10 Fall Fashion Staples Under $50 You Need Right Now

As someone who grew up in the perma-summer fever dream known as Los Angeles, fall has been, is, and always will be a time of magic and wonder to me. (Go ahead, see if you can get a palm tree to look as glorious as autumn leaves in Central Park. Pro tip: you can’t.) And though I will miss the season of triapsing around in jorts so short they shouldn’t even qualify as any kind of -orts, one of the best parts of fall involves all the ~*~transitional dressing~*~ you get to do. As such, I’ve rustled up a few of the best picks (that are also a great bang for your buck) to truly #bless you during this autumnal season of crispy weather, decorative gourds, and all-around joy.

1. A veritable roster of sweaters (various prices, H&M)

Brianna Wiest
Brianna Wiest

I could sit here all day and wax poetic about the quality cable-knit sweater, an easy henley, a sweater dress, or my personal go-to, the trusty v-neck, but the long story short here is that H&M stores are currently running a $17.90 sale on various sweaters and it’s not a deal you can get online, so get your butt to the mall now. You know how some people throw leaves in the fall and let them all waft slowly down? Now you can do that with an untold amount of sweaters.

2. A really layer-y button down ($42 after sale discount, J.Crew)

J.Crew
J.Crew

The benefit of the trusty button-down is twofold: either you can tuck into your work pants (bye, summer sundresses, it was nice knowing you), roll up your sleeves, and really get down to business (whether or not you defeat any Huns is up to you); or, because this one is particularly oversized, you can layer it on top of your other clothes as a nice little quasi-jacket on those days when it’s just cold enough to warrant a little more fabric but not so cold that you need to bundle up. These are the glory days, my friends. This is the kind of weather we dream about.

3. Leggings (Zara, $26)

Zara
Zara

Okay. Okay, okay, okay. Give me a chance to extol the virtues of these leggings, and I will. I have a butt, I have thighs, I am constantly climbing all up over things and folding my body into weird pretzel-y formations, and not only do these not sag or bag around the knees, but they don’t let your underwear show through (praise to Beyonce). And they’re cheap. And they hold up. And the day Zara stops making them, I will cry and buy out the whole stock. They come in tons of styles, too, so if you want to mix up your look and try a few different patterns, you can. And you will be #blessed by fast fashion forevermore, amen.

4. A scarf (less than $10, Forever 21)

Ella Ceron
Ella Ceron

I bought this scarf at Forever 21 a few weeks ago; it was $6 in one of those “buy this now!” bins they use to get you to add things to your haul last-minute as you’re waiting in line. It’s tissue-thin, but so huge that it could double as a light wrap if I needed it (it was clutch on a recent plane ride). Forever 21 doesn’t have it listed on its website anymore (because of course they don’t) but you can find comparable ones here.

5. A really good utilitarian bag (Asos, $48)

Asos
Asos

Either you’re back in school now, or work is back in full swing, and that means schlepping tons of stuff all over the place with you at all times. The canvas tote you were using at the beach all summer isn’t going to cut it, and though all-black-everything is a consistent life choice, fall always screams for browns and rusty tones. The benefit of this one is that you can either sling it over your shoulder, or carry it Taylor Swift-style on the crook of your arm.

6. Tights (less than $10, H&M)

H&M
H&M

Okay, so these ones are technically leggings, but hear me out:

1. The 200-thread density means that these babies are as opaque as opaque can get, will keep you warm without being full-on leggings, and are that much less likely to rip and tear than flimsier tights are wont to do (RIP, tights).
2. You’re going to be tucking these into boots anyway, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU?! I thought so. Buy three pairs and call it a life.

7. A transitional coat ($50, Forever 21)

Forever 21
Forever 21

A thing you need to know about me is that I saw this image of the one and only Kimmy K. in Paris on Twitter and lost what little mind I have. It’s so good. It is also, however, so expensive and Lord knows you and I together couldn’t buy that coat if we wanted to.

I am bringing it up though because it has that perfect drape in the front — the girl is wearing a glorified blanket. And as someone who would live in a Snuggie if I could, I respect and appreciate that. This one comes in two colors, so you could pair it with either all-camel or all-black coordinates to really keep up with the Kardashian-Wests. Or don’t. I don’t know your life. (I’m going to.) And don’t worry; I wouldn’t tell you to spend more than $24.50 on any item of clothing from Forever 21 unless I wholeheartedly believed in it, so I did check this out at my local Forever before recommending it. I promise I wouldn’t steer you wrong.

8. Jewel-tone anything (various prices, but I got this Forever 21 dress for $20)

Ella Ceron
Ella Ceron

I love Forever 21. I really do. (If it wasn’t obvious enough here.) And I love it for one specific reason: I’m not the kind of person who wears a lot of color, so when I want to branch out of my usual black-white-denim scheme, I can grab a Forever 21 dress and not let it affect my bank account all that much. This skater dress is my favorite (if a bit short, so just pair it with tights or wear bike shorts underneath), but these are all really good options, too. Jewel tones always look really warm and comforting, especially as the season gets colder (not to mention that they really pop on your Instagra… I mean. That’s a moot point) and if you’re mourning the loss of your neon beachwear, these are all really fun ways to keep your closet looking sophisticated. Plus, because the colors themselves are really luxe, nobody will be the wiser that your outfit is the epitome of super-fast fashion.

9. Sparkly jewelry ($30, Jewelmint)

Jewelmint
Jewelmint

Look: you’re going to run screaming from the store the minute you see the first hint of “HOLIDAY PARTY DRESSING!” I’m going to run screaming. We’re all going to go on our collective social media accounts and say, NOPE, it is too early for this nonsense. It is never, however, too early to wear sparkly jewelry, especially after a summer where you were worried that your statement bib would leave an awkward tan line. Jewelry grounds an outfit, and a little glitter never hurt anything or anyone. If a big, chunky piece isn’t your idea of fun, e-retailers like Jewelmint have a ton of options to choose from (or you can do what I do and stalk the sale bins at J.Crew.)

10. A cup of coffee ($2.50 — $6, if you get the works)

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Because it is an indisputable fact of science that carting a grande skim, extra shot, five-pump, no whip, extra hot pumpkin spice latte takes any outfit ever and #blesses it for #autumn and #fallfundays. (Or just get a cup of coffee and pretend it’s a pumpkin spice latte. Save the money. Nobody’s going to know what’s inside that paper cup but you.) TC mark

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