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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

As a SoCal girlie, when I first came to Berkeley I wasn’t the least bit prepared for the Bay Area weather. When fall rolled around and the temperature started to drop, I realized I overdid it with packing shorts and didn’t actually bring enough clothes for the Bay Area climate. If you’re also new to the Bay and Berkeley, or simply want some more inspo, here are 10 must have fall fashion staples that’ll make you feel cozy and cute as the temperature begins to drop!

1. GOOD pair of denim pants

Whether you’re a straight leg, wide leg, or cargo pant girlie it’s vital to have at least one pair of denim pants. I think I underestimated just how cold Berkeley was, and since I’d always worn ripped jeans back home during the winter, I thought I’d be fine. Man, I was so embarrassingly wrong. Now, I mainly gravitate towards a nice pair of ‘90s denim jeans or a good straight leg with zero holes.

2. flared leggings

If you don’t already have a pair of flared leggings in your closet, what are you doing? These were a staple of the 2000s and made a comeback a while ago, and for good reason. They make for a cute, cozy look and can be accessorized for the perfect clean girl aesthetic. Besides, when you have to run across campus to get to Evans Hall and don’t know what to wear, but still want to be comfortable, flared leggings are the perfect piece.

3. puffer jacket

Alright, I know that a puffer is for much colder weather, but like I said, I’m a SoCal native; To me, anything below sixty degrees calls for layers. Aside from that, a puffer will eventually be your best friend at Berkeley. My recommendation is a black or beige one since black matches almost anything, and if you gravitate towards wearing lighter colors, then beige is perf. Not going to lie though, I do own four since I am the number one puffer enthusiast.

4. variety of long sleeve tops

I feel like this one goes without saying, but I’ll say it again. Try to find one amazing quality long sleeve and then buy it in every single color! I feel like my first year I rotated between the same four shirts because my closet consisted mainly of cropped tees and tank tops. Now when I find one good long sleeve, I rush to get every available style there is. My personal favorites are the H&M long-sleeved jersey tops, since they’re a bit fitted, extremely comfortable, and come in a variety of neutral colors to match multiple fits!

5. midi/maxi skirt

I’m a bit biased on this, but I really do believe that a long skirt is a must-have for fall fashion. I first encountered long skirts back in 2020 and immediately fell in love. I’ve never been a fan of mini skirts since I’m just far too picky to like one. They’re too big on the waist, too tight, too short, too long, too everything! A long skirt really saved me, and I think it’ll save you too. They’re perfect for a casual or a dressed up look! As a downtown girlie, I have to do an extreme amount of walking uphill on campus, so I usually dress them with my chunky dad shoes, a fitted long sleeve, and gold jewelry to accessorize. They’re truly a staple in my closet.

6. Knit sweaters

Okay, these are a fall classic. Whether it’s a cute oversized cardigan, simple knit sweater, or a turtleneck, you need one! I have about six of the H&M knit mock turtlenecks, and they’re my all time fav. I constantly pair them with jeans and puffers and it’s the cutest thing.

7. oversized hoodies and crewnecks

Another item that I feel goes without saying is obviously hoodies and crewnecks. No matter where you live, at least one hoodie is an ultimate closet requirement. I love the Berkeley crewnecks we have at the Cal Student Store since they’re cozy and great for showing school spirit! I have four, and I’m not embarrassed to say I’m still on the lookout for more. Another recommendation is also to have some oversized hoodies and crews with a thinner material, so you can layer them with your puffer!

8. boots

When I say boots here, I mean a variety of them. Some I’m biased with for fashion purposes and others are a need when you’re in Berkeley. When I first came to Cal, I didn’t realize just how important of a staple boots would be. I love my Dr. Marten Jadon boots if I want to dress up my skirt outfits, or if I just want to elevate my fit with the platforms. UGGs are another classic I recommend for that cute and cozy look. Just picture those days where you want to sleep in a bit longer before class, and now you quickly have to find an outfit to wear; slipping into a pair of UGGs with your flares and a Berkeley crew is the perfect outfit when you’re in a rush. 

Finally, and most important, is a pair of rain boots. Trust me! I was not at all prepared for the heavy rain here, or for the amount of times I’ve considered skipping my classes when it was raining, solely to avoid getting my shoes soaked. Rain boots are essential when you want to avoid the extremely uncomfortable feeling of wet socks. One moment I’ll never forget is when I really needed to catch the 51B bus and my ankles were submerged in water. The moral of the story? Get rain boots!

9. thick socks and leg warmers

Following up on the topic of boots, another cold-weather essential are thick socks and leg warmers. Imagine being covered from head to toe, but still feeling that your feet are freezing! It’s actually such an awful feeling, so my advice is to invest in some thick socks. And if you’re a boot girlie, leg warmers are truly the perfect accessory to elevate your fit while staying cozy and keeping warm.

10. Sweatpants

Finally, the ultimate essential. Sweatpants. Whether they’re for class, the gym, lounging, or running errands, sweats are always essential. You can pair them with a crew and UGGs for a cozy outfit or add a puffer vest, nice sneakers, and jewelry in order to elevate your look. I don’t want to gas up H&M too much, but gosh they’re just the perfect brand for all your closet essentials, so listen when I say that their wide leg sweats are a godsend. I got a yellow pair on sale once, and now I own multiple. They’re perfectly snug on the waist while being roomy on the legs. They’re perfect for staying cozy and looking cute!

Sweatpants Against A Wall
Arianna Tucker / Her Campus

These fall closet staples can be paired perfectly with each other and are truly essential to surviving Berkeley weather, especially if you’re not used to its various weather conditions. Hope y’all enjoyed this and good luck preparing for a new season at Cal!