’t already have the latest trends in your closet, don’t fret over it.  And if you are feeling remorseful for NOT spending the money, just remember this and give yourself a pat on the back when you pay off your credit card or student loan, or when you can afford a nice gift for a loved one, or when you bank account ends the month in the black.

4. Learn How to Mix and Match

The best way to get more mileage out of your clothes is to learn how to make several outfits from a single piece.  I am just now learning how to do this, but I’ll tell you what, it really makes the whole capsule wardrobe concept so much fun!  If you are like me and feel that you have no style or creativity when it comes to putting outfits together, I encourage you to turn to my old friend Pinterest for ideas.

The search function in Pinterest works really well.  I often search an item I have in my closet for inspiration on how to wear it.  For example, the chambray shirt I mentioned earlier.  I NEVER would have thought to wear that thing over a sundress with a belt.


When building your wardrobe for any season, keep in mind that you will get to change it up in just three months!  Try hard to challenge yourself by limiting the number of items you include.  You can read about my parameters here (what I count toward my capsule and what I don’t), but you should create a system that works for you.

If you need a starting point, check out the method I am using here.  It takes longer than just sorting through your closet, but I explain why that is important.  Remember – this is just a starting point.  You’ll find that certain things don’t work for you and you should feel free to make modifications that DO work for you.

If you are interested to see what I included in my wardrobe, check it out here!


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