The Midwest Girl’s Fall Checklist


Do you live in the Midwest, cute girl? Well, buckle up, because even thought it’s barely September it’s about to get cold. Seriously, it’s September 14th and I am shivering because it’s 49 degrees outside, and no way am I going to cave and turn on the heat yet.

In Minnesota, we don’t usually get “Indian summer.” Our weather goes from blazing hot to winter, pretty much instantaneously. That’s why I always roll my eyes when people talk about how much they love fall. Um, what? It doesn’t really exist here. That brief moment when you can go out in only a light sweater and cute boots and shorts is a blip.

So that means it’s time to start stocking your closet with your cold-weather necessities. Or if you’re moving here, here’s what you need to pack before you become a resident of the tempestuous, chilly Midwest. You CAN be warm and stay cute, I promise. My fall favorites are below.


Don’t shame anyone for wearing leggings as pants. They’re tight, they’re pretty warm and they’re a good layering piece too. My favorite are by Hard Tail; they’re supposed to be “exercise” pants but who actually wears leggings to exercise? You can layer them under jeans in winter or throw a giant sweater over them. You can wear the same pair for days because they’re reversible. Some leggings even come lined in fleece! Those $10 Target fleece leggings are perfect under dresses when it gets cold, or for wearing under your pants if you’re going to a football game or something sporty like that.

A cute beanie.

If you buy one that is part cashmere, you’ll never take it off. I promise you. Disguise bad hair days, throw it on when you’re hungover or pretend you’re a street style star and wear it with everything. But I’m serious about the cashmere part. It’s expensive, but it’s so soft and warm that it’ll be your favorite item in your closet.

A cashmere sweater.

Stay with me here. You can spend $300 on a cashmere sweater (and I have, no regrets!) but you could also dedicate some time to prowling thrift and resale stores for used cashmere for a lower price. Cashmere is the softest, warmest, most addicting material there is. It makes everyone around you want to hug you. My wardrobe in the colder months is 50% oversize cashmere sweaters that I pair with leggings and boots or skinny jeans and heels. And you do not have to dry clean it; simply wash it gently in your bathtub or sink with mild detergent and roll it tightly in a towel to dry.

Thick socks.

One of my favorite tricks to staying warm and looking cute is wearing thick, thigh-high socks over tights. American Apparel and Free People make my favorite ones. I’m also a huge fan of big, cozy hunting socks that you can get at those outdoor stores; nothing is warmer. I have this pair and I live in them come the cold because they wick away moisture and keep my toes warm, especially when I’m wearing my Ugg boots. You can wear them under your favorite summer maxi dress too, and no one will know.

Tights in various patterns and colors.

Wear them with everything! I like my tights sheer and black, or polka-dotted, and occasionally with hearts. You can double up on pairs when it gets really cold too, if you’re dead-set on wearing that cute dress no matter the temperature. I’ve been there.

Cute flannel shirts.

I resisted this trend for awhile, but then I realized how warm and versatile it is, especially in fall. On cool mornings, you can wear them like a jacket over your top or dress, and when it warms up throughout the day, just toss it in your bag. (I never tie them around my waist because I did that as a child in the ‘90s.) I get mine from the little boys’ section of the thrift store. The big wool vintage ones are best, but can be itchy if you’re not used to it.

These are my fall necessities. What are yours? Are you a Midwest girl struggling with the temperatures, too? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Kara Nesvig

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