The 5 Must-Have Clothing Items Every Woman Needs for Her Fall Wardrobe (PHOTOS)

If you're like me, you squeal at your first late-summer pumpkin latte sighting. You spot a brown leaf on the ground and rush home to pack away your spaghetti-strap tanks. But we all know we don't wake up in September suddenly confronting cold temperatures and the opportunity to snuggle by a fire wearing our chunkiest ski sweater. We need good, basic transition pieces that won't break the bank and that will help ease our summer wardrobes into fall. 

Before you start applying for new credit cards, restrain your desire to shop until you drop: you really only need five items to make your wardrobe autumn-ready. 

A turtleneck -- Yep, you read that right! Aside from proving itself a major fall trend on runways like Carolina Herrera and Donna Karan, rocking a turtleneck beneath your favorite summer dress not only prolongs your need to transition to cooler weather dresses, it's also a fresh and interesting alternative to wearing a cardigan. 

Textured or opaque tights -- You know all those great printed shorts you bought this summer? You don't have to get rid of them so quickly as long as you protect your legs in textured or opaque tights -- if in a hue other than black, even better -- along with a killer pair of ankle boots and a heavy knit sweater. 

Over-the-knees boots -- Yet another fall runway trend that autumn-ifies your lightest of summer dresses and updates your emerald or burnt orange skinny jeans.

Ankle boots -- The greatest thing about ankle boots is you can wear them with anything. From mini and maxi skirts to skinny jeans and fierce nineties-inspired dresses, they add spunk and charm to every outfit. The second greatest thing about ankle boots is that they're hot this season and you will find them everywhere -- in every style from combat boots to stiletto heel. 

A chunky, to-die-for, colorful scarf -- Somewhere between cardigan and coat weather lies a fuzzy, fabulous region where the scarf has taken over as an essential keep-warm-while-looking-amazing accessory. Not sure whether your office will turn on the air conditioning today for old time's sake? Not to worry -- the scarf does double duty as an indoor essential, as well. 

Check out the slideshow for inspiration on how to mix and match your summer favorites with these five transitional pieces.

Do you mix and match these pieces? 

Image via Rick Jones/Flickr

  • The Turtleneck


    Add unexpected flair to your aztec-inspired summer dress with a warm and trendy turtleneck in a fresh fall hue like tomato-red. Complete your foliage-friendly look with ankle boots in the perfect shade of cognac and a handmade burned wooden pendant. 

    Turtleneck ($24) from Lands' End, Abstract Thoughts Cutout Dress ($24.80) from Forever 21, Romantic Soles Sydney boots ($59) from, and Burned in Brooklyn necklace ($38) from Etsy

  • Opaque or Textured Tights


    Play Zooey Deschanel for the day by pairing your shortest, flirtiest skirt with bright, colorful opaque tights, flats, a warm turtleneck, and a statement necklace. 

    Karen Scott turtleneck ($44) from Macy's, Bingo Chipping in Skirt ($47.99) from, Royal Blue Necklace ($15) from Etsy, 'Moveover' Pointed Toe Flat ($49.95) from Nordstrom, and UO Opaque Tight in Rust ($12) from Urban Outfitters

  • Over-the-Knee Boots and Colorful Scarves


    Skinny jeans in an autumn color like emerald green get a dose of hip with over-the-knee boots. Prepare for fall's unpredictable weather by pairing them with a simple white tank and ornate scarf. 

    Asos Cropped Swing Tank ($16.88) from, Emerald Jeans ($51) from, Metallic Line Lime Green Multi-Color Stripes Scarf ($9.95) from Peach Couture, Turquoise Floral Vine Scarf ($9.95) from Peach Couture, and Eric Michael Vogue boots in black ($240) from

  • Over-the-Knee Boots


    You don't have to toss your pretty floral pleated mini skirt once the temperatures drop -- just add a great pair of over-the-knee boots, a chunky sweater in a neutral shade, and heavy gold accessories. 

    Clockwise from left: Lace Road Boxy Pullover ($108) from Free People, Red Flower Power Pleated Mini Skirt ($8.93) from, Guess Women's Boots in Cognac ($199) from Macy's, Gold Hammered Disk Necklace ($30) from Etsy, and Nali Chunky Bracelet ($20.25) from

  • Ankle Boots + Turtleneck + Opaque or Textured Tights


    Your mom might think you're crazy for wearing them in cold weather, but the truth is shorts look amazing when paired with textured tights, ankle boots, a tucked-in turtleneck, and a classic light-blue chambray short left unbuttoned. Don't be afraid to mix and match a vibrant array of autumn colors. 

    Clockwise from left: Shorts ($49.90) from Express, Turtleneck Sweater in Shiraz ($49) from Lands' End, Factory Classic Chambray Shirt ($49.50) from J.Crew, Wanted Rito boots in navy ($71) from, and Striped Ridge Tights ($5.80) from Forever 21

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