I'll be the first to admit that season after season, I'm strongly tempted to spend my entire clothing budget on trend-driven pieces that thrill me at the moment but may become passé over the course of the year and subsequently end up in the donation pile. It's the more "boring" wardrobe essentials that I hang on to, though, and that I find to be worth every penny of said clothing budget. But when faced with It shoes and accessories and statement coats and dresses, it's easy to forget to what you actually need for a given season. That's where Raleigh, North Carolina–based personal stylist Alex Long comes in.
Long is the founder of Alex Long Studio, which provides personal styling and shopping, wardrobe editing, retail consulting, and even packing services to its myriad of clients. Many of those clients are women who lead busy lives and seek help in building their wardrobes with stylish, versatile pieces. So needless to say, Long has a great eye and is an expert when it comes to those basics that she constantly has to remind her clients to buy for fall, as they may not be the most exciting.
Keep scrolling to find out which 11 fall wardrobe essentials everyone forgets to buy, according to Alex Long.
"I always love a basic turtleneck. A lightweight, long-sleeved black turtleneck is a must for layering. Under dresses, jackets—and if you want to have a little fun… a printed turtleneck looks great under a black silk dress, overalls, coveralls, union suits, etc."
"One thing all my clients always need is shoes. Flats, booties, mules, clogs, and sneakers are all great staples for fall. Add interest with color-blocked suede, or metal details like studs or zippers. Animal prints remains a classic—snakeskin is everywhere right now."
"One of the most important, but most often neglected wardrobe staples are the layers you don’t see. Underpinnings can make you feel so pretty and sexy without anyone seeing a single peek of lace. Whether you prefer silk, solid or a print—a camisole can be worn under layers or more visibly, to add a bit of texture to your fall look."
"Leather, real or vegan, is a key staple for everyone, from high-waisted bottoms to wrap dresses. A more structured cut brings a fresh approach to the classic leather look this fall. Keep it simple in black, or push the envelope in warm tones like rust or dark berry."
"I cannot tell you how common it is for people to hang on to the same few belts for decades. I love a belt over a blazer, chunky cardigan—it’s a great way to add polish to your layers. A waist bag in luxe leather (yes, the fanny pack is here to stay) is a great alternative for something with a little more personality and function."
"Clutches, shoulder bags, and the aforementioned waist bag. From animal prints to crinkled patent, a little bit of texture adds a whole lot of punch. Bottega Veneta's woven leather pouch is a great example of a textured clutch that goes with just about anything."
"Tees are at the top of the 'things needing to be replaced every season' list. From tanks to long sleeves, basic white V-necks, crews, and scoop necks look great under jackets and cardigans. If you want to add a little texture or color, go for a ribbed or graphic style."
"Every season is the season to say out with the old and in with the new when it comes to denim. Distressed details are a good way to add texture, and a peek of ankle keeps it fresh. High-waisted cropped trouser and straight-leg styles are having a huge moment—take them into cooler temperatures with a tall ankle-hugging bootie, suede clog with an ankle sock, or your favorite sneakers. The Sacha high-rise wide-leg jeans by Citizens of Humanity are one of my most recommended styles. I also love high-waisted styles by CQY, a new denim line out of L.A."
"Jackets are one of my favorite styling pieces—in addition to adding polish to a suit, you can throw one over a dress or jeans to instantly create a finished look. For example, I’d pair a warm-tone houndstooth print, like the Chamberlain Blazer from L’Agence, with a fall floral dress in similar tones."