Autumn signals the start of the new fashion year; now is the time to pack away those high-summer pieces and rediscover sumptuous textures, longer lengths and rich colour palettes. We enjoy taking this opportunity to fall back in love with the essentials we reach for every year (hello, cashmere knits), while looking for refreshed ways to wear old treasures and carefully selecting the new pieces that will prove to be timeless updates.
This season’s sartorial emphasis on practicality means it’s one of our favourite yet; think cosy shearling coats, velvet tailoring and sturdy lace-up boots. A nod to the 70s sees a return of vintage prints and chunky gold jewellery, as well as one of our fashion heroes – the denim flare. We also love the refocus on versatile separates that can be mixed and matched into our existing wardrobes, and layering items that we’ll use to extend the life of our warm-weather staples. Elegant, versatile and with longevity, here is our edit of the new-season essentials.
THE CASHMERE TEE
We’re big fans of tonal dressing – sticking to one colour makes it so much easier to get dressed in the morning. The trick is to mix different textures, such as a pleated skirt with cashmere. And this year we’ll be wearing the soft fabric in T-shirt form. It not only looks elegant, but also offers a not-too-hot layer of warmth – perfect for the work commute.
THE POLO-NECK BODYSUIT
Last year our wardrobe hero was the polo-neck jumper, layering it under dresses or teaming it with skirts to extend the shelf-life well into autumn. This season we’re investing in the bodysuit version from LouLou Studio, which won’t ride up. Laura will be wearing hers with the universally flattering high-waisted Beverly flared jeans from Veronica Beard, and introducing a pop of red with Valentino’s understated logo shoulder bag. A bucket hat in Burberry’s house check provides a cute, fashion-forward detail, as well as being a stylish alternative to an umbrella on rainy days.
THE LONG BURGUNDY BOOT
Burgundy boots have transformed our A/W wardrobes; they make everything look smarter, and are a great way of turning those almost-autumnal pieces into true seasonal heroes. We love styles with a walkable block heel in soft, slouchy leather, such as these from Rupert Sanderson. Wear them as an alternative to black.
THE ELEVATED SEPARATES
These are one of the smartest buys of the season. Not only will they provide a ready-made outfit, they can also be worn individually with other wardrobe pieces for multiple options. We’re investing in a cashmere co-ord, which we’ll re-wear with midi skirts and jeans.
THE AUTUMN DRESS
When it comes to dresses, Ulla Johnson is one of our favourite designers. This season’s bohemian, sophisticated offerings mean you can rely on her for the perfect summer and winter dress. With long sleeves and an under-slip, as well as its autumnal shades, the billowing Constantine dress can be worn even when temperatures drop. Layer with a cardigan and boots.
THE STRUCTURED SHOULDER BAG
Bags that are both stylish and functional are at the top of our wish list, which is why we love a structured shoulder bag. While a house signature, such as a logo, adds a stylish flourish, avoid those that look too new or flashy, and instead seek out ones with a vintage feel, such as Burberry’s archive-inspired monogram. This small cross-body bag is a perfectly practical size for carrying daily essentials.
THE GO-TO BRAND
Joseph has been a key label in our wardrobes for many years, but we’ve found it especially covetable since Susana Clayton joined as the new creative director. Formerly design director of womenswear at Givenchy, Clayton has kept the aesthetic of the brand, while adding some freshness – think sleek separates and versatile staples that can be seamlessly integrated into your existing wardrobe. This season we are gravitating towards the luxe knitwear that comes in the form of jumpers, skirts and trousers.
THE FOREVER TRENCH
As soon as September comes around, we pull out our trench coats and basically wear them non-stop. A great trench brings together any outfit, adding polish to whatever you’re wearing, as well as providing a chic water- and wind-proof layer. For something so timeless, it’s worth investing. Laura bought her Burberry trench last season and, cost-per-wear, she’s certainly got her money’s worth. Very few items prove as classic and elegant – this is truly something you will wear forever.
THE STATEMENT EARRING
From autumn onwards, necklaces get lost in chunky knits, so we turn our jewellery focus instead to statement earrings, rings and bracelets. We’re pretty obsessed with Lizzie Fortunato’s mismatched heart drop earrings, which manage to tap into the cutesy motif without being kitsch. Use them to elevate a plain jumper or simple shirt.
THE VINTAGE-STYLE KNIT
Vintage-style knits made a return on the AW19 catwalks, and we couldn’t be happier. From Fair Isle to paisley and intarsia, they add a little something extra to your knitwear collection. Our pick is Chloé’s diamond-motif sweater, which can be effortlessly layered over a crisp white shirt, or paired with leather leggings.
THE KITTEN-HEEL MULE
A pair of walkable heels is essential in any shoe collection, and we love the elegant and elongating silhouette of a kitten-heeled mule. If you didn’t invest in Balenciaga’s Knife mules last season, then consider Prada’s classic suede iteration, which comes with a flattering low-cut vamp and squared point-toe. The lack of detail means they are a truly timeless piece.
THE STRAIGHT-FIT LEATHER TROUSER
While we wouldn’t swap our leather leggings for anything, AW19’s straight-fit leather trouser provides a stylish alternative and pairs beautifully with another of our wish-list items: the camel coat. This season’s oversized outerwear silhouette can be tricky to pull off – look for sleek styles that don’t add bulk, such as John Lewis & Partner’s funnel-neck.
THE KNITTED TWO-PIECE
You know you’ve made a successful purchase when you wish you had it in other colours. This is exactly what happened to Laura, who bought an emerald knitted skirt suit from Tibi last year and longed to own it in multiple hues, it proved so useful. This season we’re investing in Joseph’s cashmere V-neck jumper and matching midi skirt, which we’ll relish dressing in on a cold winter’s morning. While grey is a classic, geranium red is also a smart choice, as it adds a flattering pop of colour to autumnal neutrals.
THE LEOPARD-PRINT BOOT
Both a statement and a neutral, leopard is a versatile print that will easily update your existing A/W wardrobe. Laura has already snapped up these Gianvito Rossi leopard boots, which currently have 60% off, and is wearing them with block colours, clashed with prints, peeking out from under coats – in fact, anything that isn’t black (leopard and black is too harsh a combination). The 3.5in stiletto heel gives an elongating lift, yet is still comfortable enough for daily wear.
THE VELVET TROUSER SUIT
This year is all about suit tailoring, and when done right, it’s both flattering and smart. While trouser suits might evoke images of 80s power dressing, new-season designs in sumptuous fabrics and textures have a real feminine twist. We’ve long been fans of velvet tailoring and love its versatile nature; dress it down for day with a T-shirt bodysuit and lace-up boots, switching to a silk chemise and court heels for evening.
THE STOMPING BOOT
We’ve been in the market for a pair of lace-up stomping boots for a while, and are very impressed with Church’s handcrafted leather styles – the polished burgundy and studded pairs being our favourites. Juxtapose their masculine appeal with an ultra feminine dress, or use them to give a simple silk slip a 90s feel.
THE SMART BLACK BOOT
COS has become one of our most trusted high-street brands, thanks to that perfect mix of great quality and smart price. These knee-high boots are a super chic buy, being polished enough to wear to work, but also pairing beautifully with a knitted dress at the weekend. The wearable, low kitten heel and luxe matte leather means you’ll be wearing them non-stop all season long.
THE KNITTED DRESS
We love knitwear in winter, and can think of nothing better than being wrapped in luxurious merino and cashmere. The front-knot and tortoiseshell-effect detailing on Nanushka’s Mahali ribbed dress add interest to an otherwise simple shape. Note the versatile ankle-grazing length, which can be worn easily with trainers, flat boots or a heel. We’re teaming it with Meli Melo’s box bag in chocolate brown – an often neglected, yet chic colour that’s a warmer alternative to classic black.
THE TEDDY COAT
We’ve been contemplating teddy coats for a while now, but have been put off by the chunky fabric and oversized cuts that can swamp. Imagine our delight when we found this faux shearling iteration from Stand Studios, which, although substantial, doesn’t overwhelm petite frames. And have we mentioned how soft it is? If we were adding a new piece of outerwear to our wardrobe, this would be it.
THE INVESTMENT BAG
When it comes to spending money on a new-season accessory, we’re looking for a modern classic that will stand the test of time. Chloé has long been known for its beautifully crafted bags that feel contemporary yet timeless, and this season is no exception. For everyday wear we love the tan Chloé C shoulder bag, which is big enough to carry daily essentials, while the mini-croc shoulder bag with feminine chain strap is a classic evening go-to.
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