10/14/2014 08:29 EDT | Updated 10/14/2014 12:44 EDT

10 Timeless Fall Fashion Staples You Need In Your Wardrobe

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Fall is here! But not in that metaphorical sense we've been trying to sell since Sept. 1 and we were still wearing shorts: no, like, fall is here.

So that being said, most of us have hit that strange level of panic that comes with realizing you’ve got way too many clothes you can only wear when it’s warm. And that’s okay—we’re all human. What’s important is that we're here to help you navigate the fall fashion staples you can safely bank on being able to wear for the next few years, or until they fall apart.

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Photo gallery Fall 2014 Staples You Need In Your Closet See Gallery

1. Backpacks

You may hate backpacks but the thing is, fall calls for extra layers and the re-evaluation of one’s commute. During the summer months, you crave minimalism—and the idea of under-backpack sweat is arguably the stuff of nightmares. But come autumn and winter? You layer up. You bundle. You buy a backpack because it feels like the back-to-school thing to do, and suddenly walking doesn’t seem like a chore and your shoulder doesn’t feel broken anymore. Not convinced? Herschel will change your mind with their cool duds.

2. Eternity Scarves

If anybody tells you these are a short-lived trend, you pretend you agree and you cut them out of your life. Eternity scarves are practical—you’re not about to get stuck on a shelf or hook or lose your scarf if you literally have to pick it up off your neck to remove it. That, and they go with everything. We can promise you that whether with a hoodie, flannel, or denim-on-denim, the scarf is your friend.

3. Denim Vests

Never has a transitional piece been so underrated—especially since during the occasional warm(ish) day, all you need is some sort of layer to combat cool temperatures. Enter: the denim vest. Like a jacket, but without sleeves (for anybody reading this who’s never seen a vest before), and wearable over tank tops, t-shirts, hoodies, button-ups—anything. That’s the thing: you can wear a denim vest with any piece ever. And while store chains are all carrying their own, you can also just head to a thrift store, pick up an old denim jacket and cut off the sleeves for about $4. Pins and patches optional (but recommended).

4. Faux Fur Vests/Sweaters

Basically, here’s something we wish we'd known when we tossed all our nineties faux fur sweaters: it’s okay to look like a Muppet. We’re seeing fur revived through vintage appreciation, yes, but brands like H&M and Topshop are also offering animal-friendly alternatives that can take you through many autumns, winters, and costume parties (like, if you were to go as Margot Tenenbaum for Halloween as some of us have). And the weirder the better: finally, fall is being infused with colours other than “leaf tones” so don’t be afraid to stay bright.

5. Sneakers

We have about five days left before it starts snowing in Canada. (Just kidding: it's eight days.) So that being said, the time to wear sneakers is now. Converse, Vans, or even Aldo’s gold sneakers (that will in no way stand up to snow and salt) work with almost anything, and offer a last few months of variety before you live in the same pair of boots for 46 weeks.

6. Leggings

We all laughed, didn’t we? We spent 2008 and 2009 laughing and condemning leggings as though we were above them or the idea of true, cotton comfort. Well guess what: we aren’t. And after freakish amounts of pie and Thanksgiving cuisine (or Halloween candy – your call), the only answer is stretchy pants. Perhaps printed, perhaps leather, perhaps plain—leggings are the answer to every lazy moment and/or day. Especially if you pair them with good boots and a great top, you’ll still look fantastic. (Bless us everyone.)

7. Toques

"But toques are for winter!" said the person who has never been to Canada or the northern United States (and we guess the UK too). Lies! Lies: toques have come a long way from the over-the-top eighties numbers we paraded in as kids. Now, they’re over-the-top with detachable veils. (Or, you can hit up Target, a vintage store, or Value Village for a classic style with a little less flair – that, again, you can wear with anything.)

8. Oversize Everything

Is “oversize everything” one thing you can buy specifically? No. But it’s an important rule to remember: tis the season for layering and for being warm. We can pretend that a light fitted coat over a dress will work for October, or we can get with it, and make like The Row and adorn ourselves in as much fabric as possible. Think oversize button-ups, coats, and sweaters. And if anybody objects? May they be as cold as they’re trying to make you.

9. Flannel

Fine! we're doing it. We're committing to flannel in a permanent capacity, but we're doing it for good reason: flannel is the most important autumn (and winter) style to exist. It’s warm, it stays true to our nineties obsession, and you can wear it with whatever you want. Brands like Roots went for it with both traditional and tunic styles, while L.L. Bean’s pieces are big enough for you to wear as a light jacket or over top a pair of high-waisted shorts (with tights) and boots. Alternate option: you head to the men’s button-up section of Value Village, and you bulk up for a handful of dollars. Second-hand flannel is arguably the best kind.

10. Docs And/Or Blundstones

They look wonderful, and they go with everything. (Coming from the person who wears Docs all winter with very old and giant fur coats.) We hate the term “investment piece” (because we’re not bankers), but – ugh – they are.