Helen Wallace and Alex Long, Raleigh stylists and owners of the fashion consulting company Style Hawk, counsel their clients to stick to the classics and buy versatile items they’ll enjoy for years – but at the same time, not to be afraid of taking risks. That’s why we asked them to kick off our new seasonal series and tell us six things on their fall wish list.
Wallace said the pair built their wish list around a few must-have wardrobe basics with an eye toward the “ art and science of layering.” In fact, they have broken the layering system down into a few simple steps: Start with a basic item, like a good T-shirt or button-down, then add your favorite sweater; if it’s cold out, add an oversized coat, then accessorize with a scarf, toboggan (here in the South, that means a “knit cap”), tights and fingerless gloves. You can read more about this on the Style Hawk blog.
Here are some of the items they want for the coming chilly days of fall.
1 A chunky, cozy, oversized, wear-with-anything sweater. Wallace and Long like the effortless style of a big chunky sweater, and one in charcoal gray, like this Chinti and Parker ribbed wool option, is classic, but can be edgy. Wear with skinny jeans, leather moto pants or a midi-skirt. Actually, wear it with just about anything. (Net-a-Porter, $380, net-a-porter.com)
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2 A “menswear-inspired” blue button-down. The main thing here is to get a shirt with a longer cut, for layering. This pinstriped Anthony Thomas Melillo shirt is cut longer in back, which Wallace says helps with overall “easy” look. Leave it untucked so it’s seen under your chunky gray sweater. You might pair it with some classic black skinny jeans (or leather pants) or a pencil skirt. (Shopbop, $185, shopbop.com)
3 Leather skinny pants. For a more affordable (and animal friendly) option, go vegan. Shopbop has a great pair of black vegan leather moto pants by Blank Denim with exposed zippers at the hips and ankles – very hot details for fall. The Style Hawk bloggers love these primarily because of the price. “The industry has come a long way in terms of not having to spend $900 for great looking pair of leather or leather-like pants,” said Wallace. The pants are a great off-duty look, but depending on your work environment, you may even be able to wear these to work. If you’re in a more corporate setting, Wallace suggests opting for a leather pencil skirt. (Shopbop, $106, shopbop.com)
4 Oversized jacket or coat. This handmade long wool coat by I Zara caught the eye of Style Hawk stylists because of the oversized fit, the dark blue color and the price. When shopping for a coat this fall, they suggest looking for the oversized cut (“It looks effortless, you can kind of throw it on with a lot of different things,” Wallace said) and a dark color like black, navy or charcoal gray. (Zara, $279, zara.com)
5 Comfortable, stylish loafers. Yes, these particular calf-hair loafers are $590, but Wallace admits to belonging to the cult of Isabel Marant. “Nothing replaces what she’s doing,” she said. “They’re expensive, but if you can, go for it. They’ll last you a long time, and you’ll get your money’s worth out of it.” But the important message here is having a great loafer in your closet, no matter the label or print (though Wallace points out that leopard print is classic and goes with almost anything). Heels don’t always make sense, she said, so a comfortable, stylish loafer is a smart alternative. “You can throw them on with an old beat-up pair of jeans and a great bag and the whole look is pulled together.” Another option, Wallace said, is a cool sneaker. (Matches Fashion, $590, matchesfashion.com)
6 Cross-body bag. A cross-body bag frees up your arms and hands – extra handy for busy moms. You can easily find these at virtually any price, from Target to Gucci. Our stylists are wishing somewhere in between, with an A.L.C. Paloma bag – in leopard-print calf hair, to match the Isabel Marant loafers! Wallace said they liked the idea of tying the bag to the shoes, but says the prints aren’t “matchy-matchy.” “We like the leopard-and-leopard look,” she said. “But you absolutely don’t have to match your bag to your shoes!” (Shopbop, $595, shopbop.com)