By Griffin Brammer and Gus Nations IV, Show Manager and Staff Writer
It’s finally that time of year. Leaves change colors, weather gets colder and, best of all, outfits get snappier.
From sweater and shorts combos to jackets and jeans, there’s no doubt that fall is the best time for fashion. This year, we are going to take you through what we’ve identified as some staple articles and outfits to keep you warm and stylish as the leaves start to fall — see what we did there?
Sweaters: Would this even be a fall fashion guide if we didn’t start off with the obvious? Sweaters still have a hold over us as the most versatile and good-looking article in your wardrobe.
There’s something about a simple crewneck sweater that exudes effortless style. In the last couple of weeks, especially during this awkward time of the year when it’s not cold yet but it’s also not hot anymore, sweaters can be paired with pretty much anything and will give you that collegiate charm walking between Alter Hall and Hoff Dining Commons. Think Harrison Ford in the ‘80s — that guy knew what he was doing. They’re also great because they come in so many forms. Gus prefers a classic, blue cable knit, but Griffin has often been spotted wearing an argyle-patterned, chunky sweater with some jeans. Griffin probably pulled it off better.
Turtlenecks: We might ruffle some feathers by saying turtlenecks are having their moment in the sun. Though practicality seems to have eliminated the need for a scarf, turtlenecks don’t sacrifice style for warmth. They’re also a great layering piece. Throw one on underneath a vest or even a light jacket and not only do you have a great outfit, but also a very warm neck. As the Wu-tang say: “Protect ya neck.”
Corduroy Pants: Gus started his time writing for the Newswire standing on the corduroy hill, and he’ll finish on that hill. Corduroy pants are an essential piece for the bottom half of an outfit. Style is in the details. You don’t always need to make a statement to have good fashion sense. Corduroy pants have just enough detail to come off as a stylish decision. Every time we see someone wearing a nice pair of wide whale cords, we know that a conscious choice was made. They could have gone with khakis, leggings, some nice sweatpants or any number of other, more common pants, but the corduroys stick out as a subtle but conscious choice. Choose a blue, black or brown pair — they all look great.
Jeans: At this point, jeans are basically a uniform piece. Much like the sweater, it’s the variety that gives them their charm. Bell bottoms add a nice bit of flair to an outfit. If you’re not ready to go all-out ‘70s with a true bell bottom but still want to try a tapered look, look into the coveted “cowboy cut.” This style comes in a wide variety of brands and usually features a more workwear quality, higher waist and rugged wash that gives an extra layer of retro timelessness to any look. Plus, we’ve been told the stitching on these jeans makes your butt look cute… just sayin’.
We’ve also recently noticed paneled jeans. We don’t know if these have always been around, but we do know that every time we see a pair, we appreciate the funky take on such a classic look. If you haven’t been able to tell by now, we are all about giving retro looks a modern flair.
We’ve always been of the opinion that shoes make or break an outfit. That’s a delicate balance to strike. Too much, and the person you’re talking to keeps their eyes on your feet. Too little, and the outfit is ruined by mismatched quality. For that reason, we recommend erring on the side of caution and choosing something simple but functional.
Let’s get the easy choices out of the way:
Sneakers: Stan Smiths. Sleek, white, occasionally colorful and always tasteful. Other acceptable sneaker choices include Air Forces, Blazers or Converse. Choose wisely.
Boots: Chukka boots. Clarks are the gold standard for interesting but not overstated boots. Gus has a few pairs. They work.
But let’s address the elephant in the shoe room: Doc Martens. They have cornered the market as the quirky, formal, fun, functional, beautiful, mainstream shoe of choice. Every so often, there’s a style or a brand that transcends trends and becomes acceptable in any circle. Doc Martens are the perfect choice for footwear because of their versatility. They’re the only brand you can wear with a suit or on a broom and still look natural doing either. Any of their boots work, but their tasseled loafers are a great alternative that go with pretty much anything. Just make sure to break them in before you go on any long gallavants.
Clogs: Finally, we’d be remiss not to talk about Birkenstock Bostons. We’ve always been under the impression that clogs are strictly for the kitchen, but somehow their simple suede look provides the perfect amount of foot coverage without being too obnoxiously Birkenstock. Don’t pretend you don’t know what we mean by that.
Beanies: We’re going to say something controversial, something hot-button and bold. Beanies are tired. They’ve had their everlasting moment in the fall fashion hall of fame. It’s time we’re able to recognize what made the beanie such a staple, and not just improve upon it, but elevate it.
Let’s go back a few years. Early TikTok. Fall 2019. Fashion influencers shoot onto the scene. If it weren’t for these TikTok “influencers,” beanies would probably still have their place as headwear of choice, but we’ve seen way too many of these wannabe fashion gurus placing a beanie precariously high on their head and calling it an outfit.
Hipsters and influencers alike flocked to the beanie for its simplicity of function and style, but this isn’t a characteristic found in just one head covering.
Bandanas: Take the oft forgotten bandana, once seen as a product of its time. For a while, no one saw it as anything more than Prison Mike. However, we’ve seen bandanas and their silk scarf brethren used effectively as a simple way to tie back that bedhead in a way that works in all aesthetics, from cottagecore to ‘70s resurgence.
Caps: Oh, and let’s not forget the humble cap, too. Now we’re not talking the kind you get from the All For One Shop, and we’re especially not talking anything flat-billed. Personally, we like a good trucker hat, but anything with a little personality to it can be a great alternative to the ol’ sweat-stained, orange-brown Carharrt beanie. Just remember to wear your hats all the way, boys. It’s supposed to go on your head, not float on top of it.
So, you’ve just completed your fall fit, and you’re ready to head out the door. Except you’re not. You just forgot to accessorize, babygirl.
Bags: The quintessential bag for a while now has been, and most likely will continue to be, the tote bag. It’s a simple silhouette that can accompany most outfits either crossbody, shouldered or held. But what we think makes this bag a particular stand-out for most fall fits is its material. Canvas, as a material, carries a certain warmth to it because of its creamy colors, heavy weight and thick knit. Because of this mesh of durability and warmth, it tends to pair really well with fabrics that have those same characteristics: your flannels, your corduroys, your denims — all traditionally fall fabrics. This makes canvas the perfect fabric to accessorize with. Oh, and if you’re feeling like supporting small business, there are almost always tons of local artists putting their unique designs on this bag, making it an art piece as much as it is a statement piece.
Jackets: We’re also at the point where jackets are an accessory, not a necessity. What we mean to say is don’t overencumber yourself just yet. Keep your jacket light, with room to layer on a button up or crewneck underneath if you’re still cold. Speaking of those fall materials, finding a good fall jacket also gives you room to play with these fabrics in new ways. Sure, Gus loves his corduroy pants, but you could also try a corduroy collar on a denim or canvas jacket. Everyone loves a fall flannel, but you could also get a flannel-lined jacket that shows off that classic tartan pattern every time a cool autumn wind blows to make your outfit just that bit more unique.