Fall wardrobe basics for women - une femme d'un certain âge

What I shopped this week: fall wardrobe basics & more

Fall wardrobe basics: Vince v-neck cashmere cardigan, Theory Treeca cotton pants

With fall collections beginning to trickle in, I’ve resumed the hunt for a few items on my wardrobe wish list. Some are wardrobe basics that just need to be refreshed or upgraded. Others are gaps I identified some time ago that have been more elusive. And a third category is “I’ll know it when I see it” hero pieces that add personality and interest.

Fall wardrobe basics I shopped this week…

V-neck cardigan

I’m well set for pullover sweaters, but am short on cardigans that button or fasten in front. While this one from Vince (above) is spendy, it’s an elegant style in medium-weight cashmere. I love that it’s fitted and not bulky (so can work for travel), and that the v-neck isn’t too deep. It’s shorter, but not cropped (model is 5’10”). I’m usually an XS in Vince sweaters, but the shoulders were just a little narrow for me, so I’ve returned and ordered the Small. Also available in gray and in Plus here.

Other color & size options: Misses black or white, Plus black or white, Misses olive, Plus olive

V-neck cardigans seem to be more widely available this season; here are more options…

Little (Not) Black Pants

Since my color and style analysis two years ago, I’ve been rebuilding my wardrobe to incorporate my warm Spring colors.

Little Black Pants were one of my wardrobe staples for decades, and finding non-black equivalents has been one of the biggest challenges of my wardrobe reset. (For those who are asking “why not just wear black pants,” my answer is that black now feels harsh and incongruous with the other colors in my wardrobe.)

Yes, there’s navy, but for a couple of years I’ve been keeping an eye out for rich, warm, and dark browns. The last few seasons were “close, but no cigar.” There was some rust, but the more neutral browns were too cool or purple-tinged. I’ve seen a few styles this season that look promising.

Now that I know Theory Treeca pants fit me well, I’ve ordered this similar cotton blend pair in “Cedar” (above) to try. Will report back.

Eileen Fisher washable ponte lantern pants in Espresso.

Eileen Fisher has brought back a few items in the Espresso color, including these washable ponte knit lantern pants. I love this shape and am hoping the color is as I remember, a rich dark brown without blue or purple undertones. I’ve ordered a pair to try, and will report back. Sizes XXS-3X.

And everyone’s favorite stretch crepe pants are also available in Espresso! (As well as several other colors, sizes XXS-3X.) You can currently save $25 off your order with code MATCH25.

Talbots slim ankle jeans in Tortoiseshell.

I snoozed on these slim leg jeans in Tortoiseshell last year, so was happy to see they were back again. (Also offered in Eggplant.) In Misses, Petite, Plus and Plus Petite sizes. All regular-priced pants jeans (including these) are $20 off for a limited time!

More not-black pants options…

Something for le chien

Gigi sits pretty wearing a Gooby dog harness.

This week was Gigi’s 1 year Adopt-a-versary! I wanted to get her a little present, and have been looking for a step-in harness to replace the one that slips over her head. (She hates that and often squirms while we’re trying to put the harness on for a walk.)

When we visited Carmel-by-the-Sea last week, I had to stop into the fancy-schmancy pet boutique on the main drag and spotted these harnesses. It’s a simple, well-designed step-in harness that fastens easily, but that she can’t wriggle out of.

Sales to shop this week

Colleen Rothschild – Weekend Beauty Deals, up to 50% off select items

J.Jillextra 40% off sale

Eileen Fisher$25 off order with code MATCH25

Ann Taylor$30 off full-price pants & denim, 25% off full-price styles. Code COMEBACK

Chico’s$79 Girlfriend jeans with purchase of 2 or more

J.Crewup to 40% off summer styles

Talbot’s60% off markdowns, $20 off regular price pants & jeans

Brian + MWFlash Sale on eyeliner, mascara, brushes, eyelash curlers & more

Are there any fall wardrobe basics on your wish list?

Stay in touch.

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


  1. Robyn
    August 20, 2021 / 2:51 am

    The Vince cardigans look tempting. Even though it’s still hot in Virginia, I wear cardigans in my classroom because it’s always freezing. I’ve been curious about Vince. I may take the plunge and try the brand.

  2. Lori C
    August 20, 2021 / 4:47 am

    I just ordered those tortoiseshell jeans for myself and my color transition. Gorgeous color in the photo. Hoping I like in person! I also picked up the “natural” color. Perfect for providing the contrast that I need.

  3. Debra
    August 20, 2021 / 5:22 am

    I love Vince and have quite a few of their pieces, in particular their sweaters, which fit my long arms. Typically, I wait to buy until later in the season, because just about everything goes on sale before selling out. Still spendy but not quite as painful!

    The cardigan is lovely and is available in many colors…going to be on my radar. I look forward to seeing how you style it!

  4. Leah
    August 20, 2021 / 5:33 am

    Dear Susan, I enjoy your blog so much! I also am a spring color palette and am very curious to add more lilac colors to my wardrobe. If you ever run across more great finds in the spring color palette, I will look forward to perusing your finds. Many thanks!

  5. Sandy
    August 20, 2021 / 5:48 am

    I ordered the Ann Taylor pants a couple if weeks ago. Very flattering. Love Vince sweaters, but I try to wait for a sale!

    • Susan Blakey
      August 20, 2021 / 7:02 am

      I’m keeping my eyes open for Vince sales, and will definitely share when I see them!

  6. Eve
    August 20, 2021 / 6:51 am

    I love brown but it is harder to find the lighter colors I like. There’s a lot of darker browns but I like softer, lighter colors next to my face and since I have a preference for a light to medium contrast outfit, the darker just wont work for me. I think unlike black when you put two browns together with one leaning a little cool and one leaning warm, you just can’t get away with it. Mismatched browns are really obvious.

    • Susan Blakey
      August 20, 2021 / 7:01 am

      Hi Eve, if your palette is warmer, I’ve been seeing a lot more of a warm camel color this season (like the sweater). What I’ve found is that if I stick to the browns in my Spring color palette, they coordinate well. (But all of my browns are warm.)

  7. Susan
    August 20, 2021 / 7:09 am

    I have numerous EF stretch crepe pants. I fervent wish is that EF would upgrade their website so that it is more responsive. I waited ten minutes for the espresso to load and finally gave up.

    • Susan Blakey
      August 20, 2021 / 7:10 am

      I agree! And they need to improve their search functionality…it tends to load a lot of unrelated results.

  8. August 20, 2021 / 7:26 am

    I was able to quickly score on the EF espresso pants. What a find! Thanks Susan

  9. Maggie
    August 20, 2021 / 7:30 am

    Happy Anniversary Gigi!

  10. Elizabeth
    August 20, 2021 / 7:32 am

    We’re about to downsize from our large home of 30 years to a 2BR apartment and in packing my closet I’ve concluded I shouldn’t buy another thing for the rest of my life (won’t happen, LOL!). This fall all I really need are a couple of new white shirts- but those espresso EF stretch crepe pants are very tempting…

  11. August 20, 2021 / 7:55 am

    I love these non-black pants options!

  12. Rita Prangle
    August 20, 2021 / 9:25 am

    A lighter camel color would be a good pants color. Also, a vanilla color.

    I HATE skinny legs, and I HATE crops and ankle pants, which look ugly on most people. Maybe the factories over-produced them and are bribing the buyers to take them.

    • Susan Blakey
      August 20, 2021 / 10:01 am

      Quite a few of the pants I’ve linked to are offered in camel and lighter beige colors. As to cut, well, I’ll fall back on à chacun à son goût. I’ve been seeing a lot of longer, fuller trousers offered this season, so you might have good luck finding more of what you prefer.

    • Carol
      August 20, 2021 / 10:38 pm

      I disagree with your statement that crops and ankle pants look ugly on most people. That is simply your opinion. I think it depends on the whole outfit, meaning footwear, top, handbag and overall proportions. I’ve seen many women wear crops and ankle pants while looking quite chic. That’s my opinion. 🙂

  13. MJ
    August 20, 2021 / 10:36 am

    Love your finding non-black pants for us. But how do you style crop pants in the winter? They look cute with sandals or flats, but I look at the models and think how cold I would be in winter. I realize that your climate is different than mine, but any suggestions?

  14. Joan
    August 20, 2021 / 12:19 pm

    Oh Susan, those tortoiseshell pants would be SO yummy with your new color pallet! I had to laugh going thru Talbot’s ste — I found their definition of “curvy” is a smaller waist. I’m always searching for pants that work on a thicker waist without giving me all that excess room for saddlebags (whew, don’t have those!):

    QUESTION: would chinos be good “travel pants” which would mean lightweight and easy to launder in a hotel sink? I see most pants marketed for travel are very lightweight and made of nylon. That does not appeal at all. Too noisy! Thanks for any feedback….

  15. Kay
    August 20, 2021 / 12:39 pm

    Thanks for showing the pup. Her little face makes me smile.

  16. Leslie Beard
    August 20, 2021 / 6:11 pm

    I bought the Vince cardigan in navy blue last year. It is deliciously soft cashmere that showed almost no pilling at the end of the season. I washed it in The Laundress Wool and Cashmere cleanser, and I swear it came out even better. It is also a good weight and feels well-made. I bought mine from Zappos on considerable sale. I now covet the sagey greenish gray one from this season. I am 4’11”, 36″ in the bust, a 10P/12P, and bought a medium. The medium feels roomy but not excessively so. I always layer, so I like a little room. I do have to cuff the sleeves. I think mine is 23ish inches long.

    Talbots’ preview of its October collection seems to feature a fair amount of brown. In the new September collection, there is a bright yellow tweed jacket that I could see on Susan.

  17. Tess
    August 20, 2021 / 6:33 pm

    Gigi is the cutest thing ever! Happy Adopt-a-versary!

  18. SusanG
    August 21, 2021 / 8:17 am

    Your blog is the gift that keeps giving. Love the selection of pants. Gigi”s gift inspired me to order one for my precious dog.She was adopted last August and I think she’ll like it better than her current harness.

  19. August 23, 2021 / 6:22 am

    Theory is pricey but boy oh boy, do they deliver quality. Of course Eileen Fisher is quality too but I have to say that the trousers don’t look that good on their model.
    I am surprised you could buy a harness for Gigi (great photo) without actually having the dog with you. Anyway: happy adopt-a-versary. She brings a lot of joy.

  20. MWG
    August 23, 2021 / 8:28 am

    Susan, International traveling first part of Sep. Your packing information helps me a lot! Trying to get ahead of last minute habit but wondering how long before leaving do you pack your suitcase?

    • Susan Blakey
      August 23, 2021 / 9:12 am

      Hi MWG, usually I start planning my wardrobe 2-3 weeks ahead (so enough time to clean/repair anything that needs it), decide on the “final” wardrobe 2-3 days ahead, and pack the day before (unless we have a very late flight and then I’ll pack same day). I also reserve space for a Wild Card piece that I’ll choose when packing.

  21. Katie Finnegan
    August 24, 2021 / 7:59 am

    Hi Susan! New subscriber here. I’d love to purchase a good quality, on-trend (but not too trendy) dressy/casual jacket this season. Been shopping online, and I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the style options–the band jacket and the long quilted jacket at Talbot’s beckon; there are sweater blazers, ponte blazers, and I also have my eye on Chico’s moto jacket (available in black and olive)! Would love to see you review the new jacket choices to help those of us who have trouble making a decision. And keep the sale info coming:-))!

    • Susan Blakey
      August 24, 2021 / 9:08 am

      Hi Katie, welcome, and funny you mention jackets! I have a few new styles on order and will be trying them out and reporting back. Look for a post in the next couple of weeks.

  22. Cynthia DiPonio
    August 25, 2021 / 5:43 pm

    You had an extremely cute shirt on during the Instagram post… it had cats on it. Will you please share the link to purchasing that adorable shirt.

    • Susan Blakey
      August 25, 2021 / 6:11 pm

      Hi Cynthia, thanks! The shirt was from the Uniqlo x Paul & Joe collaboration a few months ago. Unfortunately it no longer available on Uniqlo. I did see one on ebay, you may be able to search there or Poshmark. https://bit.ly/3sNOryP

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