OK, first things first, you probably don’t actually NEED these things. Your life is not going to suddenly become immeasurably harder if you haven’t rushed out and found this season’s perfect skirt. You won’t experience the rush of panic you get when you wake up to find there’s no milk in the fridge or you’ve run out of loo paper. But, (and this is for my mum’s benefit because she always says about shoes, “I don’t NEED them” while managing to justify twenty summer skirts) you will shop as the weather turns colder so you might as well buy the most stylish stuff, right? If it was all about need then you could probably make do with just seven outfits. My friend Sarah worked in the city with a girl who wore the same skirt to the office ten days in a row. It wasn’t even that nice a skirt. Anyway, I think I’ve made my point – it’s about wanting something, not needing it, that’s why people shoplift.*
There’s a lot of great stuff out there and after seasons of ladylike chic and razor sharp outlines it’s all gone very relaxed. For the first time in ages the emphasis is taken away from the dress and separates are the thing. Skirts are generally longer, trousers are wider and boots are clumpier. Of course you will still find a plethora of contrasting styles – if skinny jeans and mini skirts are your thing there’s no need to panic – but things are a-changing and there is a far wider choice this autumn than last.
Don’t forget though that not all of these cuts work for everyone, you should still go with the shapes that suit you best and the colours that are the most flattering for your skin tone. I for one am not the best shape for a polo neck but it doesn’t stop me doing the 60’s look – there is always more than one way to do a trend justice. Here are my top ten wardrobe buys for the season ahead:
1. Wide leg trousers
Think Katharine Hepburn and wear with a softly draping top. Wide leg trousers look good with flats or heels and are infinitely more stylish in the office than skinnies. This season’s take has a higher waist and a front crease. Not for those with short legs.
2. Biker jackets
This River Island leather jacket is a steal, when I think how much I paid for my Whistles biker jacket last winter – aaagghhh… This comes in a teal shade too and unlike many of the high street versions is actually leather rather than ‘leather-look’. This is a classic which has endured several seasons now because it is so darn versatile. Go for any colour other than black to keep it modern and to avoid looking like a T-Bird.
3. Polo necks
Approach with caution if you have a fuller bust. This is a great way to work the sixties vibe that is currently in but can be a fast track to looking neckless. Wear under sleeveless dresses or jackets for work and consider a statement necklace to break up a dark colour. The lace insert on this Reiss piece reveals some flesh and is perfect for the evening.
4. Longer length skirts
I know I keep harping on about midis but MIDIS ARE GREAT and they suit everyone! This one from Miss Selfridge is stunning and has a vintage feel. Alternatively, go for a longer and more lean silhouette which this season comes with a dramatic slit (but not Angelina Jolie’s errant left leg sadly).
This isn’t to have in your wardrobe strictly speaking but before you laugh, you know you can literally buy a fringe don’t you? You don’t have to have the chop, you can just clip one on. In a manner of speaking. I love my fringe but am backed up by a vast array of hair accessories and hats to cover any eventuality. Which leads me neatly on to no.6…
Hooray for hats! They cover hide a multitude of sins from forehead lines to overplucked eyebrows and frizzy fringes (see above). There are an abundance on the high street now so you can go relaxed and cosy in a cashmere beanie (H&M and Cos have some lovely ones) or more uptown in a felt fedora (try Zara or ASOS).
I thought pleats would be a flash in the pan trend but they’ve been around for some time now. Combine the midi and the pleat and you have a piece that is surprisingly versatile. Wear it with knee boots and a chunky jumper for a breezy look. Or more dressy with a skinny rib polo neck and heels. Stop thinking school uniform – pleats are cool now!
8. Romantic cover ups
Not as clandestine as it sounds. In this in between seasons time, a coat feels too heavy so thank the lord there are many more interesting options to throw over your outfit. Kimonos are tricky but useful. Don’t go for a cheap print fabric or you’ll end up looking like you should be under a hairdryer in a 1940’s salon. With kimonos the floatier and longer, the better. Alternatively, try a duster coat which is equally as light but less girly and less likely to have tassels that will catch in your zips.
9. Laced up shoes
Strictly speaking, winter in the UK lends itself to boots and more sensible footwear but with party season just around the corner, you might as well be prepared. These shoes are no more sensible than they were in the summer and now they’re even more deserving of their ‘hooker shoe’ nickname than they were previously. They’re high, strappy and laced-up. And a lot of them are red. See what I mean?
It is a more slouchy season in general and the serious bags of recent years are not as ‘It’ as they once were. For me, the loveliest bag of the moment is from the Marc Jacobs collection designed by Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley. It is a warm grey, it is soft and squishy and it is reasonably priced. It won’t fit a poodle or a small toddler in it but it will hide the dirt and go with pretty much everything in your wardrobe. I want it.**
* I am in no way advocating shoplifting
** If I’m not bought it I may have to change my stance on shoplifting