Every fall we get excited about the new trends for the season.  There are so many to choose from that it can get overwhelming.  What do you buy, and, most importantly, how do you incorporate them into your existing wardrobe?  Speaking of work clothes specifically (because this is a wear-to-work post), when it comes to work clothing, few women want to be overly trendy.  They just want to feel that they are current and not looking dated.

Wardrobes are always evolving.  We don’t trash them and begin again each season.  Some items are stayers, pieces that you will wear for years and get tons of use.  Other things are more fleeting.  They come and go rather quickly.  The goal when creating a successful, balanced and updated wardrobe is to have both the stayers and the fleeting trends in it.  In today’s post I am going to show how to update they three common stayer work pieces, a basic pair of grey pinstripe pants, a navy dress and a black a-line skirt, with some of the stand out fall trends and how these stayer pieces can all get an instant update.

Accessories and soft pieces are the best places to add trends

First, a tip.  The two best places to play with trends are with your accessories and soft pieces, soft pieces being things like tops and sweaters and, maybe a fun jacket.  These are items that are often more fleeting in a wardrobe, that most women usually pay less for and often add a bit of pop to our more classic workhorses.  Our workhorses or stayer items are things that we tend to invest in more heavily and expect to get a lot more from.  Therefore, it makes sense that the focus on trends should be on things like fun tops, cardigans, sweaters, shoes, scarves and jewelry.

A little goes a long way

As I said earlier, most women aren’t looking to be overly trendy.  They just want to look and feel fresh and updated in what they wear.  You don’t have to deck yourself out in head-to-toe trends to feel this way.  Sometimes something as simple as a scarf or shoe change can make all of the difference.

Basic pieces anchor the trendier ones

In order to not be a trend victim, look to your basic pieces as the foundations of your outfits.  Yes, your basics may not be the most exciting things in your closet, but they do serve a purpose.  Think of them like the glue that holds everything together. Without them you have nothing to wear with your new trendy items.

How to Add Fall Trends to Basic Work Pieces

Check out the three basic pieces I am using below, and three different ways I have styled them, all with some of the hottest fall trends, to give you some ideas on how you can easily, quickly and affordably take your less trendy basics get them ready for the fall season.

Basic tailored pants

Here I am taking these basic grey pinstripe pants from J. Crew and styling them three different ways for autumn.

Look #1- While crop tops surely aren’t work appropriate, you can wear modify this trend by putting a shirt underneath a cropped sweater.  Now, if the idea of putting a slim, cropped sweater over a blouse sounds as uncomfortable as putting on a pair of cheap pantyhose, there are a lot of mock cropped sweater styles out there that do the heavy lifting for you, like this top from French Connection that I am showing.  Next, the plaid trend, it is everywhere.  Look at how updated this first look is by pairing these plaid shoes from Anthropologie with these pinstripe pants.  Remember, you can treat simple pinstripes as solids, so don’t be afraid to wear them with prints and patterns.  Lastly, to add one more trend, I added this chunky pendant necklace from Stella & Dot.  The chunky pendant– another big trend.

Look #2- Blanket scarves are everywhere.  It seems everyone wants to look like they pulled their comforter off their bed, wrapped it around their shoulders, and walked out the door; okay for weekends, but not exactly professional.  In this second look I did a modified version of the blanket scarf by choosing this drapey, somewhat oversized scarf to address the trend without overwhelming the outfit.  When looking for a larger scarf for work, choose thinner fabrics that lay and drape nicely.  It looks great with this burgundy tunic from Modcloth (burgundy continues to be a trend for this fall), and gets an even bigger punch of trend when paired with these cobalt blue flats.  I don’t know if you have noticed, but blue shoes have been everywhere.  This trend hasn’t been as in-your-face as the others, but there have been a lot of displays showing blue shoes in store windows and I recently noticed that Zappos did a promotion on them.  Lastly, stacked bracelets.  If you have a wrist, load it up.  You can do this trend two ways.  The first way is to just pull out a bunch of bracelets from your jewelry box.  The second way is to buy multiple bracelets sold together, like these from Kendra Scott.

Look #3- In this last look I am addressing the menswear trend by pairing this feminine tweed top from Boden with the pinstripe pants.  While this top has sleeves, and can be worn alone, I added this drapey grey cardigan from Reiss to soften the look.  Next, booties.  Yes, they are still trendy and grey is incredibly popular for fall.  Sick of black boots?  Try grey, like this pair from DV from Dloce Vita.  Lastly, a long pendant necklace.  Tassel pendants, like this one from Banana Republic, have been, and continue to be, popular  It can’t get much easier than throwing a necklace on to be trendy.

The basic dress

I am sure you have a basic dress in your wardrobe, like this navy one I am featuring from Boden.  It’s hard to get more basic than this.  If you have been bored in it, or feel that your dress needs some freshening up, check out the three ways I styled it using some fall trends.

Look #1- The first trend I added to this look is the layered necklace trend.  Like stacked bracelets, layered necklaces have been everywhere.  And, like stacked bracelets, you can either layer your own necklaces or buy styles that address this trend, like this one from Bauble Bar.  Next, the yellow trend.  Did you happen to notice the post I did last week on Pantone’s Misted Yellow?  This is a great accessorizing color.  Taking the yellow from the necklace, I added these shoes from Kate Spade.

Look #2- In this next look I am using this chunky beaded necklace from Nordstrom that not only adds some bright colors near the face but addresses this trend.  The beauty of all the color is that it offers the opportunity to go in many directions with colors.  In this outfit I pulled the tan from the necklace and add these cognac boots from Miz Mooz to give the outfit a more autumnal look.  Yet, don’t discount the other shades in the necklace to create multiple looks with it.

Look #3- In this last look I added colorful tights to this outfit.  As you know, colorful tights are one of my new favorite ways to add some excitement to an outfit, and, in this outfit, I added these wine colored tights from The Gap to this dress.  Next, booties aren’t just for under pants, you can wear them with dresses too.  Booties, like these from Boden, aren’t just more casual in look but they also have a larger shaft opening, making them great with skirts and dresses.  Lastly, the amulet trend, similar to the long pendant, is also a big fall trend.  In this outfit I used this amulet from Modcloth.

Basic black a-line skirt

If you have a black a-line skirt in your closet, like this one from Reiss, and it never fails you, but it has started to feel a bit stale when you wear it, check out how I added to some fall trends to it to give it an update.

Look #1- Florals are blooming this autumn.  I did a whole post on how to wear fall florals to the office a few weeks ago and am using this trend again with this skirt.  With the whole cropped trend going on, I layered this Elie Tahari cardigan over this autumn floral top from Boden.  What this cropped cardigan does is add a little shape to the top.  Next, the beauty of adding trends through accessories is that they can be used in a variety of ways, and you can see here that I am using the same booties, wine tights and amulet from the previous looks.

Look #2- Next, the paisley trend.  I loved the way this Tracy Reese top not only addresses this trend, but adds warmth to the outfit.  For shape, I cinched the top with a Steve Madden belt and used the same boots and earrings from earlier outfits.  Lastly, I added a blanket coat.  While this trend certainly won’t make it past the front door of your office, it is a fall trend I wanted to touch on by using this one from Modcloth.  If you’re looking to add a trendy winter coat to your wardrobe, take a look at the blanket coat.

Look #3- Radiant Orchid is still the color of the year.  It has been around for a while so there is a good chance you already own it.  However, a radiant orchid sweater, like this one from J. Crew, may not seem like enough to feel updated.  If you’re looking for more, try adding some new accessories.  In this last outfit, all the accessories are reused from prior looks.  Remember I mentioned using that colorful chunky necklace in a variety of ways?  Well, here it is with the cobalt flats that I also used before.  The outfit is finished with the same stacked bracelets I used earlier.

How to look at trends

It isn’t rare for women to avoid adding trendy items to their wardrobe.  Often, they fear that they will buy something and the next season it will be out of style.  However, trends usually don’t just fall off after one season.  Instead, they slowly peter out, and many evolve over time before losing momentum.  This means that one trend can can be used different ways over the course of several seasons.  So if you have been resistant to adding any fresh trends to your wardrobe because you have been afraid that you’ll waste money on them, know that it will likely be many seasons before many of the trends that you are considering will die.  Don’t shy away from trends.  If you know how to utilize them you will get your money’s worth.  With hope, this post will help you learn how.