By Gwendolyn Rahn
Updated Sep 15, 2015 @ 4:45 pm
Credit: Diego Zuko

So long, summer. It’s time to put away those crop tops and get your wardrobe ready for a season of crisp evenings and afternoon apple-picking excursions. To help you prepare for fall’s festivities, InStyle’s Executive Style Correspondent Dana Avidan Cohn teamed up with the experts at NYDJ to dish on the five key pieces you need to invest in this fall; plus, get her advice on how build a killer outfit around each.


Credit: Diego Zuko

We love any excuse to rock that leather look – especially when we can create it cruelty-free – so you can bet we’re going to jump at the chance to splurge on a vegan leather moto jacket as this season’s staple. InStyle’s Dana Avidan Cohn recommends pairing your new downtown piece with a crisp white shirt, as well as textures like suede and wool, to create a more substantial look.


Credit: Diego Zuko

Mornings are tough, and we don’t just wake up looking like this, so any tips to simplify our routine are always appreciated. Cut your getting-ready time in half with a chic, pre-layered collared sweater and a breezy pair of culottes. We know what you’re thinking – culottes are a summer trend, right? Think again. “Culottes paired with a simple heeled sandal is modern and perfect for the transitional weather,” says Avidan Cohn.


Credit: Diego Zuko

Nothing can upgrade your look like a statement poncho, which also happens to be one of the coziest fall trends for the cooler months. “Buy one that’s visually interesting with a bold pattern in neutral tones to create the best statement” says Avidan Cohn. “Keep the rest of the look simple with coated denim and a block heel.” Take the cool factor up a level by incorporating a chic hat.


Credit: Diego Zuko

It’s all in the details, especially when it comes to your denim. “A moto-zipped detail on denim always makes you look slimmer through the thighs and adds a little bit of an edge,” says Avidan Cohn. You can never go wrong pairing your denim with a simple, sexy t-shirt, but when you layer on a leather jacket and a pair of open-toed booties, your look instantly becomes fall-ready.


Credit: Diego Zuko

Yes, there are such things as skinny boyfriend jeans. It’s everything you love about the original baggy pair, like its comfort and ease, but with a sexier, slimmer fit. “Wear them with a simple striped knit and leather slides to create the perfect vibe for your fall weekends,” says Avidan Cohn.