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In our minds, September is essentially the New Year’s of the fashion industry. That means a wave of modern styles, fresh silhouettes and lengthy “must buy” shopping lists from every publication, influencer and retailer. It can feel pretty overwhelming to weed through and digest the rush of newness—especially when it comes to accessories—which is why we decided to do the heavy lifting for you and whittle it down to only the most important shoe styles you should know about. With that in mind, here are the only three shoes you need to buy this fall to look 100 percent on-trend.

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fall shoe trends ballerina flats
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1. Ballerina Flats

The 2020 version of the flat isn’t limited to dainty bow-adorned styles. In fact, it’s actually square toes that are currently reigning supreme, according to global shopping platform Lyst. The important thing to keep in mind in order to make this easy-to-wear option feel grown up and modern is to look for flats with substantial arch support. You shouldn’t feel every pebble or crack on the sidewalk below you. Plus, these kicks tend to look better (and feel significantly more comfortable) when there’s a little bit of lift between you and the earth in the form of a supportive sole.

How to Style Them

It’s time to show some ankle, folks! Ankle-baring denim, midi dresses or cropped wide-leg trousers are your best options for dressing up flats the 2020 way. Opt for something with even just a little bit of volume, like a straight leg jean in place of jeggings, or—if you’re game—even a lot of volume, like a flowy tent dress or a pleated midi skirt. Flats already fit close to the foot, so it’s good to balance that out with something looser up top.

fall shoe trends chunky loafers
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2. Chunky Loafers

The rise in popularity of this slightly dorky shoe style can be directly linked to the backless loafer trend that’s been unshakable over the past few years (yes, we’re looking at you, Gucci). This year’s version has evolved from the sleek backless slide to a decidedly chunkier thick sole and, yes, has full heel coverage.

How to Style Them

The chunky loafer is another shoe that works well with cropped silhouettes. In particular we love to juxtapose this more masculine shape with decidedly feminine pieces, like a mini shift dress or puff-sleeve blouse. On the other hand, if that’s not really your jam, we suggest leaning into the cozy nature of the loafer and pairing it with an oversize sweater and cropped straight-leg jeans. (Even better if you layer on a pair of contrasting socks, too.)

fall shoe trends combat boots
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3. Combat Boots

Searches for combat boots are on the rise for both men and women this fall. Of course, Dr. Martens is one of the most popular brands, but it’s actually Prada’s nylon and leather pair (with a mini zippered pouch on the side) that’s currently the number one most sought-after boot, at least according to Lyst.

How to Style Them

Play up the unisex nature of these tough boots by wearing them with either boyfriend or straight-cut jeans and an oversize button-down blouse. Just be sure to roll up your denim for the most flattering fit. If you want to add on some bold statement earrings or a sparkling crystal necklace, go for it—the more festive the jewelry the better. If you’re more of a skirts and dresses kind of gal, opt for shorter hemlines (i.e., styles that hit at the knee or higher) or you’ll risk looking too bogged down with fabric.

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