9 Outdated Fall Trends and 9 That Are Right on the Money


(Image credit: @sylviemus_)

Like clockwork, there are certain classic trends you can expect to come back every fall: plaid, tweed, black boots, cable-knit sweaters, and the like. However, there are other styles that we're happy to leave in the rearview mirror for the time being. To that end, I tapped my fellow Who What Wear editors and asked them about which fall trends feel outdated and which ones are perfect this year—and yes, you might want to take notes. 

Some of our editors' least-favorite fall trends? Capes, mini bags, and baggy sweater dresses. As for me, for some reason I associate cowl-neck sweaters with pumpkin spice lattes (and that's not a good thing), so I'll be putting aside that look for now. Considering fashion's cyclical nature, all of these are bound to come back at some point in the future, but there are lots of fantastic 2020 alternatives that are right on the money. Scroll down to shop. 


(Image credit: @katcollings)

Won't wear: capes

"A quintessential fall trend I'm not here for is capes. I feel like they're always trying to happen, but end up feeling niche and a bit costume-y for me. In theory, fall seems like the perfect season for them (cue the fantasy of twirling among falling leaves in Central Park with a latte and a cape), but I haven't met many capes that have convinced me they're worth the time. Maybe it's because I live in L.A., but I've got bigger (and fewer) outerwear fish to fry."

Will wear: slinky column dresses

"The slinky column dress is a trend I'm beyond excited about for fall. For starters, it feels refreshing after a summer of voluminous mini dresses. It's a trend that's all grown up and feels especially sophisticated. And perhaps most importantly of all, depending on the fabric, it's comfortable! You get a little bit of subtle '70s glamour while still staying squarely in my "comfort is king" mentality. If you're leaving the house, I love the idea of pairing the slinky maxi with a pair of tall stomper boots."


(Image credit: @fitzpatrickerin)

Won't wear: cowl-neck sweaters

"When shopping for sweaters, I personally don't think cowl-neck versions are the way to go. They're always awkwardly droopy and not super polished. I seem to associate them with pumpkin spice lattes (and that's not a good thing)." 

Will wear: sweater sets

"On the other hand, I love matching sweater sets (sans cowl-necks). Brands are really having fun with this trend, matching sweaters with all kinds of different dresses, pants, and skirts. Of course, you can always mix-and-match the pieces to get even more mileage out of them." 


(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Won't wear: mini bags

"I'm carrying a lot more things with me these days (think face masks, hand sanitizer, etc) so I'll be saying sayonara to the itty bitty, teeny tiny small structured bags that have been around and opting for more practical options."

Will wear: statement collars

"I'm 100% here for the vintage-inspired collars that continue their reign of popularity into fall. I'll be wearing one over a knit sweater with relaxed jeans when the cold weather hits."


(Image credit: @bobbyschuessler)

Won't wear: collarless leather jackets

I'm not as into those shrunken racer leather jackets as much—the silhouettes without a lapel. A classic moto jacket is more my speed.

Will wear: tailored leather pieces

"I'm quite into tailored leather pieces to bring an elevated, of-the-moment feel to a look. I'm talking about sleek leather trousers, blazers, dresses, and so on. The best part is that there are so many affordable options out there that look quite expensive."


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

Won't wear: fitted pantsuits

Going hand-in-hand with the rise in relaxed tailoring, I think we'll be seeing fitted, shrunken suiting shapes on the decline. If there's one thing that's defining style in 2020, it's definitely a movement to more comfortable fashion.

Will wear: loose-fitting trousers

"While tailoring isn't going away, we'll be seeing more relaxed silhouettes pop up for fall. I'm all about the looser, comfier takes on trousers that are replacing more fitted styles."


(Image credit: @allypayer)

Won't wear: over-the-knee boots

"I honestly don't see over-the-knee boots with really high heels being popular at all this year, for the obvious reason of: Where are we going to wear them? If I continue to primarily just go out to run errands and exercise this fall, I can promise that I'll be wearing either flats or sneakers to do so."

Will wear: loose-fitting blazers

"Boxy oversized blazers are the perfect thing to throw on over a T-shirt to step things up a bit without sacrificing comfort. It's only August but I'm already seeing them among the new arrivals of so many brands, so I think they're going to be the big fall jacket trend this year. They're also great if you like to wear skinny jeans in the fall, as they create a nice balance of proportions."


(Image credit: @laurenegg)

Won't wear: all-beige 

"Last season was all about the head-to-toe neutral look which I still plan on dabbling in, but not as much as the It color for fall 2020—gray."

 Will wear: all-gray

"'Groutfits' are expected to be everywhere this season and I can't wait to find ways to make the simple color feel interesting via contrasting textures and proportions."


(Image credit: @anna__laplaca)

Won't wear: baggy sweater dresses

Unlike those oversized sweater dresses that seem to swallow us whole, this season's crop of ribbed knit dresses are comfy, yes, but ultra-sleek and alluring, too.

Will wear: ribbed knit dresses

"Keeping warm has never looked better if you ask me, so I definitely plan on adding a ribbed knit dress (or even a few) to my wardrobe. They also happen to look incredible with tall leather boots, a look I plan on wearing on repeat."


(Image credit: @nicoleakhtarzad)

Won't wear: houndstooth

Houndstooth had a big moment last fall and winter, yet somehow seems to have disappeared this time around. While I won't be banishing the classic print from my closet any time soon since I'm sure it will come back eventually, I can't say I'll miss wearing it this year, either.

Will wear: patchwork

"On the flip side, the runways suggested that patchwork is on the up-and-up for the coming season, and I find myself uncharacteristically drawn to it in all forms from clothing to accessories."

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Erin Fitzpatrick
Senior News Editor

Erin got her start as a Who What Wear intern over 12 years ago—back when the site only published a single story per day. (Who What Wear has since increased that number twentyfold.) She graduated magna cum laude from USC, which is how she ended up moving to Los Angeles from her hometown of San Diego. In college, she also interned at Refinery29, where she was promoted to editorial assistant and then assistant editor. After nearly three years at R29, she came back to WWW in 2016, where she currently holds the title of senior news editor (as well as the unofficial title of resident royal expert—in case you haven't noticed her numerous Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton stories). She spends her days trying to incorporate her idols, Anna Wintour and Roger Federer, into as many stories as possible. Outside of work, she loves tennis, classic rock, traveling, and smothering her dog with affection.