If we had to choose a capsule wardrobe to wear every day in the fall, it would probably be jeans with a tee and a cashmere sweater. Casual luxury that looks put together and is comfortable. Throw on a nice pair of shoes (loafers are big for fall, as are ballet flats and clogs) grab a nice bag (cross body, tote or shoulder bag), tie on a scarf, and you are set for whatever comes your way.
We know there are TONS of choices when it comes to both the style of these three items, as well as the price point. So we wanted to give what we like at both the lower and the higher end. You can get a white t-shirt for $8 or one for $100, or anywhere in between – it’s your choice to make! Here are our Fab5 choices for Jeans, Tees, and Cashmere for fall.
Jeans are tricky and trying on jeans requires a lot of coffee and a pep talk! Of course the primary goal at our age is to button the jeans without pulling a muscle but there are so many other things to consider before hitting the dressing room! What leg style – wide or slim? What rise – mid or high? What wash – dark or light? While jeans never go out of style, the styles do change from season to season, keeping us on our toes. The jean trend now is a wider leg (no skinny jeans – hooray!) in a darker wash. For fall 2023 the big and baggy jean is front and center, along with the deconstructed, cargo (I’m not kidding), and carpenter jeans. An exciting visitor into the denim world is the long denim skirt. Since Chrissie and I are not walking the runway and are classic dressers here is our list of go to items:
- We are Gap girls! We both enjoy an array of Gap jeans and especially like the price point, especially with all their sales! Right now, you can buy one pair and get a second item for 50% off. Take a friend and go shopping (or buy two items for yourself!)! Chrissie is wearing the Girlfriend these days, while I tend to opt for the Cheeky Straight. I just picked up this long jean skirt and think I’ll wear it with tennis shoes to spice things up.
- Levis. I sauntered into the Levi store near my house for a try-on session and walked away with the Ribcage – they’ve been in rotation for a few years. They are billed as hip-slimming, waist-defining, and leg-lengthening. No wonder I like them!
- Madewell is a nice option for a mid-price jean. Chrissie loves the Cali Demi boot and I like the Kick Out crop (which really are kind of the same pants!). Madewell has something for everyone and I recommend a trip to their denim bar to check out wide leg, straight leg, curvy, vintage, overalls, and more!
- Paige. Yes, these are a bit pricier than Gap and Levi’s but I consider these a dressier jean for more special occasions! I have the Anessa in a few different washes and love them. They were my first foray into a wider leg jean and I’m sold. Cut from super soft denim with a hint of stretch for comfort, this ultra high-waisted wide leg has an easy, relaxed fit and an ankle length silhouette. I see that they’ve come out with a mossy green for fall!
- I’m seeing the Pistola brand out and about more and more. Pistola was founded by an industry veteran, Grace Na, who wanted to design jeans she wanted to wear all day, every day. I recently tried the Charlie and can confirm that they are very comfortable for all day, every day use! Pistola is also known for its jumpsuits which are super cute. And I just noticed these red jeans which are very on trend for fall.
I (Chrissie) am on a continual hunt for the perfect white tee, as I wear them a LOT. I have lots of things on my ‘wish list’ for the perfect tees, and there is a need for a variety of types of tees in a wardrobe. What to consider? Sleeve length – what is your preference (so just short or long, as short sleeves have many length options). Material? (slub tee vs regular cotton vs sheerer thin cotton etc). Other things in contention are tightness, length, neckline etc. So much to consider! And then there is the world beyond white tees – the perfect striped tee is also a holy grail for me. Here are some options (just Fab4 actually given how I broke it out…) at a variety of price points that I like, and most of these brands have a variety of ‘shapes’ and sleeve lengths, depending on your preference/needs. My top pick to wear with cashmere is a $15 option :).
- Good Budget Options:
- Uniqlo: This $15 cotton U crew from Uniqlo is super popular for good reason! This is my top pick to wear with your cashmere sweaters. It looks/feels like a much more $$$ tee. It is a nice thick cotton that looks good and smooth beneath a cardigan. It looks fancier – not thin/wrinkly – like a nice tee that a super well dressed woman (ie YOU) would wear with nice pants or jeans and a cashmere sweater :). It skims the body nicely without being tight or baggy, has good length arms, has a thicker (and not too low) neckline ‘band’ that is great for popping out of the top of your cashmere crewneck, as well as a length that pops out to be seen below your sweater hem if you so desire. And it’s FIFTEEN DOLLARS. If you want to try one new tee shirt for your jeans/tee/cashmere look, this is the one to try.
- Hanes: You can get a good basic tee for under $7 (on sale currently)! The Hanes Pefect-T crewneck has almost 40k ratings on Amazon for a reason – it’s a good weight, a good cut and an amazing price. Is it going to last for years – no. But it’s a good cotton and great for under a sweater or a blazer. I sized up as it shrinks down a bit.
- Mid Price Point (and I realize that the fact that a $45 tee shirt is considered a mid-price point is crazy!)
- Buck Mason: All of their tees are great, and are priced in the $45 range. I love my easy V neck which is a lighter type of cotton and great for summer or under a cardigan in the fall. The ‘V’ is not too deep and is almost more of a flattering gentle ‘U’ (if you have a long torso it may be short for you though). I also have my eye on their slub easy crew in the tan color (their white one in this particular cut isn’t a pure white fyi, it’s got a bit of off white in it). Their shirts run true to size, and they recommend line drying them. Check out all of their best sellers here, as they make great prices, great quality, neutral basics with flair.
- I also like the t.la tees at Anthropologie (great fit/feel and flattering curved hemline on a lot of them) but they currently only have one camo print version in stock for their basic crew but it would be a great layer under a cashmere sweater!
- In the same pricepoint ($40), Mott and Bow is a brand that I have not tried yet but that gets great reviews. Looks like they are good for longer torsos.
- Pricier Options:
- ATM: At the other end of the price spectrum ($90ish+ but you can get a 15% coupon on their site) are the ATM shirts. The most popular are the ‘schoolboy slub’ and the ‘classic jersey’ varieties. They have lots of styles available on their site. I have the jersey with the small side slit/vent (found on sale at Nordstrom Rack and not currently available, but worth checking there as well as stock goes in and out) and they fall/fit well (not too tight/not too loose) and wash well. Order regular size. In the same price point, many people are devoted to James Perse tees – which you can also find at the Rack at lesser price points if you are lucky.
- AYR: AYR (stands for All Year Round) makes great quality tees (in the $70 range for basic ones), both solid as well as great striped options. If you like a ‘U’ shaped neckline they have The All U, if you want a relaxed V neck there is the Vito, or if you want a shorter, ‘cooler’ sleeve they have the Supercool. For a casual long sleeved option there is the Slushy (in stripes or solids), and for an everyday short sleeve option that works with high rise jeans there is the Sno Cone. Be sure to check out all their great tops (the Deep End is now being copied everywhere) and jeans as well!
- PerfectWhiteTee. I own the Hendrix and am a bit torn on recommending this as it’s a $70 tee (they have a discount offer on site though) because in reality it looks a lot like a Hanes, but then I find it’s one that I grab the most from my pile when I want a casual soft tee that hangs right and doesn’t need to be tucked in. It’s the perfect length for me (so again, if you have a long torso may be short for you), isn’t tight nor loose and I just feel good wearing it. Similar fit to the Buck Mason V Neck. Order true to size and they say to line dry.
- Velvet. Pricey ($60) but consistently good scoop neck tee.
- Honorable Mentions: Can’t talk tees without including…
- JCrew: Their $35 vintage crew neck is a best seller and they have always have great stripe options
- Gap: The $25 modern crew neck is a favorite
- Everlane: I remember when the company launched with only tee shirts for sale. A friend who was an investor in the company asked me to take a look at the site and test it out and I bought…you guessed it….a white tee shirt! It all started with their cotton crew, now under $30 and over 10 colors).
- COS: Thick, good quality – stripes, solids, all sleeve lengths.
Fab5 Cashmere Items
For years, cashmere has been code for “luxury” with only very pricey options. Lately, cashmere has been relatively democratized – you can spend thousands at Brunello Cucinelli or less than a hundred dollars at Quince or Uniqlo. The main difference between the two is the grade of cashmere. The less expensive items aren’t made from Grade A cashmere and are likely made by newer companies in newer factories with lower labor costs – not in Europe. Fortunately for many of us, there are lots of options these days that cost less and still feel luxurious. And don’t forget that cashmere isn’t just for sweaters – cashmere hats, gloves, socks, and scarves are omnipresent and make excellent gifts!
- Quince. Chrissie got me interested in Quince and had me at a $50 classic crew neck cashmere sweater! They have tons of colors and styles from crew neck to v neck to cardigan to sweatshirt. They also have hats and gloves and wraps that make great gift items!
- Uniqlo. Another less expensive option is Uniqlo. Why not buy some cashmere when you are buying some of their fabulous puffers? They don’t come back into stock until late August so check back for the classic crew necks and turtlenecks.
- JCrew. JCrew has a ton of cashmere at moderate price points. The also have it for men, kids and babies. We haven’t tried it ourselves so can’t speak to it from experience, but we understand that the quality is good and they have so many color options of their basic crew which is a nice thin weight (this is where you go for your bright pink or yellow cashmere!). They also have cute cardigans with pockets, cashmere tees, vests (in for fall) and so much more.
- Jenni Kayne. Jenni Kayne has cornered the California cool and casual vibe with her expensive cashmere sweaters! Her Cashmere Cocoon Cardigan ($445) in many earthy colors sets the standard for this look and the Cashmere Fisherman Sweater is another top seller. Quince has a similar look but not the same quality.
- Lingua Franca. Custom embroidered sweaters (from $320) are all the rage! Did you see Jennifer Garner and her mother cooking in their custom Lingua Franca sweaters that read “I’m hardly ever without buttermilk”? Why not create one for yourself or for a special someone’s gift? They would make a great family reunion uniform or a special something for a girl’s trip!
- Bonus: Staud. I received one of their custom sweaters ($295) last Christmas embroidered with the face and name of our lab, Roman. It was a very memorable gift! They also have custom embroidered blankets ($495) that are super cute and would make a memorable gift.
I haven’t tried Naadam but it is another direct to consumer company (like Quince) that is getting a lot of press these days. They source their cashmere in Mongolia, hit the mid-range price point, and have a full product line of cardigans (similar to Jenny Kayne but $195 v. $445), cashmere turtleneck dresses (I may have to try one!) and the essential crewneck at $75.