Your Fall-Basics Checklist: The 7 Handiest Buys of the Season


(Image credit: @greceghanem)

Welcome to your fall-basics checklist. While we all love to make a thrilling trendy purchase, what would our fall wardrobes really be if we didn't have the anchor pieces on lock? As we've explained before, basics (or the lack thereof) can be the difference between having a solid sartorial foundation and feeling like you have nothing to wear, despite having a closet full of options. It really comes down to those classic staples you can wear over and over again, and I'm about to highlight seven such options that I think will lay the foundation for an A+ fall wardrobe.

The following seven items include the basics that are fresh for the current season and just forward enough to feel exciting, but they're classics you'll wear over and over. I can basically guarantee you'll get your money's worth out of them, and yes, you can quote me on that. The reason I think they're so handy is that you can wear them multiple ways, dressed up or down, and look stylish every single time. Whether it's a great knit dress, this season's big sweater trend, or a fresh pair of denim, continue on to see (and, of course, shop) the best basics for fall, according to me.

1. Sleek Knit Dress

If you had to choose just one dress style to wear for the remainder of the season (and even the year), I'd suggest a simple knit dress. Adding one of these versatile, comfortable, and polished-looking numbers to your wardrobe will easily be one of the smartest shopping decisions you can make, period.

2. Quarter-Zip Sweatshirt

When it comes to basics, the easier they are to wear, the better. And the one item I think can become your most hardworking is a quarter-zip pullover, whether you wear it with jeans or throw it on with leggings or joggers. These varsity-inspired knits have been flooding the new-arrivals sections at places like Mango, Madewell, and Everlane, proving that they're having a moment right now. 

3. Thick-Soled Loafers

Fall 2021 is basically the season of loafers. Although the classic flats are timeless, updates like thick lug soles and squared-off toes are making them especially fresh. 

4. Oversize Shirting

Have we drilled it into your head yet that you need an oversize button-down shirt? Well, if your closet still lacks one, now is the time to add this key buy to your arsenal. While in the summer, they were the perfect lightweight piece, they also happen to be excellent layering pieces for fall, whether you wear one open over a plain tee or turtleneck or underneath a sweater-vest.

5. Dark Denim

There's something about dark jeans that just makes everything you wear them with look instantly more put-together. Charcoal and washed black are my favorite washes right now, especially when they're featured on a pair of relaxed-fit jeans. You can't get any more fall 2021 than that.

6. Boxy Blazer 

Would it really be a basics shopping list without a mention of the OG wardrobe classic, a boxy blazer? While it's certainly not a new piece, upsized blazers continue to be one of the handiest pieces in our closets, regardless of the season. So it should come as no surprise that they're topping our list for fall.

7. Slouchy Handbag

Last but certainly not least is the slouchy bag. Seasons prior have put structured carryalls at the forefront, but now that we're seeing roomier shapes bubble up again, I'm putting them on my list of must-have basics because the practical bags actually hold all your belongings, so I can pretty much guarantee they'll end up being the bag you reach for the most.

Next up, shop the 15 fall shoes with glowing reviews on Amazon (and 15 more that are just pretty). 

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.