Fall Wardrobe Essentials

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I have a love/hate relationship with fall. The colours, the weather, and the fashion save me from sinking into the mire of painful personal associations with this season. The food, the harvest and the fact that both my baby boy and my eldest girl have autumn birthdays give me reason to look forward to the weeks ahead.

Something possessed me to donate most of my (admittedly kind of shoddy) fall wardrobe last year when I was pregnant, and so this year as I was looking for warmer clothing, I found myself coming up with very little. My new promise to be more thrifty required me to make some careful choices about where and how to acquire a new fall wardrobe. My seasonal blues spurred me into some serious retail therapy.

First, I took stock of what I had. The panic set in when I opened the Rubbermaid tub in the basement to search for something to wear to a baby-naming ceremony. I had nothing. Not one stitch of dressy fall clothing. I started from there. On the long car ride to the city to attend said ceremony, I shopped. My go-to place now is ThredUp, a very gently used clothing resource that currently only ships to the US. No big deal for me because we have a box at the UPS store in Niagara Falls, NY which is a short jaunt from where we currently live.

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I got twenty pieces consisting of dresses, tops and skirts for $290.00. A second visit and $250 later, I got some dressy fall clothes for the girls (three dresses each), seven work-appropriate and dressy tops for Mama S, and four sweaters and two pairs of pants for me. All of this stuff will look brand new because ThredUp is so particular about their quality control. For an additional $200 I rounded things out with a trip to good old Value Village. There I bought a full-length, mint condition, black wool Cole Haan coat for $17; a chocolate-brown Tory Burch sweater for $7; a long light beige cashmere Max Mara coat for $18; a couple of cardigans; an adorable pair of twill wide-legged denim like pants; a pair of brand new navy suede Nine West loafers that are like walking on pillows; a beautiful tunic dress, a couple of casual tops, and a hand-woven sweater. I think there were a couple more goodies in there, but I can’t think of what they are at the moment. Oh yes, three more tops for Mamma S.

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Now I have a LOT of fall clothes, and I spent a total of $740 between myself and three other people. Second-hand shopping requires patience, it’s true. I think it also speaks to a certain personality type – someone who loves color and texture and combing through a mountain of stuff to find treasure.

My search for excellent thrift stores has led me to the following excellent links:

trendtrunk.com – Canadian!

And of course the old fall-backs:


Here’s my list of fall wardrobe basics:

Three dressy dresses
Three casual dresses
Two pairs of jeans, one skinny, one that could be dressed up
Two pairs of casual pants
Two pairs of dress pants
One blazer in a neutral color you will wear frequently
One crisp white button down, long-sleeved
Three blouses
Three skirts
One pencil skirt
One chambray shirt
One maxi skirt

Three pullover sweaters
Three cardigans
One lightweight casual jacket
One lightweight dressy jacket
One casual coat
One dressy coat
Two pairs of comfortable flats
Two pairs of heels
One pair of riding boots
Two pairs of dressy boots
One pair of booties
Several pairs of footed tights in neutral colors and interesting textures
One large autumn colored bag
Three fall scarves
One wooly infinity scarf

I’m sure that most people could survive on less, and of course I know I don’t need clothes to be happy, but I will be the first to freely admit that opening my closet every morning to a sea of rich autumn hues and cozy textures makes me smile. I love clothes, and I feel good about recycling. Now I just need to find somewhere to wear everything!

Here’s a link to my Fashion board on Pinterest for further inspiration:

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