As a child of mild Northern California weather, seasons never meant all that much to me. There was no “packing away my winter clothes” or cyclical rhythm to my wardrobe whatsoever. When I moved to New York at 26, I was excited to experience the kind of seasons I grew up seeing in cartoons — beaches in the summer, orchards in the fall, snowbanks in the winter, gardens in the spring, etc. — but I was not prepared for the sartorial implications of any of it. I didn’t realize people never wore boots in the summer or mules in the winter. (I learned these lessons quickly through teasing and physical discomfort.) And I was surprised that people truly had seasonal closets — the type that rotated in and out and which seemed to maintain distinct style identities.
But even if maintaining (and storing) what feels like two wardrobes still feels like a waste to me, I’ve grown to love this seasonal changing of the guards. It feels like a chance to start fresh or go back-to-school shopping more than once a year. It’s nice to take stock of who you are and how you feel compared to last year. And so, in honor of the beginning of fall, I challenged Team Man Repeller to asses their newfound proclivities, be they aesthetic or otherwise, and narrow down what they’d buy for this season if they could only choose one thing. There’s something about this time in particular that incites a fresh-start feeling, and limiting our options to one — fantasy or not — felt appropriately discerning for a new school year. See all our answers below, which we’ve provided after much (too much?) deliberation.
“I’ve been wanting a pair of pants with two contrasting legs ever since I saw a girl wearing a pair in Soho last year and in that moment realized most pants are boring and monochrome. And why? When I saw these Kimhēkim ones on Need Supply, I gasped. And then I looked closer and noted that they were CORDUROY. They are also the exact shape I’ve been wishing I had in my closet. (All my pants are super cropped and I’ve been drawn to longer cuts lately.) I can’t actually stomach the price tag, and thus will not actually be buying these pants, but if I had to buy one thing this fall, I think it would be these. How great would they look with a simple white T-shirt (or this striped one from Kule!!!)?”
“I know they’re so expensive but, in fantasy land, I would buy these. I envision them with a midi cream-colored dress and a trench coat. But they’d be so cool with a black slim trouser and big worn-in sweatshirt. I usually wear Dr. Martens when I’m trying to achieve that silhouette but whew, I would I take these in a millisecond. I also saw them at their showroom and fell in love so I know it’s real.”
“But only if I could find it on a website where I currently maintain a gift card (acquired as a result of returned baby gifts, which is truly a new level of selfish mom-ing). It’ll still be expensive though. Why am I making a case for this sweater? I have had half-zip sweaters on my mind since the Lacoste Fall/Winter 2016 show when a model wore one with a pair of fitted track pants and a bell-shape patent leather trench coat over it. I looked furiously for one but the majority of what was offered was technical apparel, and mostly colored neon (my father-in-law has one by Nike, which he wears feverishly, but which I have only just come to appreciate in the last three months). Soon after that show, I started to see inklings of a new trend surfacing. Now that this Prada one exists in a bunch of colors that I consider to be the founding palette of my wardrobe (navy and red), I can’t exactly imagine what I won’t wear it with. I’m envisioning it right now with a denim mini skirt, an oversize wool blazer, sheer ankle socks and a pointed toe velvet kitten heel. I also see it with mid-thigh denim cut-offs (the Bermuda shorts of the jeans world) and lace-up sandals for a not cold, not-not cold day — or simply paired with high-waist straight leg jeans that are slightly cropped to expose a metallic sock and Birkenstock sandals accordingly. This outfit probably has a trench coat over it.”
“I’ve been thinking about buying these jeans since I spotted them during one of my seasonal Zara perusals over the summer. I haven’t seen a pair of jeans in this particular shade of green elsewhere, so they immediately caught my eye. (After acquiring a pair of lavender jeans from Ganni, I’m recently enamored with any and all alternatives to traditional blue denim.) The fact that they’re only $50 makes them extra tempting.”
“I’ve worn the same black Chelsea boots essentially every day for the last two falls, solely because I haven’t found any other everyday boots that I don’t find to be corny — I’m SO tired of riding boots and booties! Lately though, I’ve seen cool gals on Instagram wearing white cowboy boots (Elizabeth Lo Priore, Elianah Sukoenig and Lana Johnson to be precise), and I think they’re exactly what I need to get out of my slump. I imagine that I’d get a good amount of wear out them because white pretty much goes with everything in the same way that black does, but it’s more bold, which I certainly don’t mind. Also, I know Western apparel has the ability to appear costume-y quite easily, so in regards to styling, I’d probably avoid wearing these boots with classic blue jeans or a ten-gallon hat. Everything else is fair game though.”
“You know how Twitter gets excited for fall because you can start ‘DRESSIN’ dressin”? Well, I’m firmly of that camp and not only is it cuffing season but it’s also open coat season, wherein your outer layer is worn slightly parted, serving as a complement to your look rather than a purely functional insulating layer. For this season’s starting player, I’m giving in to the teddy bear trend. While I’m absolutely on board, I really prefer to reach for an option where the road is less traveled if you know what I mean. Cue this little number that is giving me Westminster Dog Show winner vibes without any of the everybody-literally-has-this cringe. I. NEED. HER. By the way, the true inspiration for this choice was this Kenzo jacket but once I saw the price tag (👀), I looked for a more reasonable alternative.”
“I don’t have a proper raincoat. I have things I use as raincoats, and they kind of work, but I do not have a trench-coat-length actually-waterproof overcoat, and I want one that I can wear with everything, and somehow this color blue feels like the answer. (I also hate hoods and like that this raincoat doesn’t have one. I wear baseball caps and carry umbrellas when it rains so don’t worry about my head!) I can picture it working with plaid or black or brown or cream or leopard, with sweaters in the fall or over shorts if it rains in the summer. It even looks like it could work in the winter-winter on rainy days so long as I layer it enough. It’s $200.00. That seems fair. As I write this, I realize that I actually need this desperately and it might solve a lot of problems, wardrobe-wise and emotional.”
“I’ve been in search of the PERFECT flannel shirt! Roomy but not boxy, thick but not scratchy, long but not flowing, masculine vibe but like I got it from my cooler older brother, NOT my dad! I’m dead set on reliving this YG outfit after Haley put it on my radar. I’ve bought a million flannels in my day, so I want to seriously INVEST in one so that I can actually live in it for the entire season. This Stella McCartney one has my name written all over it and while it’s expensive, it’s currently on sale!”
“I have an unquenchable thirst for all things green at the moment — it’s the only runway trend I’m buying into. This particular shade is soft and delectable, and I saw it on Katie Merchant’s Instagram where she looks like a tall glass of matcha latte. The dress is full of surprises: what will it look like on my body? How exactly will Indian Rupees convert into US dollars? Will the color ‘complement’ my skin tone? But I can justify it because it looks light, comfy, calm-inducing and no one can talk me out of a dress with sleeves.”
“I know, I know — cat-eye sunglasses feel a bit tired by now, but don’t these ones feel like a fresh take? I first saw them when Leandra and Amelia mentioned them in last month’s Should I Buy This and haven’t stopped thinking about them since. Speaking of cats, I’ve been looking for an alternative to leopard print, and tiger stripes do just that. Makes me want these even more.”
Feature image via Zara.