The 7 Wardrobe Essentials to Invest in This Season

Although most of 2021 felt like an extreme survival exercise, the Fall season gives us lots of reasons to celebrate. Fashion’s message has never been more optimistic, so consider this your invitation to dial up the glamour and luxury with these 7 must-haves:


1 - CATSUIT and SHAPEWEAR.  VOGUE and POPSUGAR agree: begin with something sleek and body-hugging as a Fall foundation. The classic catsuit may be as lacy and sheer as lingerie, as interpreted by Tom Ford and Laquan Smith, or more subtle in its sexiness. And of course there’s the Persephone-like nether-realm of wet-look vinyl, rubber, liquid latex and PVC if your style-psyche has jumped the fence to howl at the moon in honor of the autumnal equinox (September 22).

But regardless, the point of this first layer is to mold to your curves. At the most daring end of the spectrum, many designers are now showing corsets and harnesses to be worn over a blouse. The fit of your defining layer should be snug, if not truly tight. This includes pieces designed as compression-wear or shapewear, which often are worn under clothes to trim your silhouette. This season, those seal-sleek separates emerge from the shadows as unapologetic day-wear, throwing light onto what is perhaps the season’s most important trend: mobility and freedom of movement.

Most of us feel like we’ve been cooped up forever, so the joy of getting out and about is so real. One expression of this is in athletic wear, but many of us have really had it up to here with cozy sweats and chunky sneakers.

Fashion’s response to this sense of release is sharp tailoring, sleek, smooth lines, aerodynamic shapes, and accessories made to reduce bulk.


2 - BOOTS THAT ARE BORN TO RUN.  The boot game takes many forms this fall, even including waffle-stomping platform combat and heavy lug-sole boots, and cowboy boot-inspired looks.

The most elevated (literally) expression is a slender, feminine, fierce profile: pointed toe, over-the-knee shaft if you’re wearing a minidress, and in the case of Casadei’s offerings, the signature 4.5-inch, stainless-steel blade heel.

If heights make you dizzy, never fear: the more merciful kitten-heel also is having a moment.  In keeping with the season’s call for sophisticated, body-conscious style that’s fast on its feet, choose a boot fabricated in a tensile stretch textile that fits like a second skin, like the new Taylor Boot by Khaite, now debuting in hot pink neoprene.


3 - PHONE TECH THAT LOOKS LIKE AN AMAZING WALLET. Truly great technology is invisible and feels effortless—and, most importantly, it makes your life easier. This applies to your choice of handbag, and especially to your phone habits. Choose a crossbody phone case for women with an elegantly slim strap and a secure, snapped pocket for your ID and credit cards.

There has never been a better time than right now to ditch your huge tote and travel light and hands-free. And it’s never been easier to keep your communications command center – your iPhone – right by your side. The pebbled-leather Napa Wallet & Crossbody Strap by Noemie slips on, blends seamlessly into your look day or night, and makes staying connected so easy. Classic black with vampy black hardware feels so right for right now, or choose chocolate or ivory leather.


4 - SUPER-POWER PINK. Not the singer, not the brand, the actual color. NOT washed-out Millennial Pink from a few seasons ago. Not baby-pink, not granny-pink, but the intense, blue-based, hot pink that Elsa Schiaparelli christened “Lé Shocking” almost a century ago. Think electric fuchsia with a side of neon magenta. Many spin-cycles ago, Diana Vreeland declared this “warrior pink” the navy-blue of India, and it does elicit strong responses. In fact, hot pink persists as such a favorite that perhaps now the color is the navy-blue (or beige) of America, too.

Not coincidentally, Starbucks just announced a new, limited edition Fall Collection Tumbler, in a hot pink studded jelly finish. At the 2020 Grammy Awards, Lil Nas X rocked the house in hot pink from Atelier Versace, and celebs (Marisa Tomie, Kerry Washington, Amy Schumer, Colson Baker/ Machine Gun Kelly??) kept popping up all over social media in the hot pink power suit. The original women’s hot pink power suit (now on perpetual backorder) was a collaboration of the Argent brand and Supermajority, a nonprofit which encourages women to vote: 10% of sales goes “…to build a powerful diverse women-led future where we are truly equal.”

But this season, there is no shortage of other hot pink options, from footwear to gel nail colors. If you’re feeling timid, try bubblegum or flamingo tones as a head-wrap. The “Rhoda”-style silk scarf (tied snugly over the hair, at the back of your head, not under your hair) is trending hard, and wearing bright pink next to your face makes you look rested and fresh. It’s energizing, like “instant health” blush!

And if you’re feeling fearless, check out the hot pink corset collection by Prabal Gurung for The Nines. This designer just elicited gasps with a Resort 2022 collection which includes a cut-out gown of hot pink sequins, combining a couple of sizzling trends.

As part of the current 1990s style revival, POPSUGAR declares “…sugar pink one of the biggest color trends of fall,” so much so that it’s become a new neutral, edging out the usual camel, rust and cocoa shades. Wear hot pink with neutrals, especially gray pinstripes, but also try it paired with other brilliant, high-voltage shades like tomato red, cobalt blue or tangerine.


5 - FAKE FUR. Ski-resort fantasies are piling up faster than you can order that first Pumpkin Spice Latte. Never mind that you hate the snow; there’s always the lodge with a roaring fire. Many designers have turned to ski-inspired fabrics and silhouettes to trigger what the Danes call hygge – (say, “you-guh”) – that feeling of snug, safe contentment one gets in the company of friends, in the warmth and firelight as the snow falls endlessly outside.

The must-have hygge item this fall is anything in faux-fur and faux-shearling. Animal rights activist Stella McCartney offers her vegan answer to the Ugg Fluff Yeah sheepskin slide with her new line of cruelty-free sandals and clogs lined in fake floof.  Another staple in this message is the latest incarnation of the bucket hat, newest and warmest when lined with fun-fur.

And, the puffa. It’s back—just ask Miu Miu, Thom Brown, Chanel, Givenchy and Christian Dior. Thom Browne even enlisted the help of professional skier and three-time Olympic medalist, Lindsey Vonn, to showcase his winter sports-inspired eveningwear. Pierpaolo Piccioli pushes the envelope to the max this season with ginormous quilted dresses and skirts – very much like wrapping yourself up in a down comforter – utilizing nylon laqué and African motifs in a collaboration with French-Italian sportswear designer Moncler.

Yes, all of this contradicts the season’s mandate to pare down and move fast. But “cloud coats” and other poufy, padded outerwear looks especially zingy when worn over a spaghetti-strap body suit – just be sure to show a bit of skin beneath that giant arctic parka.


6 - DENIM. We surrender. There’s just no avoiding it. We tried to sidestep the obvious, but there’s no escape. Denim is as much a part of the American psyche as hamburgers and baseball, so why fight it?

In fact, we love denim so much that the once-dreaded Canadian Tuxedo is now, finally de rigeur. If you’ve been hearing that skinny jeans are passé, you heard right. The coveted cuts for Fall are wide-legged, including knee-length shorts, and the choice of washes varies from deepest darks to 80s-era, acid-bathed finishes. Gucci offers Washed Denim Flares with a prominent logo label on the hem, and Loewe adds a bit of intrigue with Cutout High-Rise Straight Leg Jeans—the “cut-out” is a label’s anagram logo composed of script L characters, backed with sheer cotton gauze for contrast.  These sorts of cut-outs and appliqués are Fall’s upscale answer to ripped jeans.

Oh, but here’s what: if you just feel swamped in all of that fabric – especially since we’re saying that Fall, 2021 is all about paring life down to a few luxurious basics – go on with your bad self and wear those skinny jeans with just a little stretch where it counts.  They’re slimming, even if they’re not headline news.


7 - METALLIC MAGIC. Maybe because so many parties were cancelled in the past year and a half, it’s easy to feel like Cinderella and her dust-pan, left behind by her wicked stepsisters. To the rescue: metallic finishes everywhere, from a bit of micro-sparkle in your body crème, to Victoria Beckham’s new boot collection in polished silver or gold, to high-flying mirrored aviators that may or may not be a shout-out to President Biden. Mirrored cats-eye shades are also on the prowl for Fall.

Jewelry is naturally front and center in this trend. COSMOPOLITAN predicts that glinting, gleaming chandelier statement earrings and phat, hip-hop inspired gold chain chokers will persist as fashionista faves even when we are no longer taking Zoom calls night and day.

Glitter and glitz which was once reserved for cocktail hour or New Year’s Eve now finds its way into daywear, starting with the must-have metallic tops and minidresses. The topper: sequin coats and trousers from Prada and Valentino that confirm the good news: high times are here again. Yay!