Fall is just around the corner. I’m switching things up a bit this fall in how I present the wardrobe essentials for the season. In fact, I’ll be presenting my entire fall wardrobe to you soon in capsule form. And I’ll have shoppable options at different price points if you’d like to create a similar wardrobe from the items in your closet plus a few new things. But today I thought I’d start with just the base layers…for a couple of reasons. Read on!
First of all, I won’t be including the base layer essentials in my capsule wardrobe. Instead, it will consist of the more interesting pieces that add personality and style. But of course that fall capsule wardrobe won’t work without functional base layers.
Second, I think it’s important to have both classic base layers in your wardrobe as well as a few interesting ones. Even base layers can have personality and interesting details. But if all of your base layers have lots of details, you’ll be at a loss when you need something pared back and, well, basic to complete an outfit. So it’s good to strike a nice balance.
Shopping for Base Layers
Base layers include basic items that provide the backdrop for the interesting blouses, shirts, jackets and sweaters you’ll love wearing in the fall. In most instances, these are garments you’ll be wearing right next to your skin. So when you shop for base layers, I suggest you look for:
- decent quality
- easy garment care instructions
- great fit
- basic neutrals
- necklines you prefer
- breathable or moisture wicking fabrics (because you’re wearing these next to your body)
- no fuss, muss or itch
- superior comfort
- interesting details for some, but not all
And while you certainly don’t need to replenish all of your base layers every year, it is wise to carefully examine what’s in your closet and drawers (or storage, as the case may be) for wear and tear. Since you may be prone to wear these essential garments frequently, they can begin to look worn, faded and stained with time. So you may need to refresh your base layer essentials as we approach a new season.
Which Base Layers You Need
Since we’re talking fall, the weather will be up and down. So I do suggest you have t-shirts with varying sleeve lengths in your closet for the season. The same principle applies to other base layers. You’ll need a variety of lengths and weights of fabric.
For the fall I like to have short and long sleeve basic t-shirts in white and black. Then I usually sprinkle in a few in neutrals like navy, oatmeal or grey as and if I find them to suit me. If you like or prefer 3/4 length sleeves, those work here, too. I generally prefer v-necks because I think they are more flattering, opening up to the face and showing a little more skin. But I do make sure I have a few crewnecks, too, just because some outfits seem to call for them. Of course, you may opt for boatnecks, scoop necks or the trending squared necklines, too.
You may also want to have some tank tops. I find I wear those more in the summer, but they’re a good option for wearing under blazers and cardigans in the earlier days of fall.
I’ve gathered some of my favorite t-shirts and tanks at a variety of price points in the shopping widget below. Remember, these and all other links in this post are affiliate links. If you shop through them I potentially earn a commission, but at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my work here by shopping through my links. I am grateful.
Once you have the basics covered, I think it’s smart to add a few simple t-shirts that have more interesting details. The details could be in the sleeves, the stitching, the fabric or the neckline. For instance, Henley, polo and Johnny collars are all trending right now. I’d definitely suggest adding one or more of those to your wardrobe. But you can also find t-shirts with small ruffles at the edges of the sleeves, ribbing throughout and exposed seams. These simple details can elevate your basic jeans and t-shirt outfits to the next level.
The top above is a good example of a base layer tee with a little more styling, but I’m just showing it in this baby blue because that’s what I happen to own. I also have the white one. And, again, I think it’s a good idea to get a few of these more interesting tees in the neutrals of your choice as well as maybe one or two of your signature colors. And I purchased the one shown below for this fall.
Having a few of these more interesting t-shirts in your wardrobe can be the game changer that helps you create really great outfits. However, I have found that the money is in the details. In other words, you pay for those little interesting collars and sleeves. So they can take a toll on your budget.
But no worry, you don’t need but a couple of these to make a real difference in your wardrobe. This year I added just the Henley Pullover above and this black ribbed button front pullover. Both fit close to the body but are not tight. I wear my usual size medium in them very comfortably. I rounded up more at various price points in the widget below.
Some years I enjoy button-up shirts more than other years. But this year they are really trending, and I’ve decided to join in. I’ll be featuring a few printed button-up shirts in my fall capsule, but for those essential base layers I think it’s smart to have one or two very simple solid shirts.
I purchased the Open Edit Fitted Button Up Shirt in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but it’s still a reasonable price. This cotton poplin shirt runs true to size; I’m wearing a medium. I like how I can turn up the cuffs on this crisp white shirt.
I also have the Chico’s Fitted Stretch Shirt shown above. I really appreciate the tailored silhouette of this comfortable shirt. At the website you’ll see they offer this shirt in regular and fitted; mine is the fitted. The regular fit appears to have some black top stitching and it does not have the seams in the front. So choose the option that works best for your body and wardrobe. I like the fitted option because it will work nicely with fuller width long trousers.
But this year oversized button up shirts are definitely trending, so I’m all for having at least one of those among your base layers, too. I recently purchased the famed Frank & Eileen Joedy superfine cotton button up shirt above. I do love this shirt, but I mistakenly ordered the large. Fortunately I was able to return it for a medium, which hopefully will arrive soon. These shirts are spendy, but they are beautifully crafted to fit a woman’s body (including a button situation right at the bust), feel amazing on and are from a woman-owned American small business, which I love.
I also love having a great chambray or denim shirt in my wardrobe for fall.
I’ve collected more button up shirts for you to shop below. The Chico’s Fitted Stretch Shirt is not included in the widget. Oh, and don’t let me box you in. If your style aesthetic calls for a softer shirt or a different silhouette or color, you do you. Just make sure you have the base layer essentials you need for your wardrobe to work for you. I’m just sharing what works for me here.
I know many women enjoy wearing pretty, simple camisoles under a blazer or cardigan during the fall. I’ve tried this option off and on over the past few years and haven’t really hit on one I like. However, I’ve decided to give it another try this year, so I hunted for one yesterday at Nordstrom. I struck out with several that I tried, but ended up purchasing this one from Rag & Bone in black. Since I spent so much on that one, I won’t be purchasing more than one. Ha! In fact, I’m not sure I’m keeping it. Tags are still on! But it was the only one that really suited me at all in the store.
The reason I purchase this camisole is because it fits close to the body and isn’t too long. It has adjustable spaghetti straps, so I can wear it to fit my body. I won’t be wearing it at all without a jacket or cardigan, so I’ll probably still wear a regular bra with it. Others didn’t make the cut because they were too flowy at the midsection, they were too low at the chest, they were uncomfortable or they didn’t come in colors that worked for my wardrobe.
If you enjoy this outfit formula or want to give it a try, I’ve collected a variety of camisoles at different price points in the shopping widget below. Oh, and keep in mind, these are not the same as the camisoles or tanks I’ll wear later for warmth under sweaters and such. I’ll be sharing those as undergarments later. These camisoles are meant to be worn alone under a completer piece.
The final set of base layer essentials I’m going to share is denim. While some may have a dressier wardrobe in which jeans play a lesser role, they are indeed the bottom base layer I wear most days in the fall. Because I wear them frequently in “real life” and need a variety for my job here and on my YouTube channel, I have a lot of jeans. More than most women would probably really need. But only a few of these are recent purchase; most are jeans I’ve had in my closet for a while now.
Of all my jeans I think the Le Sylvie High Waist Raw Hem Crop Jeans I purchased in last year’s NSale are my favorite. They’re in the trending straight leg silhouette, have a raw edge that isn’t overly ragged, have no distressing, fit at the true waist and feel absolutely fabulous.
But I’m also still enjoying my Talbots’ straight leg jeans, too. They fit true to size and feel really nice, too.
But this year I have added some of the newer silhouettes. I’m anticipating wearing the wide leg full length jeans with booties, clogs and maybe other heels.
And I’m looking forward to wearing the flare leg jeans more this year, too.
I’ve also added new grey and black jeans to my wardrobe this year. Here’s a graphic with all the jeans in my fall wardrobe. Yes, it’s a lot. But I like to have the jeans I’ll need to share interesting stylish looks with you throughout the season. By the way, I do have in my possession other pairs of jeans that I love from Loft, Target, Chico’s, Madewell, J.Crew and others, but I keep them just for blog posts and videos so that I’ll have a variety to share. The ones below are in my personal wardrobe.
A lot of my denim is premium because I’ve just grown to love the difference. When you buy premium denim, not only do you get the best fit because these brands have done the research to create great fitting jeans, but you also get better denim. It’s softer, has good stretch but does not stretch out with wear, and has a prettier texture. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you get jeans that have been responsibly sourced and produced in factories with good wages and safe, clean working environments. In fact, Frame, Mother, Joe’s, Fidelity and Paige all manufacture their jeans in the U.S.
But I’ve collected jeans that I am familiar with and can highly recommend at a variety of price points in the shopping widget below. Just make sure you have good denim that works for your body, lifestyle, personal style aesthetic and needs.
So we’ll wrap it up there today. In a few days I’ll share the rest of my fall wardrobe. But hopefully today’s post got you to thinking through your base layers for the fall. Have a great day!
Blessed for My Day
After a few days of steadily growing more and more discouraged as I thought on certain matters, I knew it was time for a mind shift. Yesterday morning I was confronted with Psalm 145 in my quiet time. Honestly, I found this Psalm to bring me great relief. It reminded me that if I’ll switch my focus from myself to my God, I will see everything from a different perspective. The psalmist reminded me in verse five to choose to meditate on God’s character and His wondrous works rather than my problems or concerns.
I decided to deliberately put this principle into practice. Throughout the day when my mind drifted in certain directions, I consciously chose to think instead about the Lord. I meditated on His righteousness, His holiness, His goodness and His grace. I remembered how He had provided for me at different times in my life. And I reflected on how much He has blessed me and my family. Sure enough, this little mindful practice changed my outlook as the day went on. But it also helped me to see some things in my life with more clarity. I think my self-centered focus was preventing me from seeing some bigger truths that God generously opened my eyes to with clearer thinking. I wonder if you might want to read Psalm 145 and change your thinking today, too?
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. ~ Psalm 145:5