My favourite season is here. And I’m missing it.
I know that, hailing from paradise, I really don’t have grounds to complain, but in the decade I’ve been living in the Northern Hemisphere this has been my favourite time of year – and now that I’m staring down the barrel of hurricane season as opposed to the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, I find I’m really missing it.
There’s just something about Autumn. The light falls differently and everything is golden. The air smells cleaner, the leaves decorate the pavements, and I always feel a calm settle on my soul: the world is no longer waiting for something to happen. In Autumn I always feel as though I’ve arrived at wherever I was rushing to be, and I’m sitting back and soaking it all in. I just love it.
I also love the slow transition to a cosier, cold-weather wardrobe. I’m a total sucker for the soft knits, chunky layers and leather boots of the season. Every year at about this time I would usually invest in a new coat, some basic knits and a new pair of boots. I pull out a few pairs of whichever jeans look best on me and have them on the most reachable shelf so I can rotate them through the week and change up my look. Basically, Autumn is my fashion happy place, and as this is the first time in ages I’m not actually living it, I wanted to write about it.
So I spoke to friend and fashion retail expert Pippa Martin about her top tips for Autumn 2016: what to wear as the days get chillier and the nights draw in, and how to get the best out of your wardrobe for this season and the winter to come. Here’s what she said…
Keep it simple
“I always feel the best way to make your wardrobe work for you is to keep your colour palette simple – greys, blues, black, neutrals and block colours. This way you can mix and match pretty much everything and will have a much larger wardrobe with fewer pieces – but ones you really like.”
Denim Do’s and Don’ts
“My big tip for this time of year would be to invest in denim,” she says. A lot goes into a good pair of jeans – the cut, the rise, the position of the pockets, and so it goes on. You’ll need to try on plenty of options to find the ones that are right for you – Pippa tells me that skinny or straight leg with a mid rise are usually the best for most people, and her jean of the season is from Acne Studios. She recommends going to a department store with a denim studio where a sales assistant can advise you. This is exactly what I did (at her urging) a couple of years ago and I came away with a pair of J Brands in mid blue which set me back a bit but which I wear almost every day – and they still look brand new. “The most important thing about denim is not to wash it too often,” Pippa says. “And when you do, always wash inside out on cold. That way your jeans will last longer.” And what about double denim? “Double denim all the way! I like to mix black and blue or grey and black on the top and bottom, which gives a more subtle take on the look.”
All about the knits
Oh how I love the chunky knits and soft cashmeres of Autumn and Winter! Pippa’s staple (which she’s worn regularly since I’ve known her and which I always compliment her on when I see it) is the All Saints Pirate Cardigan. You can wear it loads of different ways (hence me thinking it was a different piece each time I saw it) and it goes with everything. “Whistles also have some really nice transitional pieces,” Pippa says. “Look out for the tie knits – the grey one has found its way into my wardrobe this season.” Whatever you get, the shape is paramount – not too tight or too short, it should fit like a glove. Also, the thing about knitwear is that the lovelier it is the more delicate it is, so Pippa suggests having more pieces and wearing/washing them less often. Knits are wonderful for layering – with a white shirt under (still a big trend, apparently!), or with a leather jacket over.
“And for a completely different look, go with a wool wrap coat with a belt,” she suggests. “It’s a more casual look but you can dress it up and its and great for layering.”
The leather jacket
On this subject Pippa has two words: “Always black.” Every other colour leather jacket is a trend – so buy a beautiful black one and keep it for years – try Karen Millen, All Saints, Zadig & Voltaire, Maje or Theory – or go to a department store where you can compare lots of options. Nothing beats the smell of a beautiful leather jacket.
Boots for walking
The low-heeled ankle boot is still very much in this season – we kid-lugging, toddler chasing mama’s will be delighted to hear. Pippa’s hot tips for boots this season are Billi bi Copenhagen, All Saints, Comptoir des Cottoniers and Acne. Happy shopping people!
“Your accessories are what really bring your outfit to life and give them the look you’re going for,” Pippa says. “Wear a chunky scarf in the day and then glam up with some beautiful earrings or a simple long necklace at night. Check out Monica Vineder and Alex Munroe – two of my favourite jewllery designers at the moment. Likewise for bags: a cross-body bag or simple shopper in the day and a beautiful clutch at night. I love the Celine Trio and the Goyard Shopper. Also, your accessories are where you can have some fun and bring splashes of your favourite colours to your ensemble.” Just thinking about it makes me happy…
So as we sweat it out in the tropics, waiting for a rather serious looking hurricane to make its way to us, I’m thinking of Autumn. Of the leaves outside my old bedroom window turning glorious shades of golds and reds, of the dew lingering longer on the grass, my daughters bundled up in their jackets and the light falling just so on Mont Blanc in the late afternoon.
To Autumn – you beautiful thing – with love.