Capsule Wardrobe Ideas for Fall!

Hey buddies!
Thought it would be fun to pull together some looks for a fall capsule wardrobe refresh, and you can use these tips and tricks whether you are shopping your own closet or looking for new, fun, fresh pieces to add to your wardrobe this season!  All sizing and links are below each photo, and I appreciate your support when you use them and send a small commission my way for putting these little fun things together for us!  You guys make this job way fun.  I’ll keep ya. 😘

If you don’t know what a capsule wardrobe is, think of it as a small, thoughtfully curated seasonal selection of clothes that you love, that you feel comfortable wearing and that all coordinate easily together so that getting ready and looking awesome takes no time at all!  You put in the work ahead of time, and the payout is a cute and stylin’ YOU in no time flat all season long!  You can check out my easy 5 step capsule method [HERE] if you need a place to start.  Whether you do a strict capsule or a more fluid one like me, the boundaries created by capsule wardrobes truly pay off in the end: quick and easy outfits ready to go each day, less mindless/emotional spending throughout the season, and a mindFUL approach to your body, your shopping habits and your closet!

For this try-on, I first selected a neutral base: denim, cognac/tan, whites and creams.  Next, I layered on pops of color and interesting textures to keep it fun all season long!  You can practice this technique whether you are shopping your own closet or online, and starting with that neutral base makes it so easy to work in seasonal/trendy pieces here and there without having to do a total wardrobe overhaul every season.  If you need a few fall inspo ideas, see below!

SIZING REFERENCE:
I’m about 5’8″ and wear a 4/6 in pants and S in tops.  TTS = true to size.

Camel coat: wearing the XS. Love this classic cut + color for fall layering!
Latte cardi-coat: wearing XS. My favorite item from the try-on…it looks SO much more expensive than it is!  So soft and sophisticated.  I die over this one.
White button down: wearing L (but would have chosen a M if it was in stock). Inexpensive Madewell-esque button down, and would be cute tied in front too.
Denim: wearing size 4. Can’t beat this price on a classic dark wash denim w just the right amount of distressing at the knee.  I’ll always be a fan of this line of inexpensive denim!
Tote: A classic for carrying all the things through all the seasons!
Mule heels: These fit TTS for me.  I ordered the cognac color online, but these pale blush rose ones are cute too!

 

Camel cardigan: wearing S. Every wardrobe needs a camel cardigan, and this soft, thinner version is perfect for doing all the fall layering without all the fall sweating.  😉
Plaid button down: Wearing S. This is one of those pops of color/texture I was talking about.  Now that I have my base of denim, cognac/camel, along with whites and creams, a fun pop of blush + plum for fall works easily into the wardrobe line up!
Denim: wearing size 4 (see above)
Mule heels: (see above)
Crossbody bag: a classic cognac staple for Mommin’ on the go!

 

Camel coat: wearing XS (see above). Such a versatile piece for fall/winter.  This one isn’t lined, so if you want that, you’ll need to invest a bit more, but for the price…this one can’t be beat!
Oatmeal cardigan: wearing S. Another basic capsule staple option for a neutral cardigan, and this one is yummy with little flecks of black and brown woven all through the nubby weave, making it super versatile w many diff looks!
Denim shirt: wearing S. This SHIRT. 😻 It’s made from Tencel which is so so soft, and yet you get the look of classic denim.  If I didn’t already have a denim button down, this one would have come home with me!
White denim: wearing size 4. If you’re a rule-breaker like me and wear white denim year round, this classic pair is inexpensive and a great capsule staple all year.
Booties: Fit TTS for me.  These were pretty comfy with just the right height on the heel in a classic cognac faux suede.
Tote: (see above)

 

Latte cardi-coat: wearing XS (see above).  THE BEST.  This came home with me for sure.
Henley tee: snug fit – go up 1 or 2 sizes for a looser vibe.  Such a classic cut in a soft material and low price point.
Button fly denim: wearing a 6 for a looser, boyfriend feel.  These are multipurpose jeans: they are the ankle flare trend, so if you wanted to try that out on a budget, here ya go!  But I cuffed them to create a boyfriend vibe, because I am so drawn to the button-fly look.  Multipurpose, I say!
Crossbody bag: (see above).
Mules: not from Old Navy, but I’ll link here!  These fit TTS for me.

 

Denim jacket: wearing a M for oversized look, but grab your true size for a more classic fit.  This inexpensive denim jacket reminds me of the one I’ve had for like 8 years (that I paid more for, dang it!), and it’s just a classic piece for almost every season’s capsule wardrobe.
Zip hoodie: wearing S. It always comes back to the softies for this busy mom, so I might as well throw in some capsule looks that are put together but still cozy and casual.  Added a pop of fall plum with this hoodie!
Henley tee: (see above)
Joggers: wearing S.  Classic joggers can be pajamas or dressed up just a tad to run errands.  Whomever invented joggers…I want to hug you.
Shoes: fit TTS for me.  Classic white tennis shoes can be interchanged with so many looks in this fall capsule.

 

Camel coat: (see above)
Blush pink coat: wearing XS.  I’ve loved this blush pink pretty since last year but never pulled the trigger…I was having a little “coat-off” in the dressing room, ha!  Which is your favorite?  White the camel is way more of a classic, I feel like blush pink is such a great yet unexpected neutral these days.  It goes from season to season, and it’s a pop of color without overpowering the look.
Striped sweater: wearing M.  Go up one size for a looser, blouse-ier vibe.  I actually have this sweater from last year, and I wore this classic black and white stripe situation all season!  So versatile and SO SOFT.
Denim: wearing size 4. A great Madewell dupe, and I personally love the cropped ankle look when paired with mules.  It still lets some of your skin show which I think breaks up the covered-head-to-toe look that colder weather can bring.  These are comfy and inexpensive!
Mules: (see above)
Crossbody bag: (see above)

 

Sweatshirt: wearing S. This crisp, classic sweatshirt is made extra cozy with a super duper soft exterior, and I love dressing up a classic like this with a fun scarf and nice shoes/denim!
Scarf: Now that you’ve built up your base of neutrals for your fall capsule, an easy way to add a pop of seasonal color is with a blanket scarf like this mustard yellow one!
Denim: (see above)
Mules: (see above)
Tote bag: (see above)

 

So as you can see from the examples above, most every single item can be easily mixed and matched together to create a simple yet super cute + cozy fall capsule wardrobe!  If you start with basics that you love and feel comfortable wearing, it’s so so easy to build upon that base with fun seasonal pops of color and pattern to keep things interesting throughout the year.  Capsule wardrobes don’t have to be boring or super strict: just be mindful of your base wardrobe first, decide ahead on your seasonal budget, and add in interesting pieces to layer with your base all season long!  Once you pull your capsule together at the start of the season, you’ll find that getting ready is SO MUCH EASIER than before, because you’ve done the thinking/work up front.  Just grab a couple of coordinating cuties from your closet and go…you’ll feel and look beautiful all day long without expending much effort at all!  I heart capsules.  And I hope this helps as you build your own for fall and winter!
❤️ERIN

  1. Lorri Duren

    October 11th, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    I love my stripped sweater! It’s a must have for sure!

  2. Erin | Cotton Stem

    October 11th, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Sooooo soft!

  3. Greyson Lohrey

    October 11th, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    What a fantastic capsule! Thanks Erin for the continual inspiration 🙂

  4. Erin | Cotton Stem

    October 11th, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Yay, so glad it was helpful!!

  5. Shirl - swankonline

    October 11th, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Want it all! Thanks for doing these try ons for us mamas who loathe in store try ons 😆

  6. Erin | Cotton Stem

    October 11th, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Ha ha, you got it, pal! 😉

  7. Keli Fisher

    October 11th, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Your fall capsule is adorable. I’m a mom of 3 and one on the way so it’s nice to see how to style myself being a mom in the run. Thank you for all the ideas.

  8. Rose

    October 11th, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Love this! The link for the white sweater in the last look takes me to a bag instead. Would love the link for the sweater 🙂

  9. Jenn McK

    October 11th, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Wow, thanks Erin!! What would the total cost be if you bought it all? Just asking…for a friend, 😉

  10. Lauren

    October 11th, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Best capsule to date! Ordered way too many things! Thanks for doing all the hard work!! 🙂

  11. Ashley

    October 11th, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Oh, I can’t even! I think I’m pretty close to a CW now just because I’m a natural purger, but I wouldn’t say I necessarily love many of my daily items. Mostly I just consider them as functional. This has inspired me to purge further and replace with things I love! Thanks so much! I may or may not have a $400 ON cart right now that I need to whittle down. Lol 🙈

  12. Kim

    October 11th, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    The white sweater in the last capsule Link takes you to a purse. Can you pretty please correct the link for us? Thank you!!

  13. Molly Gerrish

    October 11th, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    A friend of mine told me about your blog today after I vented to her about how much I hate picking out outfits and following bloggers I can’t afford. AND THEN YOU PUBLISH THIS TODAY. *praise hands*

  14. Lisa

    October 11th, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Can you do a blog soon on scarves- different styles and how to wear them?
    Love Old Navy- thank s for highlighting some great fall pieces!
    Love following you on Instagram. Your page is a fave for me and my 11 year old daughter 🙂

  15. Lori S.

    October 11th, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    The link for the striped sweater takes you to navy, but you mention that it’s black??

  16. Lauren

    October 11th, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    Thanks Erin! Such an inspiring fall capsule and you picked an affordable store too! Definitely purchasing some new fall items from your story! Thanks for sharing all your beautiful finds! 🍁

  17. Keri H

    October 11th, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Love this, Erin! Question, could you fix the link to the very last sweatshirt? I keep getting the bucket bag, and would love to know which sweatshirt this is. Thanks!

  18. Laurie

    October 12th, 2018 at 4:39 am

    I seriously want all of this! Comfy casual that looks more expensive than it is, perfection! Thank you! I can get so much more at Old Navy than Nordstrom but needed your help finding the pieces and putting them together. <3

    Ps. Please link sweatshirt in last photo (it goes to a bucket bag).

    Xoxoxo

  19. Patty

    October 12th, 2018 at 7:07 am

    Loved the capsule inspiration! Started doing capsules for my kids and I because of
    You and it’s such a time saver. Got oodles from old navy yesterday thanks for the links and inspiration!

  20. Michelle

    October 12th, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Thanks Erin for all the great style and wardrobe combo inspiration! Busy mom of 4 here too; this is SO helpful and time saving!!!

  21. Ivette

    October 12th, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Oh love all these fall outfit ideas, makes me wish we where back up north. Love your capsule posts! In Florida, we just have an extended summer wardrobe….lol.

  22. Amber

    October 12th, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Hi Erin! I love your capsule wardrobe ideas, I look forward to them every season. I’m just wondering if you use some sort of filter on your photos? The denim wash always looks darker and better on you than it does in the store! I always think they’re the perfect Madewell alternatives, but then I get there and check them out and your denim always looks better! Thanks again! xox Amber

  23. Jana

    October 12th, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Erin!! 1. Thanks for all you do on your stories. I think you are adorable. 2. So proud for your booth. Is it hard for you to let go of some of the things that were so special at one time? I struggle “de-cluttering”!!! 3. Same question for your clothes….do you clean out and get rid of things each year??? I struggle with that too!!! 😐

  24. Jean Mowery

    October 12th, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Get both coats, as you know that you will wear them!

  25. Kim M

    October 12th, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Erin, I have to say…I love everything you tried on! I’m in a bit of a different situation because I am in the first stages of a major weight loss (25lbs down, 75 to go!) and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on clothes but still want to look pulled together and on trend. I was always fearful of ON but wow…these outfits are on point. I just love your style! And the capsule concept is fantastic!

  26. Kayko Montgomery

    October 12th, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Thank you!!

    Love love love everything you put together.

    There are so many capsule wardrobe blog posts and videos but, it’s not helpful when they have curated their pieces over several years from designers. Thank you for putting this together from one (affordable) store. I just ordered everything… yes everything. Thanks for giving me the inspiration to finally start my capsule wardrobe!

    I follow you on Instagram but love coming to your blog for shopping!!

  27. Jenna

    October 12th, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Popping over from Holly’s insta since she mentioned you. So glad I did!
    I love that you’re not afraid to get the best size and you don’t seem to care about what size that is! From the xs peacoat to the size 6 boyfriend jeans. I usually won’t buy a pair of jeans if they don’t make a size 2/4 that fits me. But you’ve inspired me to buy the 6 in these!!!

  28. Christine Hull

    October 12th, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    well now I want it all! Thanks.

  29. Meghan

    October 12th, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    You put these pieces together so flawlessly! I love every single look. Thanks for sharing. I’m inspired.

  30. Sandy

    October 13th, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Can you do a Mommy yoga pant/active wear try on? Love everything you put together.

  31. Marla

    October 13th, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    I need some MAJOR help!!!!!!

  32. Toni

    October 15th, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    You do the best capsules! I love how you break it down and explain the process. You would think fashion blogger was your main gig!

  33. Micki

    October 19th, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Got my order today. Love everything I ordered. Forgot I put the cardi coat and pea coat back out of my cart 🙁 I know someone else asked, the striped sweater I ordered the “navy” online and it came as pictured here. Black with an oatmeal/cream stripe. The black joggers online show a black tie, and they came as Erin tried on white a white or cream tie.

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