Elevated Basics For Fall (On Sale!) - une femme d'un certain âge

Sifting Through The Pre-Fall Sales

J.Crew Ella sweater jacket in Camel. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Pre-Fall is one of those retail seasons that seems to come and go in the blink of an eye. Perhaps it feels that way because our heads are still in summer, and we’re not yet thinking about the cooler season to come. Still, Pre-fall collections can often yield up elevated basics that turn out to be wardrobe staples.

Elevated Basics For Fall (And Beyond)

Above, J.Crew has added a new style to their popular line of sweater jackets. This one’s light enough to throw on when evenings start to get cool. I’m always a sucker for camel, but the “Heather Blossom” color is really pretty too, and would nicely offset this fall’s russet or burgundy hues. Sizes XX-Small to 3X. J.Crew Rewards members can take 30% off with code BDAY.

Banana Republic silk-cashmere blue and white striped sweater. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I’ll admit, Banana Republic has dropped off my radar the last several seasons. Perhaps because so much of their merchandise focused on workwear, or because our local store just always feels so jammed and chaotic (at least once you get past the “prime” entry display area). And their fabrics seemed a bit “dishraggy.” But while wandering in San Francisco earlier this week, Lisa and I popped into the big store near Union Square, and I saw a lot to pique my interest. There’s more color, and the quality of the fabrics on the pieces I looked at seemed improved.

They’re currently having a Friends & Family sale, 50% off with code BRFAMILY.

The silk-cashmere blend sweater above is soft and lightweight, but not limp. Love that little bit of red on the hems! I’ve ordered the Pink Stripe color in a Petite size to try. In Regular sizes, it’s offered up to XXL, which according to the chart corresponds to size 20. BR does not yet offer a Plus size range.

Banana Republic soft trench in dusty pink. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I’m glad to see that softer trench coats are still around. They’re a nice option when a standard trench feels too structured. (Naturals and Bohemians?) This one in a soft pink will play nicely with fall colors, and look seasonally appropriate come Spring. (Also offered in Sage Green, if you’re looking for something more neutral.)

Black.co silk cashmere leopard print scarf. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Not just another leopard print… Black.co has added several new animal print scarves to their fall collection. Leopards, tigers, elephants and ducks, oh my! And until tomorrow, you can save 25% during their Anniversary Event. I have my eye on this cream leopard cashmere-silk scarf

Here are a few more sales (that include new fall merchandise) worth a look:

Ann Taylor40% off purchase with code SOGOOD

Banana Republic50% off regular price with code BRFAMILY

Black – Anniversary Event, 25% off all collections

Chico’s40% off purchase with code 99308

J.Crew30% off purchase for Reward Members and 2 points for every $1 spent

J.Jill30% off select styles

Lands’ End40% off full-price styles. Code POOL, pin 2932.

Talbot’s$20 off jeans

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for unefemme.net. See my complete disclosure policy here.


  1. August 17, 2019 / 4:48 am

    At this point, there isn’t one thing I’m really interested in for this coming fall season. Maybe a silk Johnny Was scarf, I have my eye on cabi’s Peek Pullover and a neutral (light brown) hobo handbag… You always have such great luck with the jacket/cardigan toppers, if you decide to get a longer length, I’m sure you’ll wear it well!

    • Joan
      August 18, 2019 / 5:34 am

      Kimberly — I am a fan of the Johnny Was scarves (have 5) — go for it!

  2. Suzanne
    August 17, 2019 / 6:10 am

    Oh, I have felt exactly the same way about banana republic for the past few years. The men’s clothing appears to be fashioned from higher quality material. I have complained in store repeatedly about the material feeling cheesy. I will return to see if they have begun to rectify these issues. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Claudia
    August 17, 2019 / 6:21 am

    I’m committed to buying nothing until I KonMari my entire wardrobe. Well, unless I see some really great slacks…..

  4. Christine Jensen
    August 17, 2019 / 6:51 am

    Susan, is that shapeless, long sweater part of your new gamine profile? I think not.

    • Susan B
      August 17, 2019 / 6:52 am

      Not really, but I’m also featuring pieces for other style profiles too.

      • Kris
        August 18, 2019 / 7:47 am

        Thank you for featuring pieces for a lot of other style profiles. I like this sweater jacket and don’t find it shapeless – I am tall and will go try it on in person, thanks to your post.

    • Coach Laura
      August 18, 2019 / 11:49 am

      Geez- Susan can’t get a break. Some recent commentators have chastised her for featuring new things that she’s bought that fit her color and profile, wondering when she’ll feature things for them. She has, historically, posted things she doesn’t wear, like the travel wardrobe based in navy last year when her travel wardrobe was always black-based and the travel wardrobe with lots of color.

      Others berate her for posting things she wouldn’t wear or for having a pixie cut or whatever. I say it’s her blog and she can post what she wants. Complaining or berating doesn’t seem to be in the right spirit.

      I have summer coloration and can’t wear many of the colors she posts but I always like seeing what others are wearing, what’s in fashion and in the stores and appreciate Susan’s expertise in things like jewelry, eyeglasses, shoes and travel tips.

      • LeeAnn
        August 20, 2019 / 5:23 am

        Right??? I’m not a “gamine,” I can’t wear Susan’s colors, my wardrobe budget is a fraction of hers, BUT … I have bought a few of the items she has recommended, and they’ve all been great. I admire her style, and I take a lot of tips from her. Dang, if someone doesn’t like her work, there are a bazillion other style blogs out there. We’re not paying her to work for each of us.

  5. Eva G Cox
    August 17, 2019 / 7:47 am

    This is SO funny! I was looking at the exact same sweater jacket online at J Crew last night. I love the length but the shapeless top would look horrible on me. I already have a camel blazer with structure & a nice length, so I’ll hold on to that. The upside to a camel colored jacket/blazer, you can wear ANY color & it looks great, I love how it is so versatile. I’m not buying anything new this year, although I’ll keep up with the styles, I’m going to wait until I go to Red Leopard next year to decide on what new colors & styles I need to add to what I have & get rid of the things in my wardrobe that is out of date, not my style or the wrong color (of course I’ll be donating those items to the local charity that gives an outfit for a job interview for women less fortunate than I. I just LOVE this charity! The rest will be donated to my church for their garage sales). Thanks so much for your posts, I love them!

    • Jill Ann
      August 17, 2019 / 9:20 am

      Sounds like you’re referring to “Dress for Success?” I’m a volunteer at the Houston location, and it IS a wonderful organization. There are locations in most good-sized cities. We help so many disadvantaged women get job-interview ready, and once they land that job, they can join our Professional Women’s Group to receive support such as financial literacy training. Please, anyone “Kondo-ing” your wardrobe, consider donating to DFS. Interview-worthy suits, yes, but business casual attire is also welcome, and especially shoes & handbags!

    • August 17, 2019 / 12:36 pm

      I’ve found their sweater blazers and long sweaters look a lot less shapeless if I drop down a size. I don’t like the look of droopy shoulders so I drop down in size to get a traditional fit through the shoulders then the rest of the body looks more fitted too. Only issue is that then the sleeves can be a bit short for me but I have longish arms.

  6. August 17, 2019 / 8:13 am

    Love the scarf. Before I retired I always did my shopping for fall corporate wardrobe in August. Best selection. Unique pieces come in and are picked up early so you can’t dither. I used to take a vacation day and do my bi-annual shop downtown (Bloor Street) in Toronto. Still find myself admiring business wear but don’t miss working.

  7. Eileen
    August 17, 2019 / 8:25 am

    The fabrics in general at most stores is not the best quality, maybe the polyester is part of the 1970’s trend going on? I find I’m clicking on the fabric option, more, and more, to find natural fabrics. Thanks for the color expert options here in the states!

  8. August 17, 2019 / 9:09 am

    I have found several items this year at Banana Republic that I find high quality and at some great discounts. I hate their website, often doesn’ work, but like their merchandise and the Rewards program.

    • Jill Ann
      August 17, 2019 / 9:26 am

      I ALWAYS say no when asked if I want to open a store credit card, when making a purchase. For some reason, though, I said “yes” a few years ago while buying something at Banana Republic. It’s a VISA card, and I have to say it’s been absolutely worth it. I get points on any purchase on the credit card, and every month in my statement I get a coupon for anywhere from $5 to $50, which can be used at the BR stores as well as Gap, Athleta, and Old Navy. I buy my kids stuff at Gap, and Athleta always has nice things. BR usually has something I like, and their basic black, white, & navy v-neck tees are a favorite

      • August 17, 2019 / 9:38 am

        Same experience!

  9. Jan Whichard
    August 17, 2019 / 9:32 am

    I saw that leopard scarf too and went to order it but even for pre order it says unavailable. I’ve written to them so we will see. Have you had any luck? It is the perfect reminder of my safari this year! Our Banana Republic is a mess; the one is San Francisco is much nicer but going to SF (my second home) these days has some real challenges alas.

  10. Joan
    August 18, 2019 / 5:43 am

    I am always delighted when you share this info. Another great post! I’ve been having fun this week starting “Stylebook” on my wardrobe. It’s a real eye-opener as far as neglected items, poor shopping choices and some new ways to wear items. You’ve been an inspiration for my sudden foray into “style”…. That’s a foreign country to me!

  11. Jan Whichard
    August 18, 2019 / 12:47 pm

    Just an update. Black company has refilled the scarf pre order capabilities and I was able to preorder the leopard scarf today!
    It is a nice sale but don’t forget the conversion to US dollars and shipping is additional to the US.

    • Susan B
      August 18, 2019 / 1:54 pm

      Thanks, Jan!

  12. LeeAnn
    August 20, 2019 / 5:36 am

    Thanks to Susan’s heads-up about the Banana Republic sale, I went downtown to a BR brick-and-mortar store (haven’t done that for a long time!) and took a look at that sweater. I came home with it in navy with white stripes and the red band at the hem and cuffs (also brought home two tops). The sweater is just as Susan described it. We’re going to a lake house in the Western Maryland hills next week and it will be perfect for evenings there. Thank you for always trying to feature things in a wide range of price points, Susan!

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