It's easy to build your fall basics this year, as looks are classic and oh-so wearable.

Share story

Continue to soak in the end of summer, but while you’re at it, there’s no shame in starting to look ahead to fall.

Begin to build your cool-weather wardrobe with essentials featuring rich fabrics, timeless details and moody hues.

Many of this year’s top trends harken back to the classics, incorporating pinstripes, velvet, plaid and cozy knits. Mix and match a few new pieces with items you already own and you’ll have a wardrobe that can take on many autumns to come. Here are some pieces to consider investing in for the long haul.

Knit sweaters

There’s nothing better than finding “the one”: That cozy knit sweater that will last you through fall, winter and seasons beyond, and that’s effortless and chic enough for work or the weekend.

Look for high-quality materials and classic silhouettes, like on the oversized, dramatic Umgee Turtleneck Knit Sweater ($89 at Lika Love, Madison Valley and West Seattle), or the boxy Golden by TNA Goreme Sweater ($165 at Aritzia), made of merino wool and cashmere with trending side slits.

Boden Grace Button Sweater, $88.50
Boden Grace Button Sweater, $88.50

The Boden Grace Button Sweater ($88.50 at bodenusa.com) also features side details, with adjustable buttons that tweak the fit. A hint of cashmere adds a smooth, soft finish.

Layering pieces

Layer your new favorite sweater over a button-down that can also stand on its own, such as the Madewell Classic Ex-Boyfriend Shirt in Wilder Plaid ($79.50).

Pick up a new pair of skinny denim jeans to balance the oversized shape of fall’s best tops, or go for a versatile pair of chic leggings, such as the Halogen Seamed Leggings ($49 at Nordstrom) that have a thick enough material that, yes, they can be worn as pants.

Skirts

The color and weight of fall skirt styles make them perfect for work, while little details make them special enough for evenings out.

Banana Republic’s Front-Tie Pinstripe Skirt (on sale for $78), for example, has two deep front pleats that create a wrap effect, while Halogen’s Pleat Detail A-Line Skirt ($78 at Nordstrom) uses a box pleat to add interest. Both feature strong, classic graphic prints.

The midi-length trend continues, and the Halogen Asymmetrical Zip Pencil Skirt ($59 at Nordstrom) keeps it sleek in a pencil shape with an asymmetric hem and flattering diagonal zipper detail.

Dresses

For fall, you don’t have to choose between a new work dress or a statement-making piece. There are lots of options that cover both bases.

Halogen Seamed Leggings, $49; Banana Republic Front-Tie Pinstripe Skirt, $78; Halogen Asymmetrical Zip Pencil Skirt, $59
Halogen Seamed Leggings, $49; Banana Republic Front-Tie Pinstripe Skirt, $78; Halogen Asymmetrical Zip Pencil Skirt, $59

The Scotch & Soda Silky Wrap Dress ($195), available in black or olive, gets its drape from a silky polyester. Sleeves and a wrap top with tie waist make it flattering on a range of body types. The Scotch & Soda Viscose Peplum Dress ($159, both at Scotch & Soda, U District) adds a peplum hem to a classic shirt dress, adding a bit of flirty fun.

The 7115 by Szeki Navy Kimono Dress ($198 at 7115newyork.com) is so easy to wear that one size fits most. It’s reversible, with a thin drawstring that helps create multiple looks.

For a special-event dress that is timeless — but also particularly on-trend this year — the Eliza J Lace & Velvet Sheath Dress ($138 at Nordstrom) shines in velvet with lace details and a slim silhouette.

Coats

Halogen Pleat Detail A-Line Skirt, $78; J.Crew Charlie Tassel Loafers in Leopard Calf Hair, $298; Cartonnier Vista Poncho, $128
Halogen Pleat Detail A-Line Skirt, $78; J.Crew Charlie Tassel Loafers in Leopard Calf Hair, $298; Cartonnier Vista Poncho, $128

There are plenty of days when you can swap your black raincoat for something a little more polished and impactful. Ponchos are still trending, but the Cartonnier Vista Poncho ($128 at Anthropologie) is anything but trendy in classic camel.

Get two looks in one with the Yoshi Kondo Reversible Isabel Coat ($458 at Baby & Co., Belltown), a classic trench that is staid blue on one side and statement-making plaid on the other.

For a classic wool topper, check out the Boden Sally Coat ($208 at bodenusa.com), that’s available in five hues with subtle raw seams for a bit of edginess.

Flats with flair

A well-made pair of flats complete any look and are just right for those drizzly days between boots and heels.

The Louise et Cie Aradella Pointy Toe Flat ($140 at Nordstrom) takes your summer ballet slipper into fall in a go-anywhere nude hue.

Or add a pop of print to the classic penny loafer shape with J.Crew’s Charlie Tassel Loafers in Leopard Calf Hair ($298), with a small tassel and slight heel to make them modern.