Downsizing? You Really Only Need These 10 Items in Your Fall Wardrobe

fall capsule wardrobe

Graphic by KCM

10 clothing items, endless outfit combinations.

If opening up your overstuffed closet feels more like going to war against hangers and clothing than a fun game of dress-up, it may be time to consider downsizing. Cleaning out your closet gives you time to reassess your style, reminds you of what you already have, and allows you to donate or sell items you no longer wear to others who will give them another life. 

Capsule wardrobes aren’t a new concept, but they’ve become popular again thanks to folks like Marie Condo, documentaries like Minimalism, and shows like The Home Edit. Organizing your closet can feel a lot like organizing your life, and having a few key items in your wardrobe instead of an overwhelming variety can make getting ready each day simpler. 

Some people opt to have a year-round capsule wardrobe with pieces they can wear no matter the season, while others like to curate capsules seasonally for a bit more variety. If you’re interested in the latter, or just want to zhush up your fall style, here’s how we would build our 10-piece fall capsule wardrobe. Looking for more inspiration? Try mining Katie’s favorite fall basics.

The Best Items for a Fall Capsule Wardrobe 2022

Versatile Jumpsuit


We love the flexibility of this jumpsuit, which has elegant deep v’s in the front and back and, thankfully, is made of a stretchy, comfortable material. Simply swap your red turtleneck for a green crewneck or white collared shirt to create new looks for the office, dinner, or a day of travel. Dress it up with a blazer and heeled boots, or keep it casual with sneakers instead.

Buy Here: $59.90

Drapey Black Pants

Vetta Capsule

Honestly, we’re not too upset about the alleged death of the skinny pant. You can find us rocking high-waisted, wide-leg trousers, just like dear Diane Keaton taught us to. This pair has the added benefit of being reversible, so you can opt for an elegant satin finish or a more casual, textured fabric facing out. They have an elastic waistband to ensure the perfect fit, every time.

Buy Here: $138

Comfortable, Water-Resistant Boots


One reason we don’t mind the end of summer is that it brings us sweater and boot season. (Can you blame us for enjoying those over uncomfortable bikinis and flip-flops?) Protect your feet from crunchy leaves and murky rainwater by ensuring you have a pair of water-resistant boots. This pair by Caslon is a Wake-Up Call reader favorite, and they come in a variety of colors and textures, so you’re sure to find a pair that suits your style. 

Buy Here: $100

Basic Turtleneck


Whether you wear it alone or under a button-up (à la Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give), a turtleneck is a versatile wardrobe staple that will last you years and years. Finding one that has a little stretch, like this one from Everlane, ensures that it’ll sit snugly on your figure and won’t get bunched up if you layer, but it also won’t feel too tight on your torso.

Buy Here: $50

Reliable Jeans


A comfortable, neutral-colored pair of jeans is the ultimate wardrobe workhorse. They can easily be dressed up or down, worn regardless of season, and after a while they will mold to your body shape like a glove. This pair from Madewell has a medium blue wash that isn’t too dark or too light, and the high rise keeps you feeling supported without being restrictive.

Buy Here: $138

Long Sweater


After the rise of shackets, we’re dubbing this long sweater-jacket combo the swacket. Or jweater? Maybe we still need to work on it — we’ll think about it while wearing in our new piece. Functioning as a lightweight jacket, this duster-like sweater will keep you warm as temperatures begin to drop, but it’ll also dress up basic outfits thanks to its trench-like appearance. 

Buy Here: $62

Neutral Midi Dress


After years of the mini dress and dangerously high hemlines, the more modest midi dress is here to stay. While we’re all about showing off what you want, a longer dress like this one ensures you can comfortably sit down without mooning those around you. Plus, the mid-calf length is universally flattering, even if you’re on the more petite side like Katie. 

Buy Here: $168

Plaid Blazer


Much like leopard, plaid is basically a neutral pattern. Choosing one with subtle color variations will keep the pattern from feeling busy or bold, and opting for one in a hue that you wear often will ensure it goes with most everything else in your wardrobe. This has both brown and black accents, so you can wear it with both colors, and a blue accent stripe runs throughout for a tiny pop of color. 

Buy Here: $99

Crisp Button-Down

For Days

It’s time to transition your white button-down from swimsuit coverup to a normal shirt again. In the fall, you can wear this buttoned up and tucked into pants (using a French tuck of course, to make Tan France proud), open and layered over a turtleneck or tank top, or you can leave it slightly unbuttoned over a lacy bra or bodysuit if you’re feeling sultry on date night. 

Buy Here: $88

Edgy Leather Jacket


If a leather jacket feels too rocker for you, hear us out: You can easily soften its look by pairing it with more delicate, feminine textures like lace and linen. A moto-inspired cut adds an instant dose of cool to any outfit, and it’s also a perfect mid-weight jacket to throw on during brisk fall days.

Buy Here: $150