A (Non-Boring) Fall Capsule Wardrobe for 2023: Chic Outfits & Closet Staples
Autumn is upon us. It’s time to smell the pumpkin spice, hear the crunch of the changing leaves, and create those effortlessly chic outfits you’ve been imagining. Fortunately, looking stylish is simple with a fall capsule wardrobe.
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In this guide, I’ll cover:
- Fall capsule essentials for a well-rounded wardrobe
- How to build a fall capsule wardrobe you won’t get bored of
- Cute fall outfit ideas for the season
- Fall layering tips so you look chic, not bulky
Whether you’re new to capsule wardrobes or your autumn closet simply needs a refresh, this guide is here to help. Scroll on, my fall fashion lover.
What is a fall capsule wardrobe and does it actually work?
Before we dive into all the fall wardrobe essentials, let’s go back to basics. A fall capsule wardrobe is a set of versatile clothes intentionally chosen by you to serve as the foundation for your seasonal outfits.
My capsule wardrobe typically contains 15-35 pieces, but the amount you choose will be based on your needs (and laundry preferences).
Why Build a Fall Capsule Closet?
Picture this- instead of rummaging through an overflowing closet every morning and having no idea what to wear, you curate a collection of essential pieces that mix and match flawlessly. It’s not a fanciful fall dream.
The beauty of a fall capsule wardrobe lies in its simplicity. By keeping most of your items in neutral shades, you make building outfits oh-so-simple.
Trust me; it’s a game-changer.
Read on for fall capsule essentials, outfit ideas, and tips from a capsule lover who knows a thing or two about building an autumn closet.
My Minimalist Fall Capsule Wardrobe
I built this warm-toned fall capsule and it is so easy to mix and match! It’s important that I have a wardrobe that allows me to get dressed effortlessly, without feeling the need to buy a new outfit for every event. You can click to shop the pieces below and scroll on to see how I style them.
Cute Fall Outfit Ideas from My Seasonal Capsule Wardrobe
While neutrals reign supreme in fall, there’s always room for fun and interest in your wardrobe. As I built my fall capsule, I reached for pieces that add depth to my outfits. You’ll notice lots of rich tones like my plum midi skirt and textures like the faux fur collar of my moto jacket or the ruffle of my pink maxi.
Fall Skirt Outfits
How obvious is my love of midi skirts right now? This fall essential looks lovely with loafers or boots. I paired this pleated midi skirt with a turtleneck for a classy look on a visit to The White House.
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Fall Brunch Outfits
Fall Business Casual Outfits
This is a PSA to add trousers to your fall capsule wardrobe ASAP. I like having one pair of tapered trousers and one wide-leg pair. They will get you far this fall season. Trust me.
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How to Build an Autumn Capsule Wardrobe
Gather Your Fall Basics
Head to your closet (not the mall) first and pull out your fall basics. These are the foundation pieces that form the core of your capsule wardrobe. Look for items like classic jeans, neutral tops, basic tees, and cozy sweaters.
Before adding them to your capsule, check the condition and fit. If any pieces are worn out or no longer your style, donate them. Don’t skip this step; it gives you clarity on what you have.
Plus, This step helps you gain clarity on what you already have and what you need to add to create a well-rounded fall capsule.
Choose Your Color Palette
The leaves are changing color. Why can’t your closet? It’s time to create a color palette for your capsule wardrobe. Consider shades that mirror the autumn landscape like warm neutrals, rich burgundies, or even pops of mustard yellow.
Personally, I love incorporating earthy tones like warm browns and oranges into my fall wardrobe. And since I love feminine outfits, my fall capsule contains a healthy dose of pink.
Add Layering Pieces
Fall weather can be unpredictable. For a wardrobe that supports you through the season, reach for lightweight sweaters, cardigans, and blazers that you can layer over shirts and dresses.
These pieces play double duty-providing warmth on chilly mornings and adding depth to your outfits.
Remember, layering is not only practical but also an opportunity to let your personal style shine. Plus, you can maximize layering pieces which is great when building an affordable capsule wardrobe.
Leave Room for Statement Items
While the bulk of your autumn wardrobe should focus on timeless essentials, don’t be afraid to sprinkle in some seasonal trends. Select a few trendy pieces that suit your style and can be easily integrated into your current wardrobe.
For example, a leather bustier might make an appearance over your classic white button-down. Just make sure the trendy items you choose complement your capsule collection.
That way, you get the most out of your closet.
Align Clothing with Your Lifestyle
When selecting items for your fall capsule wardrobe, consider your daily needs. If you like to keep things casual and cute, a pair of perfect-fitting jeans that hug your curves will serve you well.
If you have lots of formal events or meetings coming up this season, add some pretty midi skirts and elegant blouses to the rotation. This season, I find myself drawn to versatile dresses that can go from day to night.
If you’re wondering where to shop, check out the best capsule wardrobe brands here.
26 Fall Capsule Wardrobe Essentials
You didn’t think I made just one fall capsule wardrobe for you? The one above is my go-to minimalist version but this larger capsule offers a bit more versatility.
Rather than just listing each piece as many capsule wardrobe lists do, I explained why I chose each one and how it works within the context of the whole capsule.
You can browse the pieces and shop the ones that deserve a spot in your closet below.
Long-Sleeve Seamless Top
It’s important to have a few form-fitting base pieces to make layering seamless. I love a long sleeve top like this that looks great under a cardigan, tucked into jeans, or paired with one of my midi skirts.
You don’t have to be a silicon valley giant or distinguished professor to rock a turtleneck. This ultra-accessible basic is easy to wear. Reach for it on chilly days when you want to stay cozy and chic.
Here’s a luxe take on the classic white button-down shirt that makes an appearance on many a fall capsule wardrobe checklist. The silk shirt imbues any outfit with refinement.
Bow Wrap Blouse
A figure-flattering wrap top? Yes, please. I find that a lot of capsules feel like they are playing it safe. Where’s the fun? A piece like this adds a playful touch so you stand out in a sea of normal outfits.
Thanks to its versatility, a bodysuit is a wardrobe essential you’ll reach for time and time again. I like a squareneck design because it highlights the collarbones beautifully. But you can pick whatever neckline that matches your vibe.
One of these things is not like the other. Yes, this is the sole printed blouse on my fall capsule checklist. I threw in a fun blouse that weaves in colors from across the wardrobe. It will go with (almost) all the bottoms on the list, making it well worth a feature this season.
As a petite woman, wide-leg trousers are a godsend. They give me legs for days and go with all of my shoe options.
Who says white jeans are only for summer? I love a pair of cream-colored denim pants in the fall. They look a little more crisp than classic blue jeans making them great for business casual fall outfits.
Leather Midi Skirt
This piece probably gets the most compliments out of my whole fall capsule. The pleated leather is different enough to stand out but classy and elevated enough that it withstands the trend cycle.
Printed Maxi Skirt
Every capsule wardrobe needs a few statement pieces. If most of your tops are solid, a printed skirt makes a lovely, feminine addition to your fall rotation.
Dress them up. Dress them down. Jeans like these are a style staple for a reason. An outfit formula that never fails is the bodysuit, high-waisted jeans, and ankle booties combination.
If you don’t have this staple, run don’t walk to get one. There are so many ways to don a slip dress in style. Drap a sweater on top and wear it as a skirt. For chilly days, layer a turtleneck underneath and some ankle booties below. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Sweater dresses always make an appearance in my fall and winter capsule wardrobes. With a sweater dress, you get comfort and style in one. If you want a sexier feel, go for one with cutouts like this.
Off the Shoulder Sweater
If you want that I’m comfortable but also glamorous aura, look no further than an off-the-shoulder sweater. Collarbones are on display and your fall outfit just leveled up.
Crew Neck Sweater
Oh, the crew neck. Little Miss Versatile. Layer this over the silk button-down, drape over your shoulders when wearing a bodysuit, the list goes on. The classic design makes this a repeatable staple you can pull out season after season.
Whether you’re lounging at home or stepping out for a casual outing, the long cardigan’s relaxed silhouette and soft fabric make it an essential piece for those cooler days
Ready to play with textures this autumn? The soft and fluffy lining of a jacket like this is just what you need.
Plaid Coat or Trench Coat
Stay protected from the elements in style. Whether you opt for a classic plaid pattern or a timeless trench silhouette, these outerwear options elevate your style and provide a polished finishing touch as you step out.
A blazer in a capsule wardrobe? Shocking, I know. But don’t knock it till you try it. The oversize fit adds a trendy touch, while the structured design keeps you looking sharp and put-together. That’s balance baby.
For those days when heels are too much but flats are not enough, ankle boots have you covered. I’ll never complain about a little height boost, especially when they’re this adorable.
Where are my heel lovers at? A classic pump works wonders when it comes to elevating an outfit. If you have a lot of black in your closet, then opt for a black pair like the ones below.
Behold, the shoes you don’t have to think twice about. The tried and true white sneakers.
These may not be essential depending on where you live. Here in DC, I reach for rain boots a good bit in the fall. So I enjoy a colorful pair that goes with the rest of my closet.
Spacious Tote Bag
Pack up all the essentials and avoid the overstuffed bag look with a roomy tote.
Have I mentioned layering enough yet? A scarf offers yet another chic layering option on brisk fall days. I find that larger scarves can go the distance (head wrap, shall, etc) so I prefer those over smaller ones. But you do you.
There’s something so beautiful about a delicate watch. It’s one way to give your wrist a functional (and pretty) upgrade this fall.
More Fall Capsule Outfits
In need of some chic fall outfit inspiration that doesn’t include leather jackets and white t-shirts? You’re in luck. Explore a mix of casual and elevated autumn ensembles to inspire your fall capsule wardrobe.
How many pieces should be in a fall capsule wardrobe?
Alright, let’s talk about the number of pieces you should have in your fabulous fall capsule wardrobe! Now, there’s no hard and fast rule here, my fashion-savvy friend. It will depend on your clothing needs and budget. But I recommend aiming for 20-35 items to keep things exciting and versatile.
When I first built out a fall capsule wardrobe, I started small so that I could really see what gaps were in my wardrobe. It’s way better to notice what you’re missing and shop for clothing intentionally than to make a huge checklist and load up on new clothing right at the start.
Autumn Capsule Wardrobe FAQs
What essentials need to be in a fall wardrobe?
For a complete fall wardrobe, you’ll need base layers, tops and sweaters, jeans and trousers, warm dresses and skirts, outerwear, and of course fall footwear like boots and loafers. Your personal essentials will vary a bit from mine. But here’s a quick fall capsule checklist to guide you:
- Long Sleeve Tops
Tops and sweaters:
- Crew Neck Bodysuits
- Knit Sweaters
Jeans and Trousers
- High Waisted Jeans
- Wide Leg Trousers
- Off-White Jeans
- Leather Midi Skirt
- Printed Maxi Skirt
- Neutral Midi Dress
- Sweater Dress
- Trench Coat
- Structured Blazer
- Quilted Coat
- Ankle Boots
- Classic Pumps
- Rain Boots
How do I choose the right colors for my fall capsule wardrobe?
Good news! I created a whole blog post with six ways to choose a wardrobe color scheme just for you. But here’s a mini run down:
Start by choosing your base colors. To do this, I recommend looking at the fall basics you’ve pulled out of your wardrobe and taking note of the common colors. To keep things simple, choose 3-4 neutral base colors like cream, black, brown, white, or navy.
Next, choose your accent colors. These are usually the brighter pops of color in your wardrobe that stand out against the neutral base. To create a harmonious balance, consider complementary shades that complement your chosen neutrals.
For example, if you’ve embraced a warm palette with cozy browns and deep plums a vibrant pop of orange would add a beautiful burst of color.
How do I style layering pieces in a fall capsule wardrobe?
Fall brings lots of layering opportunities from light cardigans to structured trench coats. To layer like a pro, think in terms of levels. Let me explain.
You’ll have a base layer, middle layer, and outer layer in each outfit. For example, a long sleeve top is the base layer, a knit cardigan is the middle layer, and a structured trench coat is the outer layer. Layering should be chic and functional. This 3 layer approach makes it easy to adjust your outfit when temperatures get unpredictable.
Plus, it adds dimension to your ensembles. So layer a silk cami under a long cardigan under and a quilted coat. Or try a turtleneck under a blazer beneath an oversized scarf.