As the autumn/winter collections begin to settle, Stephanie Smith picks out five key looks to invest in, right from the start.
Nature is truly magical. You think you want summer never to end, with its warm, endless days of light. And then autumn begins, all hesitant chills and dappled glow, and that’s it – bring on the toffee apples and the falling leaves, because the season of mists is back and it’s the perfect backdrop for earthly rich colour, pattern and texture.
Autumn is fashion’s true home. For a start, we physically need more clothes and accessories than we do in summer, and those clothes have to be warmer, bringing the luxurious and tactile qualities of wool and fur, jersey, jacquard and padded fabrics into the wardrobe.
Let’s start with the skirt, which should be a first key piece investment in autumn’s new look.
The High Street really has embraced the new length of mid-calf. Inevitably, this brings a 1950s’ feel, whether we’re talking pencil skirts or full cuts. But pattern here is key, with bold, arty, punchy colours in playful decoration, especially on full silk skirts, including maxis.
On to fur, faux fur, sheepskin and shearling, which mix in with many of autumn’s new themes and trends, adding quirkiness, sometimes with a touch of fun, but always with an edge of high glamour.
There are coloured shaggy faux furs in nursery blue (reference Gucci), tomato red (Paul & Joe, Anna Sui), teal (Missoni) and a more wearable palette of grey, black and cloudy ivory, with mottled looks thrown in for good measure.
Wear your shaggy coat with leather, with silk trousers and skirts, over your tailored Sixties’ cut dress or with your skinny/slim-fit jeans – it’s nothing if not versatile.
A great investment is a less shaggy but still luxurious shearling gilet or, better still, jacket, probably in black, to team with wispy silk chiffon skirts and ankle boots.
On to knits, which layer head to toe in tonal shades of grey and taupe. In fact, this season sees the emergence of the knitted trouser, cut slouchy and drapey, alongside the more familiar ribbed, fine-knit and jersey leggings, to wear with matching knitted tunic tops and oversize jumpers. These knitted separates all make the perfect investments for elegant, on-trend dressing around the home and for down-time, but choose wisely and they can also mix in with your more formal and working wardrobes. Look for cashmere, if you can afford it and have confidence in your laundry skills.
Folk and fairytale are the season’s most evocative, playful and potentially striking themes. Think enchanted forest and look for prints, knits and embellishment that tap into the magical power of nature, with trees and woodland scenes and motifs, animals and birds and flowers. Layer capes and ponchos, wraps and blanket coats, over printed tunic dresses, or lace maxi dresses, patterned knits and folkish patterned smock dresses. A key investment piece is the woodland, floral or animal print tunic dress, the base upon which to grow your folkish fairytale look.
The Sixties inspired another key look for this autumn, both in terms of shape and pattern. This is fashion’s fun side, referencing the Swinging Sixties with geometric and pop art prints, mini A-line shapes in skirts and bright tunic dresses, neatly belted to wear with knee boots for a retro futuristic look. Invest in a shirt, skirt or dress in poppy geo-print and you’re bang up-to-date and ready to go.