Neutrals and Statement Bags: My Forever Fall [Transitional] Crush

So, first of all, as a SoCal native, I’ve never really paid attention to the decorum of “no white after labor day.” (I mean, does anyone really anymore? White is an AMAZING color all year!) But this time of year, as the bleached-out sunlight softens into a warm glow, I find myself reaching for creams, browns, and worn-in denim.

Neutrals acknowledge the lingering presence of summer, yet they also look ahead to the coming fall months. Classic, understated, and universally flattering for nearly every complexion, neutrals hit all the style-marks for the transition months. Plus, since neutrals pair together effortlessly, they maximalize even a modestly-sized closet by offering endless mix-n-match possibilities, allowing you to invest in a few cherished, high-quality pieces that can be worn on repeat.

This is one of my favorite fall transition outfits right now.

The silk top (Paloma Wool) can be tucked in for a more traditional look, or tied up to channel a more laid-back bohemian vibe, which is how I chose to style it for this shoot. I paired it with my favorite vintage find, Levis 501’s! I got extremely lucky at a vintage shop in Santa Cruz. . . . Then again, is it really luck if I up my odds by going jeans-hunting every weekend for a few months straight?? I mixed my go-to vintage jeans with two of my favorite investment pieces, my patent-leather cream wedges (Rachel Comey) and my little bonsai bucket bag (Simon Miller). The bag’s tiny size and unique shape make it an instant statement piece, livening up a somewhat monochromatic look with fun and unique shapes. Plus, the modern-feel of the bag’s chrome rings mixes in an urban, edgy element to an otherwise uniformly boho look.

I also wanted to take a minute to write about investment pieces, because fall has a sort of freshness to it– it’s another kind of new beginning that spurs us toward reflection and revision. Fall is a perfect time to start thinking about building a collection of longer-term pieces that will carry your wardrobe and work for you throughout the year (or more!). The Levi’s 501s I’m wearing were a fortunate vintage find, but the top, shoes, and bag are all, for me, investment pieces. These indie designers are brilliant, and when I can, I buy new pieces. But that happens so seldom in a PhD student’s budget that I started to look for a more earth- (and wallet-) friendly alternative strategy.

What I did:

  1. I found certain brands and curated shops that had a look that I loved.
  2. Took note of the kinds of things I always liked.
  3. Noticed patterns.

I figured out what these looks tended to cost, made a realistic budget for myself, and then added a 15 minute, twice-daily sweep to my regular social media time. I tend to look on Poshmark, Depop, and Garmentory for new listings of  my favorite designers. While searching, I held off on buying a cheaper version at a fast-fashion shop and saved for the thing I really wanted. I had to be patient (something that doesn’t come naturally to me!), but the thrill of finally finding that meant-to-be piece really makes it worth it!

I will be posting more fall neutral looks that mix vintage and designer, and I will also discuss some of the gorgeous neighborhood spots I discovered on the photoshoot with thoughts on how to squeeze the last drops of summer out of these remaining warm days!

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