The first accents of fall have arrived: it's time to layer on autumnal knits, tailored trousers and architectural coats. Part of developing a personal style involves learning to discern quality fabrics and mastering the art of clothing care. Rather than allowing trends to dictate your wardrobe, adopt them as a platform for investing in classic staples that transcend time.
Tops: autumnal knits
The most versatile layering piece—a knit sweater—is a wardrobe staple for both men and women. For an adaptable look, select neutral hues such as black or ivory in a ribbed texture. You can wear the sweater as is, or pair it with a leather jacket or wool coat on cooler days.
Despite its luxurious feel, cashmere is a natural fiber that can be both wet washed and dry cleaned. To take care of your sweater at home, hand wash in cool water with a gentle laundry soap. Avoid hang drying it, which can stretch out the material when it's wet. Instead, flat dry on a mesh rack. It also doesn't hurt to show your knit pieces a little TLC by bringing them to a professional cleaning service at the end of the season. That will take care of any odors or stubborn stains before you store them in linen bins lined with acid-free tissue—the tissue will prevent any dust or dampness from reaching your clothing so your sweater will still look great the next time you need it.
Bottoms: tailored trousers
It's all about that base to anchor your autumnal look. For women, the wide-legged pants are fall's de rigueur silhouette, ideally in a high-waisted cut. This wardrobe staple—appropriate for both work days and weekends—pairs well with a ribbed cashmere turtleneck that's tucked in for a polished look. Many pants are made of synthetic materials such as polyester blends, which are machine-wash friendly. In most cases, you can use warm water, but double check the label for the exact cleaning instructions.
Discerning gentlemen know that when it comes to pants—whether it's an everyday corduroy or wool trousers—fit is everything. A pair of well tailored pants can elevate your whole ensemble. If your store-bought pair runs a little large or small, consider getting them altered for a bespoke look. A style hack is to make sure the front pleats are always well-pressed by using a travel steamer or visiting your trusted cleaner. To store your pants, use a wooden or padded hanger that won't bend under the weight. Wrapping the legs over the hanger will ensure your trousers remain wrinkle-free.
Outerwear: architectural coats
Stay effortlessly chic by investing in key outerwear pieces to build your seasonal wardrobe. Men and women can look to architectural coats as a classic finishing touch. Wool blends provide both structure and warmth for every occasion this fall. Select a style that's lined for extra insulation—details such as lapels add polish, while a pop of color is a modern way to wear this cool weather staple.
Caring for this investment piece doesn't always require an involved process. Refer to the label for fabric info and clothing care instructions. When it comes to fragile fibers like wool, a professional cleaner can help maintain your coat's texture and longevity since wool does not mix well with water. For more advice about cleaning and storage, consult our guide to caring for outerwear.
While shopping for your autumnal essentials, keep in mind that quality cuts and fabrics last longer than seasonal trends. With our expert care tips, you'll always be well-dressed no matter what the weather is like.
Photos: Masson / Shutterstock.com, Brooke Cagle, Leeroy, Victoria_Fox / Shutterstock.com