Happy October! I’m currently sipping hot tea and listening to HAIM’s latest album while rain taps on the window next to me. Fall weather is moving in and I couldn’t be happier.
So let’s jump in! Today I’m excited to share my fall starter kit and three of my go-to outfit formulas.
My fall starter kit
Even though I don’t keep a strict capsule anymore, I do love pulling together a few clothes that represent my style. So here’s my fall starter kit! Think of it as kind of a mini capsule or a seasonal wardrobe foundation.
A starter kit is an excellent place to start if you’re interested in trying a capsule, but just don’t want to make the leap. It’s also great if you’ve done a capsule in the past but you don’t have the time or brain power to spend on an official capsule right now. (That’s where I am.)
The best way to put together a starter kit is ask a few questions and listen to your gut. Here are the questions I asked myself:
1 | What’s the weather like in the fall where I live?
I live in Texas, and while the weather can be unpredictable in the fall, it usually leans a little towards the warmer side. Warm weather means I don’t need to stock up on thick sweaters, but instead I need to focus on transitional pieces that can be worn alone in warm weather or layered in cool weather. (Like short sleeves, open back shoes, etc.)
2 | What’s my lifestyle like right now? Where do I spend most of my time?
I live in a small town, and I spend most of my time working from home or a coffee shop, so my lifestyle is super casual. No need for fancy/formal clothes.
3 | What colors am I into right now? What colors do I already have going in my wardrobe that might work for fall?
I’m always into cognac. Always, always, always. It’s already going strong in my wardrobe so I can definitely use it for fall. Complimentary colors? Cream, black, denim blue, and other shades of warm neutrals. Done and done.
4 | And my favorite question: How can channel coziness into this wardrobe, even if my weather is warmer than average?
I may not have a need for big sweaters, scarves, and beanies, but I can definitely channel fall through texture — soft suede, nubby fabrics, and cozy knits. Silhouettes like wide leg pants and mock neck tops could add vintage vibes and coziness. And my warm color palette will definitely channel fall.
And there you have it. While I’m usually a fan of planning by writing things down, this time I simply stood in front of my closet, pulling 10-15 pieces together as I mentally went through these questions. Easy, peasy. The whole thing took about 30 minutes.
Have a look:
If you find a piece you like, you can shop it and support Unfancy at the same time by using the affiliate links below. Clockwise, from top:
2 | PRINTED DRESS (old by Christy Dawn, similar styles available, made responsibly) | Similar (on sale)
5 | WIDE LEG PANTS by Esby (made responsibly) | Similar (under $70, made responsibly)
6 | BROWN BAG by Live FashionABLE (made responsibly)
7 | WHITE SNEAKERS by Veja (made responsibly)
8 | BLACK DENIM by Mott + Bow (made responsibly)
9 | CARDIGAN by Cuyana (made responsibly) | Similar
10 | MULES (old by Madewell, still available in navy) | Similar
11 | HIGH RISE FADED JEANS by Citizens of Humanity (made in USA) | Similar (under $60)
12 | SHORT SLEEVE SWEATER by Madewell
Three outfit formulas
Wide leg pants (similar, under $70) | Tank | Sneakers | Bag | Sunnies | Camera
I’m taking the plunge and trying wide leg pants! I haven’t worn a wide leg pant in a loooong time, so it’s taken me a little while to figure out how to wear them in a way that feels true to my style.
But here’s my secret when I’m styling a new piece that’s outside my style comfort zone:
I sandwich it between familiar pieces I feel mega comfortable in.
Like how I did here, sandwiching these wide leg pants between the most basic grey tank and my plain white sneakers.
And suddenly, it doesn’t feel like I’m trying too hard. It doesn’t feel weird. It just feels like … me.
Jeans | Sweater | Bandana | Mules (similar) | Sunnies
Hello transitional fall outfit!
I’m currently learning the value of transitional clothes — you know, things like short sleeve sweaters or mules. In the past, I thought they were kind of silly. Why get a short sleeve sweater when I can get a real sweater?
But it comes back to being realistic about the weather where I live — instead of getting caught up in fantasy fall. Fall in Texas is usually pretty mild — ideal for those transitional pieces.
So I’m slowly trying to adopt a few into my wardrobe. And so far, they are proving to be exceptionally useful.
(Also, this outfit pretty much sums up my color palette for fall: faded denim, cream, and cognac.)
Dress | Bag | Brown Purse | Sneakers
When I got this dress a while back, I thought it might be a little too “out there” for my style. But I reach for it all the time. Turns out, I feel a little “out there” a lot. :)
Anyway, I’m especially a fan of the contrast between the long sleeves + shorter length. Chalk up another transitional outfit for fall.
This particular dress isn’t available anymore, but there are plenty of other styles available. And, cool fact: Christy Dawn uses only deadstock fabric (AKA the left over fabrics of other fashion houses who overestimated their needs). These companies hold on to their excess fabrics for a few seasons and then send them to the landfills. Christy Dawn rescues those deadstock fabrics before they are thrown away and turns them into beautiful dresses.
If you happen to find a dress you like, you can get $30 off through this link or the links above.
• • •
And there you have it!
Before we wrap up, I’ve got a couple of things to share with you:
First up, some exciting news: My friend Lee of StyleBee and I are kicking off the fall 10×10 challenge on Friday, October 6th! We’ll share our 10 pieces on Friday, and then outfits start the following Monday!
Not sure what I’m taking about? Here’s how the 10×10 challenge works: Pick 10 items of clothing from your closet. Include tops, bottoms, and shoes for your everyday life. Don’t include accessories, bags, PJs, or gym clothes — they can flow in and out freely. Then, for 10 days, create a new outfit each day using your 10 items. (Here’s my 10×10 quick start guide if you want a more in-depth explanation).
And finally, on a personal note, I just wanted to thank you for all of your kindness, love, and encouragement on my last post. You guys are so full of light — thank you for sharing it with me. I felt your support, your care, your warmth. And right now, that matters more than ever. Thank you.
I do want to let you know that my blog will be a little quieter than usual for a little while, as I work through some of my anxiety. I’ll still be posting, but just not on a regular schedule.
Whew! Lots of announcements today. :)
Now I want to hear from you: Are you doing a full capsule this fall or is a starter kit more your style? How’s your fall wardrobe shaping up so far? And will you be joining us for the 10×10 this time around? (I’m SO excited!)
Leah Wise says
I LOVE this color palette and that everything is either high quality or made responsibly. Beautiful flat lays, too. I’ve been in a bit of a printed textile phase, so currently trying to find a way to not look like a small child with all the pattern mixing.
Thanks for modeling good self care. Have a nice break!
Try google image searching “Jenna Lyons style” for how to mix patterns without looking like a child. Sometimes she misses the mark but it’s better not safe than bored!
I have so many of those same pieces, it’ll be fun to see what you do with them. I live in the opposite climate though so I probably won’t be able to copy dang it! :) I have what I call my core capsule and it’s the clothes that all go together that form the core of my wardrobe, and then I can mix in the wilder thrift and vintage finds. So far I feel like I’ve got a handle on the upcoming cold(er) weather this year. Ask me again in a few weeks though. ;)
Ha! I know that feeling — thinking I’ve got it made and then being surprised that I don’t! Good luck! :)
Hi Caroline! Thank you for another inspiring post, I’m loving your blog more than ever. I just wanted to leave a note about anxiety based on my personal experience. For the last ten years (yikes!) I had to deal with my own anxiety. It made me understand other people too and for that I’m grateful but it made feel. . well…anxious :) ! I had panic attacks and I know (really know) that a lot of it is due to my personal history BUT a couple of months ago I tried Magnesium Citrate (there are other kinds of magnesium but for me this one is the best, I take the solgar one!) and oh boy diz it made a difference!
I hit comment before finishing :) I really recommend taking a suplement of Magnesium Citrate to esse anxiety. I wish you all the best!
Works wonders for my anxiety as well. I use a supplement called Calm.
Ahh this is too cute! I love all of these ideas and outfits, such a great fall post!!
I love your color palette! I’m *trying* to incorporate more whites/creams into my wardrobe. My clumsiness definitely gives me pause any time I pick a light garment up and consider it.
I’m happy to say I plan on joining you for the 10×10! I’m used to traveling with a limited number of items, but I tend to repeat outfits when I’m away. Not repeating here will definitely be a challenge! Also, there’s just something about living in the South where people get weird about repeat outfits. I totally love it (if it works, it works!) but sometimes people in my area get a little judgmental…
I don’t know why people are weird about repeating it! If I find something I love, I want to wear it again. “Never wear the same outfit twice!” is really just a refrain of the department store to encourage consumerism.
So glad you and Lee will be sharing 10×10 again. Plus, how sincere you have been to share what you are doing in your life the things that work for you. Inspirational. – Laurel
Any chance you have found a good source for ethical short and long sleeve t-shirts? I am really struggling to find fitted, 100% cotton shirts. All of the ethical options I’ve found are too boxy to layer, and they don’t fit with the rest of my wardrobe.
Grana are an ethical company, similar to Everlane in terms of transparency and ensuring quality. They have decent basic tees 100% Pima cotton and they wear very well. Good to layer with too – long and short sleeve available (and also peruse the men’s options because they have styles and colours the women’s may not have that suit better).
Hi Mandy – I’m not Caroline, but I love Cuyana’s t-shirts. They don’t offer many colors, but that might be a great place to start.
Anna W says
I can’t wait for the 10×10! Not sure yet if I’ll be posting every day, but Instagram + initial post + wrap-up post really worked well for me in the summer when hubs and I were in the middle of moving!
So grateful for you!
I’m also not Caroline, but I’ve had good luck with Amour Vert’s T’s. They have a ton of variety, and their customer service is great. They’re also rated as “good” on Good On You, which is my go-to app for looking at how sustainable a brand is. Good luck on your search!
Have you tried Tradlands, Mandy? I haven’t yet, but hear the quality and fit are really good. I also like the recs above! :)
You all are the best! I will check out all of your great suggestions. Thank you!
Hi. I am super curious about length of the pant leg for those wide leg pants. Where should they fall to? Pant length is always an issue for me (as a 6 foot tall woman!) I tend to stay away from wide legs in general, because though I am fairly slim I’m not by any means tiny, and am afraid they’ll make me look bigger! But they are so pretty!
Hi Sara — the inseam is around 26″, but not sure how much that varies from size to size. I would guess they should fall anywhere from 1-3″ above the ankle. Some of the taller models in their lookbook are wearing the pants and they land fairly high on the leg, but still look cool! :)
Beautiful blog post! x
Reed Floarea says
I love your color palette! I can understand real vs fantasy fall – I live in Denver, but grew up in New England so I crave (and expect) rainy, crisp falls, but that only happens occasionally in Denver, spattered between 70 degree days. I’ve been inching my way into sustainable, slow fashion for a year or so now and am LOVING it! This fall is my first time doing a “capsule” wardrobe, although I suppose I’m starting with more of a fall foundational wardrobe. This will also be my first 10 x 10! I did one for late June – late July, but it was mostly out of necessity since my husband and I were visiting home for the month and I didn’t want to pack much. Excited to be joining y’all this time around!
Woohoo! Hope you enjoy the experiment, Reed! :)
Love these transitional outfits! Living in LA, I have to focus on not getting too carried away with warm clothes during fall. I also just got those Esby pants, and I’m loving them with my favorite basics. I think the color makes them special but also is neutral enough to keep them super wearable.
Agree, Lo! I’m loving them for those reasons too. :)
Hi Caroline, I love your colour theme for autumn. I am looking forward to the 10×10 challenge as I have enjoyed the last very much. Thanks for your sharing your last post. It is important to take care of yourself. With your yoga teacher training and meditation I think you are on the right path to happiness.
Hi, happy to see an upbeat outfit post from you again. But thank you for sharing such personal thoughts with us on your blog. That’s one reason why I love your blog so much: it is not superficial blah blah blah but there is a very warm and caring person behind it. Wishing you all the best:-)
As for my fall wardrobe, I’m putting my summer clothes in storage these days. I have added some ethically made t-shirts, a floral bomber jacket with closet hero potential, and some ethically made sneakers by Ethletic to my wardrobe. So that’s a starter kit, and I think I’m fine with that. So many old friends waiting to be worn in my closet. Yay, I might be cured for good from my shopping habit. Your blog was the first one that got me thinking almost two years ago. Thank you.
I love this starter kit approach! A capsule has always been a bit intimidating to me, but taking some basic ideas into account when making choices for the Season is something I can get behind.
I’m so happy to see your post today – your blog is one of my favorites and I adore everything about it. Anxieties can slow us down and make life challenging day to day, this I know from experience as well, but know that no matter what you deal with or how long a pause you take, many of us will be here to happily welcome you whenever you’re around. You’re taking care of yourself, and that is the most important thing you can do. There’s no time limit on self-care.
Victoria Fodale says
Thanks for your common sense approach to clothing! I work at home and live in a warm climate too.
Thanks for the inspiration! I live in San Antonio and it’s nice to see some Texas fall clothes :)
Last year I put alot of work and money in to my autumn capsule, its my favourite season to dress in and I was desperate to get it right. This year, I don’t have the money I did last year, and I wasn’t really looking forward to having to go through it and seeing how much wasn’t going to work for me this year. Turns out, the effort I put in last year really paid off! I still love every single item I have and have just pulled it out and started loving getting dressed! Thank you for your wonderful guidance over the years Caroline, I couldn’t have done it without you!
Ah, that’s so awesome Jen! I’m so happy it worked out well for you! :)
Hello Caroline, there is so much to wrap our collective heads around these days, now to include Las Vegas. My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering loss directly or indirectly from this horrible shooting, to those who lost their very lives. I no longer seem able to understand my fellow human beings. I can only hope for better days, more responsible behavior, far less hate. Your community here does give me hope and I truly thank you all for this.
I’m sorry to miss your 10 x 10 on instagram. It is my choice, of course, but I cannot support it or facebook (more specifically the entity behind both). Whenever you do post on your blog, I will be happy to see it. Thank you, Caroline. Cheers, Ardith
Thanks for your input Ardith. Oof, it’s rough out there right now. :( Thanks for following along with the blog.
I love that you’re leaning into those responsible/ethical retailers! I just heard about Cuyana this week, and it was cool to see them appear on your list. Have you checked out Amour Vert at all? I love them!
I haven’t ordered anything from them yet, but I am digging the looks! :)
Love this post!!! So helpful for me, I live in San Antonio and also struggle with “fantasy fall” clothes, haha. Great ideas for “fall” pieces here in Texas :)
Alexa M Johnson says
It just started to cool down here in Boston. At least you can still enjoy the warm weather!
I love the starter kit idea! That’s definitely what I’ll be doing this fall.
Sad to hear that you won’t be posting updates on the 10×10 here. While I have instagram, for my own mental space, I prefer to keep it to actual personal connections only. I don’t follow many blogs, and we have very different styles, but I really enjoy your posts and the substance around the process. But obviously, you have do what works for you!
Hey Gabby, I appreciate that! And I’ll still be posting to the blog, just not daily :)
I only wear wide legged pants, and I like to pair them with tighter tops (the opposite of slim pants and boxier tops). Keeps it from being too much, since I’m short.
That’s a great look, Sarah. I tend to do the same! :)
Just wanted to say thank you for your beautiful blog. I’ve always struggled with my style, especially as I move further into adulthood (graduated college a year ago) and discovering Un-Fancy was an incredible gift. I’ve taken so many of your recommendations and have started to actively get excited about putting outfits together, and loving the pieces that I own. You’ve definitely helped me through something that used to cause me anxiety, and I’m super grateful for that.
I’m also really glad you share your items and then cheaper versions as well. It’s so helpful for someone (such as a recent college grad) to know where to find fashionable but not bank-breaking clothes.
Anyways, just wanted to let you know I really appreciate your blog and I actively look forward to new posts and instagram photos for you! I’m excited to see your 10×10 choices!
Thanks again :)
So nice to hear these kind words. Thank you so much, Erin! :)
Great to see this ‘fall starter kit’ a great way to do a mini capsule for the season. I found your blog about 6 months after going down the rabbit hole of different webpages, first clicking on an article a friend posted on facebook, and I’M SO GLAD I found your blog. I have done two of my own capsules for the last two seasons and it has made getting dressed in the morning much easier and I’ve also been much happier with my choices and how I feel in my clothes. So thank you so much for setting up this website and having it all here for free, it’s really helped me and I’m on the other side of the world in Australia.
I’m really impressed with your ethical clothing choices and it’s something I’m going to try. I also love your planning for shopping each season, something else I am trying but not always succeeding at…..however practice makes progress!
It’s also nice to hear from you as a person, see your lovely house renovations and hear how you’re feeling. All the best for the teacher training yoga course, I’ve had friends who’ve done it and found it really worthwhile. A physio friend of mine posted about ‘radical self care’ in the winter we’ve just had and I tried to do it. She had three main points, here’s the video if anyone’s interested:
Look forward to seeing the next 10×10, just need to sign up to instagram to see this one!
This is such awesome feedback. Thank you, Kirra! And I’ll still be posting about the 10×10, just not on a daily basis. :) Thanks for following along!
Hi Caroline, it’s okay I joined instagram and am looking forward to the 10×10 on there! Your website has truly made my life much better, we’re just changing from winter into spring weather here in Australia so I need to re-do my kind of capsule. Might join in the next 10×10 but just going to watch this one. Enjoy!
your tips are so simple and practical, been loving the camel cognac vibe!
Hi Caroline – I can’t wait to see some of these outfits on you. I’m sure you will rock the wide legged pants! I’m excited about the #fall10x10!
Thanks for all your advice over the years. I’ve learned so much from you. I’m finally starting to feel like I’ve got this wardrobe / clothing thing almost figured out! If you’re interested, I posted some of my thoughts here: http://sustainablefashionchat.com/discussion/21/finding-your-style-and-your-ideal-wardrobe-maybe-a-capsule-maybe-not#latest
Thanks again, Caroline!
Mary-Ellen Krull says
Hi Caroline! Will you be posting a photo of you wearing the wide leg pants? I bought a pair of wide leg Madewell jeans and have had a hard time styling them. I put them on and take them off. The proportions don’t feel right somehow.
Also, is your dress the Phoenix?
I am inspired to put together a starter kit too!
Hi Mary-Ellen! Yes, I’ll definitely be sharing photos in the pants. :) And the dress is the Natalie Rib Dress: http://bit.ly/2knyq33. I’m loving it!
In 90 degree Fort Worth, so I am bringing fall into my wardrobe with burgundy accessories. I just ordered a burgundy purse from FashionABLE, and burgundy Vejas from Anthro. Thanks for introducing me to those brands!
Great idea, Erica! Love that burgundy color :)
One thing I’ve been asking myself before the start of each season is “where am I mentally”, and it’s been a game changer when it comes to my wardrobe and self-image. If I’m feeling anxious and I know that my anxiety will be present for most of the season, then I make sure to keep my wardrobe filled with very basic well-loved items. There’s no need add any crazy colors or cuts to my wardrobe. I just want to wear something that makes me feel comfortable.
If I’m feeling confident and good about myself that season, then I know that I can add trendier pieces to my wardrobe. I might break out my lower cut pieces or go shopping for something in that’s season’s “it” color.
I have found that asking myself this simple question has made a huge difference in not just my wardrobe but my life overall.
So important Leah! Thanks for sharing this sound advice with us! :)
Hey Caroline! I love your blog I’m just wondering if you could be more up front about items if they were gifted to you. I noticed a few other bloggers have been posting that Madewell white sweater that was just released online for purchase a few days ago.
I love all the outfits you put together but it would be helpful to know how your pick your pieces and if your are compensated for them – even if they are not ethical brands. I buy a lot of the things you post because I love your style!
Hi Caroline! I have been thinking of getting the Veja sneakers because I love the look of all the styles they have…but how versatile and comfy are they? I have a hard time finding a sneaker I LOVE!
Carrie Colbert says
I love these outfits you styled! Such great fall looks
So excited to see a post about creating a wardrobe for fall in warmer climates! I live in Florida where the weather is pretty much the same year round but I try to change up color and texture… your post is inspiring!
Hi there! I’m thinking about investing in the Cuana cashmere cardigan. Do you find it pills or is the quality ok?
I’m wondering the same thing. Did you end up buying it?
Now that you’ve had the Cuyana cashmere cardigan for over a year how have you found it’s held up? I’m considering biting the bullet and buying it but sometimes cashmere can wear well as sometimes it can become super oily really fast and look worn. I have a sweater stone to clean up pills but I don’t want to need to do that too often, especially on a thinner knit.
Hi! This is absolutely wonderful. Will you be posting another Starter Kit for Fall 2018? :D
It’s been a year since you posted this and I hope you are doing well.
Just wanted to let you know that the reason I came here is that after a couple of successful capsules I felt uninspired and mostly without enough headspace to figure one out for winter, and you once again offer the solution. Thanks for all your work and all the best for the holidays!