The fall season is our favorite for this reason: trenches, denim, wool, blazers, puffers. The sheer diversity of jackets, shakets, and coats has us giddy with excitement. Depending on where you are in the world, shifting weather patterns call for adaptability in our outerwear as well as our outfits, and naturally we categorized our current favorite styles as pop culture references. Summon the confidence of Miranda Priestly, the uniqueness of Carrie Bradshaw, the classic coolness of Sherlock Holmes, and the iconic beauty of Kate Moss as we walk you through these styles and the people and characters that embody them and inspire us.
Ah yes, the collegiate vibe. We know the one - trendy frames, absolutely dripping in tweed, a book under the arm, sipping a cappuccino. These folks always seem to have an ivy-covered brownstone wall nearby to look radiant in front of. We can't help but reference Marvel's Professor X because he's the most sophisticated prof we know and can rock a tie-under-jumper any day of the week. The Professor vibe is 100% autumnal. If you crave dark academia, misty cobble-stoned streets, or writing an endless to-do list in your spiral-bound notepad while thinking up your next novel idea, this coat look is for you.
The best part is you can complete this look by dressing it down over jeans and keds or a sweat set; or dress it up with a blouse and boots pairing. Either way, you’re ready for the season.
Pictured above: Dress up a dress down look by throwing a tweed blazer
over an everyday sweat set.
Whether you’re a self-proclaimed consulting detective or only moonlight as one, chances are you’re don-ing the iconic trench coat. Definable by our favorite literature characters and synonymous with autumn, this mid-shin length garb is classic because it’s been present in our closets for a very long time. And it’s history is steeped in characteristics of quintessential fall-like weather. Here’s a quick recap:
Back in 1823, rubberized cotton was used in what we’d call a very early trench coat-like fit to help citizens and military personnel go about their days amid inclement weather (think wind, rain, mist, typical fall seasonal vibes). Nicknamed “macks” after inventor Charles Macintosh - these coats kept the rain out. Fast forward 30 years and John Emary launches his clothing company Aquascutum and his water repellant “wrappers”, another similar piece to the trench we know and love.
Enter Thomas Burberry of Hampshire, a spiffy lad of only 21 with an idea. He founded his menswear business (maybe you’ve heard of it?) in 1856 and brought gabardine into the game - a breathable waterproof material made into smocks used by aviators, explorers, and the average Hampshire shopper.
Image Source: Smithsonian Magazine
A fun fact for the tailors, stylists, designers, and all around clothing finatics: Burberry’s coats were set apart from the competition because his coats were of a waterproof twill made by coating individual strands of cotton or wool fiber rather than the whole fabric.
Fast forward again to lessons of camouflage and rough terrain learned by the British Military and the trench coat becomes a symbol for necessary wardrobe adaption. By World War I, they realized English soldiers needed to disappear into the landscape, be unencumbered by long coats, and wear something that was adaptable to the deep muddy trenches they fought in. Voila, the classic khaki-colored trench coat now has a name (see below The Classy Rise of the Trench Coat).
You don’t need to be a 19th century expeditioner or a 20th century solider for this coat. You could be the mysterious Rick Blaine of Casablanca in his gabardine Burberry topper, or just someone who likes to stay dry while exploring the autumn world in a style that has remained popular for over a century.
It’s an undeniable fact that Kate Moss, arguably the most famous supermodel that’s ever graced the runway, is a monarch of the leopard print coat. We’d go so far as to say that in her quarter-century-or-more years modelling the most beautiful clothing known to us, her fascination and consistent chic spins on the animal-inspired print are queen-like. So if you’re stepping out and need to rule this day, let this look be yours.
It wouldn’t be fall without leather. Leather weather is our favorite - think letterman jackets, think John Travolta gyrating on the hood of a car in his T-Birds jacket, think incorporating leather into your personal fall lookbooks. If you want a sleeker style that is still heavy enough to keep you warm and dry, the leather jacket pairs with any outfit, rain or shine.
Plaid has returned to fashion globally, and in our opinion, it never really went away. It began with the tartan-clad clans of the Scottish Highlands in the 1700s, where wool (used to keep the misty rains of the rugged terrain at bay; again, very on theme for fall weather-wise), became associated with families and occasions (like hunting tartans, ceremonial tartans, etc.).
In the 1960s we see the band The Pendletones wearing their namesake, the plaid shirt company which supplied the surf uniform of the time: plaid shirts over t-shirts and khakis. This most famous surf-pop band changed their name to The Beach Boys, and the rest, as they say, is history.
There is nothing cooler than a denim jacket. First created by Levi Strauss (founder of Levi’s) in 1880, this durable utility garment was a saving grace for manual labourers like railroad engineers, cowboys, and miners in the wild west. (See below: A Brief History of Denim).
From the days of the gold rush to Marilyn Monroe and Bruce Springsteen - the American dream is denim and we’ll wear it in any season - even if weather is not permitting. Throw a cozy sweater or turtleneck underneath for colder days.
The best part of a denim jacket is you can throw it over a formal blouse or dress just as easily as over an everyday sweat set or turtleneck. Pair with gold hoops for a completely casual yet chic look.
"Queen Elizabeth II"
The hillsides may boast less greenery and Starbucks may be pushing their seasonal menu on you, but that doesn’t mean that fall and winter needs to be all oranges, browns, greys, and blacks. You can still wear the season without sacrificing those spring shower rainbows we all love so much.
Image source: Town & Country
Who, if not the Queen of England, wears the most bright assortment of colors? Lizzy is not only only of the longest serving monarchs in history but she is also an iconic dresser, and her rainbow of coats is at a level currently unmatched. So dress like a queen this season.
Your outer layer can be a perfect chance to incorporate a pop of color where your solid, darker toned outfits provide the perfect back drop. If the majority of your fall wardrobe is blacks and burgundys, why not invest in a bright color you can throw on top?
Anytime we put on a faux fur coat we instantly flip our bangs (existent or not) like Miranda Priestly when she exits the elevator in The Devil Wears Prada. If you're in faux fur, you’re getting sh*t done. Plus, you’ll be comfy and cozy all fall and winter long.
Carrie, Samantha, Miranda & Charlotte
One of the most inspiring and recognizable shows for fashion is Sex and the City, and whether you consider yourselves a Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, or Charlotte, or aren't even old enough to have heard of anything besides the reboot, the streets of New York are undoubtably our constant runway. The show kickstarted the concept of high-low dressing, and all four women represented a distinct city street style. Here's a roundup of some of our favorite inspired looks:
The number one thing to pair with a trench coat? Boots. Heeled ankle boots, knee-highs, and thigh-highs. Wear with shorts, skirts, and cropped trousers.
Don't let go of your sneakers, loafers, and slip-ons too quick. They also pair beautifully with long coats, dresses, and knit cardigans.
Stripes and sneakers add an element of texture to the usual solid dark tones of fall.
The above pictured coat is somewhere between a trench and a bomber and it's perfect with jeans, skirts, and sneakers. Wear it open to show off your base layer especially if you're wearing a colourful dress or patterned sweater.