When the winds of autumn start to shake the leaves from the trees, it’s the perfect cue to revisit one’s wardrobe and attire. This article seeks to provide a reliable guide to dressing well in the quintessential British autumn, where the hues of leaves underfoot match the timeless elegance and subtlety that mark the UK fashion scene. Here are simple ideas for attaining a smarter, refined look suitable for various occasions this autumn.
So, what should I wear in autumn?
1. Layer Up Elegantly:
Layering is the cornerstone of autumn styling. Start with a high-quality, neutral-toned base layer, like a white or grey cotton t-shirt or white collared shirt. Add to that a fine cotton or wool jumper. That's your core base to work from. Top it with a tailored blazer or to create a versatile and sophisticated look, or if it's really chilly swap the blazer for a thick short coat or a puffer jacket. This layered approach allows you to add and remove layers as you move indoors and back out again, making it apt for the heated shops and restaurants as well as the unpredictable British weather.
2. Embrace the Turtleneck:
I know, this one is a bit Marmitey, but turtlenecks or rollneck jumpers are synonymous with autumn fashion, offering both warmth and unexuberant style. Pair a slim-fit turtleneck with tailored suit trousers, chinos or smart jeans for a look that fits in pretty much anywhere for both casual and semi-formal occasions. To take it up a level, combine it with a well-fitted blazer and polished brogues or very smart trainers.
3. The Quintessential Tweed:
Nothing screams British autumn like a good piece of tweed. And you don't have to live in the country to wear it well either! Whether it’s a blazer, waistcoat, or trousers, tweed is quintessentially smart and remarkably versatile. Pair a tweed blazer with a crisp white shirt, jumper, chinos, and loafers for a polished appearance that transitions effortlessly from day to night.
4. Weather-Appropriate Footwear:
A pair of high-quality, weather-resistant boots is crucial for navigating the often damp and unpredictable autumn terrain. Chelsea or brogue boots in brown, tan or black are practical yet stylish options, pairing well with both casual and formal attire. Don't forget to ensure they are well-polished and treated to weather the elements gracefully.
5. Accessorise Wisely:
Accessories in autumn are not just for looks, they're very practical too. A silk scarf or wool or a combination of both to keep the chill at bay is a must. Go bright and paisley to really stand out. Dump the gardening baseball cap for a classic flat cap or even a fedora style hat to add a dash of personality and warmth to your ensemble. Leather or smart wool gloves will become more necessary as winter draws closer.
6. Vibrant Yet Subdued Colour Palette:
Autumn calls for a colour palette that resonates with the changing environment - to an extent. Generally you can't go wrong with earthy tones like olive green, burnt orange, and various shades of brown. These tones are versatile and pair seamlessly with more neutral hues, allowing for multiple outfit combinations. But just like the scarves above, a splash of colour is so welcome on dreary days, so leave some options for brightness open.
7. Invest in a Quality Overcoat:
I'm a big fan of the long coat, often called a three quarter coat because it comes down to 3/4 of your length. I'll often wear this instead of a blazer or jacket. When the temperature drops, a well-constructed and stylish overcoat can be your best companion and a real attention grabber. Opt for classic cuts in neutral tones like charcoal grey or navy for maximum versatility, but camel is also a great option and can be layered over suits or casual wear, ensuring you stay warm and stylish.
8. Casual Weekend Wear:
For those relaxing weekend outings, it's easy to maintain a smart-casual balance while still including all the tips above. Pair dark denim jeans with a casual shirt and jumper or a long-sleeve polo. Throw on a lightweight quilted jacket or a casual blazer to stay warm outside but easily de-layer inside. A pair of stylish trainers or desert boots can complete the relaxed, yet polished look.
9. Tailored Suiting:
For formal occasions or work engagements, a well-tailored suit is your friend. Layering is a bit trickier as you can't always wear a jumper, but this is wear a thick scarf does an apt replacement outdoors. Choose suits in grey, navy or dark green, tweed is a winner here, and pair them with subtle patterned ties and pocket squares for that flash of flair we all like to see.
10. Rain Management:
Given the propensity for rain in autumn just when you're about to go out, your final piece you may want to add is a mac coat. Raincoats are a bit awkward generally as they're not particularly stylish, so a mac coat combines the best of macs and coats to give you a bit of a compromise. And of course, invest in a sturdy brolly!
Dressing for autumn in the UK is all about embracing classic, versatile pieces and layering them to create stylish, weather-appropriate ensembles. By sticking to a subdued yet vibrant colour palette, investing in timeless, quality pieces, and paying attention to detail, you can navigate the autumn season with grace, sophistication, and a distinctly stylish flair.