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Count on Zara to have the season's key trends at the ready, as well as easy staple pieces. A pair of velvet boots or a mock neck sweater in burnt orange will instantly update standard-issue fall outfits, while an oversized cardigan and a classic biker jacket (not bad at $279 for real leather) will serve you for years.
J.Crew does an excellent job updating classic silhouettes in colors fresh for the season. Try a cocoon coat in mustard instead of black; a turtleneck in oatmeal instead of white; and cropped trousers in bordeaux as an alternative to navy or charcoal. Lastly, give your tired black ankle boots a rest and pick up a pair of suede knee-highs, which are just as versatile.
We're loving long duster coats this season, and Topshop has a great version in green that's under $200. Tailored trousers and a close-fitting turtleneck sweater offer endless styling options from now 'til early spring, while faux-snakeskin boots inject pattern and texture.
Before hitting November's flashy Balmain collaboration, shop H&M for wardrobe building blocks like skinny jeans and inexpensive jackets. Check out their "premium quality" selection, too, which a hidden resource for staple pieces in wool, silk, cashmere, and suede.
J.Crew's sister store knows how to do autumn. This blanket coat and flannel shirt are perfect layering pieces for dropping temperatures, while classic loafers and a pair of the brand's best-selling flares are wardrobe essentials regardless of season.
This massive e-tailer's selection can seem endless, so allow us to pull a few highlights for your consideration: an oversized leather jacket upgraded with a faux-fur lining (a cool way to top off jeans or dresses), a dusty lavender sweater with an exaggerated turtleneck (cozy and a great way to put some color into your fall rotation), denim in an above-the-ankle length (plays well with footwear from sneakers to heels), and a colorful take on the mod boot, one of our favorite shoe styles this season.
With some digging, Forever 21 can yield some killer finds. Check its contemporary line for more sophisticated pieces (like this suede jacket — $55!), and the main line for trendy separates, like the tie-neck blouse below. Stock up on updated basics while you're at it, like this two-tone sweater and platform ankle boots.