Shop Your Closet

Fall is officially here: there’s a nip in the air, colored leaves are falling and pumpkin-flavored lattes are beckoning. With your shorts and sundresses tucked into the back of your closet, last year’s fall fashions are front and center. But are they still in style? Before you go donating last year’s honeysuckle-colored sweater to a good cause, consider first making yourself familiar with this year’s new trends in fall styling and see if some of your wardrobe is salvageable. The following are five things to look for in your closet that will allow you to keep up this season without buying all new attire:

1. High necklines

A major trend right now in both sweaters and dresses is high necklines. Avoid the traditional turtlenecks, and instead look for lines that end right at the collarbone. If you are looking at evening wear, lean towards gowns made of lighter fabrics like silk or satin; the high necks will create statuesque lines reminiscent of the Greeks.

2. Red

The Masaai tribe in Kenya is known for their obsession with the color red. They wear it in tartans, in solids, in stripes and in patterned bed sheet. This fall, think like a Masaai! Find your crimsons and rouges, and match them with contrasting patterns and accent colors. The bolder the choice, the bolder you’ll feel.

3. Fuzzy knit sweaters

That’s right, now is your chance to pull out those old sweaters you kept around for their warmth and comfort quotients. Pair them with a leather skirt or leggings and your favorite pair of boots — and don’t be afraid to belt it (more on that later).

4. Contrasting collars

Probably the most challenging look to pull from your wardrobe, it’s also the most simple: Wearing a collar that is a contrasting color to the rest of the shirt, or perhaps even a contrasting pattern, creates a bold look that stands out. Pairing a bright patterned collar over a subdued solid sweater vest might be all you have to do to pull this look off.

5. Belts on dresses and skirts

When it comes to belting a dress, I suggest erring on the side of skinny belts as thicker ones can break up a body and make it look bigger. This trend usually works best with fitted skirts or pencil skirts, and adds a more tailored look to a dress you might not normally take a second glance at.

As you can see, the major trends this fall are not as complicated as they might have been in the past—and the best part? All of these will transition easily into winter, too! With a few items from your own closet and some ingenuity, you too can dress to impress this season without breaking your budget.

Melissa Woodson is the community manager for Washington University in St. Louis’ @WashULaw, a top-tier Master of Law program in U.S. law, as well as a contributor to the LLM guide. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and making half-baked attempts at training her dog.