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A Stylist’s Guide to the Wardrobe Essentials You Need for Fall & Winter

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Solange Franklin is your cold-weather fashion guru.

When I impulse-buy too many trend pieces, I find my closet lacks the basics I need for everyday styling. Wardrobe essentials are just as important as the latest It Bag or must-have shoe—and they can be just as stylish! As cold, hard proof, I tapped professional stylist Solange Franklin to give me the deets on all the fall and winter must-haves I absolutely need to look chic this season. And lucky for me, Franklin insists I don’t need to max out my credit card to look good.

Franklin works with VIPs and magazines every day while styling photoshoots and red carpet appearances, so it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about what’s hot. After six years of having her own styling biz, she’s got all the top tips on how to perfectly blend your personal style with whatever’s trending right now. Rather than just buying something that doesn’t resonate with you because it’s “having a moment,” it’s all about connecting your personal tastes with the latest pieces.

“Take a moment, sit and think about who you really are, how you want to be, and then turn it up by 10 percent and that will push you to feel bold, but also feel like yourself,” Franklin tells STYLECASTER. “Open up your closet and see what is really in there. For me, when I do that, I’m gonna see rows of dresses…so, I’m going to head to the dress section and know I can experiment with dresses, whether it’s a little romantic or a little more punk. And that’s how I can infiltrate the trends.”

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And of course, you can’t play with what’s uber-trendy until you’ve stocked up on a few still-trending basics. Franklin recently partnered up with Marshalls to showcase her seasonal faves, and she says the department store is where it’s at when it comes to finding the pieces you want without splurging.

That’s what I love about Marshalls,” she says. “You’re not gonna break the bank as you go searching for a new item that’s going to compliment your style, whatever your personality is.”

Below, I picked Franklin’s brain and asked her about her must-have wardrobe essentials for fall and winter 2021. Read on for her thoughts on lug sole boots, outerwear, accessories and more.

STYLECASTER | Wardrobe Essentials


Fall 2021

STYLECASTER | Wardrobe Essentials

Courtesy of Steve Madden.

Lug Sole Boots

Need new boots? “Lug sole boots are my number one, I-can’t-wait-to-stomp-around pick,” shares Franklin. “I’ve already been accumulating them and they’ll take me from fall to winter.” She recommends styling with straight-leg denim during the day and a midi or maxi dress at night.


STYLECASTER | Wardrobe Essentials

Courtesy of Bebe.

Slip Dresses

Speaking of great dresses! Franklin calls her trusty slip dress “A great transitional piece.” This one comes in six hues—and for just $30 bucks, you should probably snag a few.


STYLECASTER | Wardrobe Essentials

Courtesy of Bagatelle.

Anything Leather

Joggers, blazers, jackets, you name it! “Leather just screams ‘fall and winter’ to me,” shares Franklin. This cropped shacket is a great pick for autumn layering.


STYLECASTER | Wardrobe Essentials

Courtesy of Steve Madden.

Gold Chain Details

“My favorite detail for this fall is a gold chain on my leather bag,” says Franklin. “I picked up a bordeaux one, a camel one and a gray one at Marshall’s—and all for $29.99!”


STYLECASTER | Wardrobe Essentials

Courtesy of Jones New York.


As Franklin notes, the chain hardware trend also works for loafers, the season’s top footwear trend. “It’s kind of that perennial schoolgirl, elevated fashion feel,” she insists.


STYLECASTER | Wardrobe Essentials


Winter 2021

STYLECASTER | Wardrobe Essentials

Courtesy of Lucky Brand.

Quilted Puffers

“Keep up with the puffers!” insists Franklin. “Quilted outerwear is super on-trend, so anything with texture. For my puffer, I chose crisp white. I wanted it to feel apres-ski, super chic and perennial, but also very right now.”


STYLECASTER | Wardrobe Essentials

Courtesy of Tahari.

Classic Wool

If puffers aren’t your speed, try something a little more old-school. “I picked up a wool trench coat that feel very glamorous and fabulous, so that I don’t sacrifice any style for warmth,” says Franklin. “That will carry you through whatever kind of winter you have.”


STYLECASTER | Wardrobe Essentials

Courtesy of Steve Madden.

Colorful Cold-Weather Gear

Last but not least, Franklin recommends elevating your current winter wardrobe with thoughtful and impactful accessories. Her picks? “Textured beanies, scarves in saturated hues, impactful prints and bright colors.”


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