What do you mean Summer's over? Well quite, but we mustn't dwell on that. The cold Autumnal weather is creeping in thick and fast, and it's not going to wait around for us to fall out of love with our perpetually-loveable maxi dresses.
Summer's abrupt end can be a disheartening time. Hot-weather dressing is perhaps the easiest, simplest and most comfortable style-season of them all, and it never quite seems to last long enough. Autumn's arrival, however, is much less eagerly anticipated and prompts in us hundreds of frightening fashion questions:
How long can I continue to acceptedly wear my sandals? Do skirts and dresses now have to be teamed with pesky, tearable tights? Is a woolly hat and mini-skirt combo the wrong way to go?
Well, fret-not, fashion friends. I'm here to answer all those scary style concerns and get you looking, loving and leading Autumnal trends this year with ease.
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Create an Autumn-appropriate colour palette
For all you neon-lovers, this one could be hard. Be strong - Summer will come around again next year. 'Autumnal colours' should definitely be less vibrant and eye-catching than their summery counterparts, however, that's not to say they have to be dull.
One of the easiest ways to tackle your autumnal colour palette is by taking inspiration from the world around you. Nature at this time of year offers a great basis to build on - none of us can say that crunchy copper leaves and mossy trees are dull, can we? It's all about those deep, leafy greens, fiery, warm oranges, berry reds and - you get the gist.
Another way to tackle your Autumn colour scheme is to start with what you have. Take a few items of clothing that epitomise what summer-dressing it to you. Then imagine them placed in a photo editor: lower their saturation, increase their warmth, and the result is the kind of transitional colour that you should be aiming for. It's all about hitting the perfect balance between the heat and 'brightness' of Summer, and the bitter cold of Winter - you want to be somewhere in-between the two.
Add layer upon layer
Whilst Summer is all about simplicity and spaghetti straps, Autumn is a much more layered affair. Whilst you don't want to start the Winter dressing season too early and go for looks that are 'clunky', what you do want is to bring a fullness to your sparse looks with knits, soft jerseys and falling shapes.
In order to be prepared for every occasion, forecast and style, you should make sure you have at least one of the following:
- Sloganed sweat - to wear with jeans and over Summer dresses. Choose one with attitude and pair with trainers for all-around cool points.
- Light cardigan - get a few in a selection of colours. Perfect toppers to allow you to squeeze the last bit of wear out of your Summer wardrobe.
- Oversized cardigan - both the power to be chic and cool, depending on the colour and knit weight you go for. Insanely comfortable and comforting. A must.
- Jumper - same use as a sloganed sweat, but without the attitude. Ideal for work, 'meeting the parents'.
Layering is the key to temperature control in Autumn. Keep them light, versatile and neutral, and you'll be able to change your outfit just as quickly as the weather.
Fall for outerwear
In Winter, one, shiver-preventing staple piece of outwear is enough - key-word, outerwear: when you're inside it comes off, so it needn't really match what lies underneath. In Autumn, it's not quite as simple as that.
As Autumnal jackets often stay on when you go inside, they are as much a part of your entire outfit as the dress they cover. They need to coordinate and ideally, complement your existing outfit - they are not a superfluous extra, but an extension of your look.
It's because of all this that some people go understandably crazy on jackets. There are so many options, and as they're not as expensive as coats, it's easy to get carried away and end up with ten of the things. While there's really no need to buy out half of Topshop, if possible, you do want to have several options available:
- Denim jackets - always a safe bet as they're warm, casual and go with everything.
- Bomber jackets - still a massive trend this year and will earn you big style points.
- Short macs - stylish, fuss-free solution to adding some distinctly, 'practical' autumnal vibes to your look.
- Blazers - the obvious choice. Every woman should have at least one in their wardrobe.
- Sleeveless vests - super stylish, but can be difficult to make work and are much less versatile than other options.
However many outerwear options you have this Autumn, remember not to associate them as a stand-alone item, but part of your entire look. Work with them not against them, padding them out with sweats and jumpers on cooler days, and leaving them to do all the work when it's warmer.
Dare to bare
What's the point in spending the entire Summer trying to get yourself a set of lovely, tanned legs, if you're going to cover them up a few weeks later? Get your layering and outerwear sorted, and you'll realise those golden pins are a pinnacle piece of your signature Autumn style.
The easiest and most practical way of rocking the bare leg trend right through goosebump season is: boots. Tall boots, short boots, itsy bitsy boots - whatever your preference, the combination of sensible footwear and a risky thigh flash is the perfect Autumnal style combo.
If you're really not convinced, then turn to your ultimate season-transitioning friend - tights. But do yourself a favour, and invest in a few, good quality pairs. Not only will they last longer, but they just look so. much. better. French women swear by investing in good hosiery, and we all know how renowned their style habits are.
With the weather getting colder, the most obvious thing to do is opt for trousers. However, the obvious definitely isn't the most exciting and there are loads of other options which allow you to carry on your skirt-loving self right into Autumn.
For those of us who feel that the mini is definitely a 'Summer-only' thing, but aren't ready to go full on with a toe-touching hemline before Winter, something in between is required. Yes, of course, I'm talking about the midi. At this time of
At this time of year this mid-ground hemline is your best friend. Offering the warmth of trousers without the restrictedness, they're an elegant and feminine take on 'covering up'. Extremely on-trend and easy to wear, they look just as good with statement sweats and trainers as they do with stilletos and blouses. Not only this, but you'll feel like a true fashion-hero in one of these. Autumn style in one piece? Nailed it.
Forget what your Grandma says - there's never a bad time for short shorts and even shorter skirts. So what if it's freezing outside? It doesn't have to mean teeny-weeny hemlines are off the menu.
Rock summer skirts with boots to dress them down, or pair your favourite shorties with some quality, 15 denier tights to give them an instant Autumnal update.
If you're after something new, material choice is key when opting for a shorter shape in the colder months. Leather, tweed and black denim are all ideal choices - offering a bit more substance and warmth than your flimsy, Summer favourites.
Take your footwear into Autumn
Mid-season Autumn sees a goodbye to our well-worn sandals - or does it? Autumn is a time to be inventive, not restrictive with your footwear, so be prepared to play around a little.
The way I see it, there are three main options:
Sandals and socks
Yes, I said it. Shunned by many as the 'Dad trend', when done right, it's a fast-track way to give your outfit some edge and a side of fun. Fine, transparent socks are best with slightly heeled sandals, but have a play around and see what you feel comfortable with. They look ace paired with a midi skirt and jumper - a conglomeration of Summer and Winter - what Autumn is all about.
The ankle boot: the ultimate transitional piece. Both versatile and comfortable, they can take you from day to night and give a bit of a rock-star vibe to any outfit, which can never be a bad thing. Invest in a real leather pair to make your look stand out.
Team your outfits with tights or ankle socks and a pair of chunky brogues for an instant Autumn update. Hard-wearing and distinctively non-summery, they are a perfect for both the wet and wild journey to work and the sophisticated meeting you have on arrival. Très chic.
It's a sad time when we have to ditch the sunnies. Well, I'm giving you permission to continue wearing yours, so don't go getting sad yet. Rock your sunnies with your denim jackets, jumpers and boots for the coolest look ever, come rain or shine. There's probably no real danger of eye-damage, but eye-wear is arguably the most amazing accessory ever.
The absolute necessity in Autumn accessorising? A fedora hat. The floppy, fussy, Summer hat update, a fedora style is both functional - keeping you dry in those pesky fall showers - and fashionable.
Scarves are another great Autumn option, adding warmth and style in one. Opt for something light but large, with multiple wrapping options in a neutral tone. Use in the same way as your other layers, to build up heat and create a softer silhouette.
Autumnal styling is all about every piece in your outfit working together in harmony: if you have a short skirt, you need to compensate for this with tights and more layers, if you opt for a tweed dress, you can rock bare legs. It's about balance, softness and most importantly, practicality, so have a play around and see what works best for you.
I hope you liked my Autumn-style guide! What's your favourite style-season? Let me know how you work it in the comments below!