I like to think of September as the start of a new year. Let’s forget January – too dark, vaguely depressing, knackering after the Christmas build-up, often void of alcohol and, sartorially, I find it a touch uninspiring. The January sales are endless and it’s always too cold to really imagine a fresh, sun-filled season ahead.
September, on the other hand, is a joyful clean slate, a revitalising new beginning. Everyone’s back from holiday, refreshed and ready to attack life with renewed vigour. There’s a new school year –finally! Hurrah! (I worship my children but, my goodness, that last stretch is a killer when the fun bus officially runs out of gas.) There are also new-season collections hitting the shops just when we are looking and feeling our best. It is the perfect time of year to reassess, fine-tune the wardrobe and celebrate style.
I love watching a new season trickle into life. From high end to high street, there’s a change of direction, a new palette, a fresh take on what feels relevant and covetable. My big purchases of the season – coat, party dresses, perhaps a new pair of boots – will be made down the line when the collections are out in full force. For now, it feels right just to subtly shift my summer wardrobe into transition mode, and find problem-solving items to update and eek out the investment pieces I’ve bought over the last few months.
My priority is to make my summer dresses work for as long as possible. I’ll edit out strappy, diaphanous beachwear and keep in my (mainly) long-sleeved, romantic peasant dresses with a view to layering up with a luxe 70s vibe. I am a huge fan of using a fine roll neck to reverse layer – a boyfriend cardigan sometimes ruins a dress’s main assets, such as pretty sleeves or a detailed waist.
There is a huge array of colours in new collections and all beautifully lightweight. I’ve just bought a classic cream, merino-wool turtleneck from & Other Stories that is also available in a rich burgundy. Arket has some fab versions in neon pink, deep ochre, orange and slate grey. And I’m obsessed with this teal one from Cos that will go with all the mustard I’ve been wearing. I’m embracing colour for as long as possible and will only give in to black after Halloween.
I love an oversized workman’s shirt. If in doubt, just look at the queen of utility, Pernille Teisbaek. It is the ultimate outerwear for played-down, masculine, Scandi style, and feels perfect for this time of year – great with that shorts-and-healed-mules combo, or belted with a ruffle skirt for a Ralph Lauren ranch feel. Go for classic tones or plaid, and always prioritise rich texture so it doesn’t feel overly lightweight.
H&M does a good faux-leather version of a Balenciaga one; & Other Stories always produces great-quality shirts in brushed wool or corduroy; and Zara has done a green-checked one that’s a fab, inexpensive take on designs from Jacquemus. A Vetements fringed leather shirt is a bold investment buy. If you’re looking for a wide-shouldered denim version for an 80s twist, it has to be Wardrobe NYC.
Jumpsuits are an autumnal essential. Laid back and warmer than a dress, they also tick the right boxes for ‘pre-fall’, making them a one-stop shop of an outfit with seasonal longevity. Now we’re all comfortable with the idea of chic onesies – and they’ve shed the plumber association – jumpsuits are out in force, and more dynamic and detailed than ever.
Isabel Marant’s patchwork beauty is a classic investment buy. Khaki with a twist, it’s an iconic designer’s everyday piece that would be hard to replicate well on the high street. Whistles has done a great bottle-green cord one that reminds me of Anna Mason’s much-heralded original (you’d be hard pressed to find a more stylish 70s one-piece than the Jane jumpsuit). There are a lot of neutral, utility ones around from the likes of Gap (love this relaxed, wider waist) and the Frankie Shop (hello, leg pockets). If you’re looking for a stylish denim version, Frame is the ultimate. I pre-ordered a double-breasted design I saw on another stylist months ago and it was worth the wait.
I’ll wear my sandals for as long as the weather allows, then move mainly into statement trainers and boots for daytime. Shoe purchases will come further down the line, when the weather changes and I’m in full A/W mode. For now, the only new accessory I have to hand is a red lipstick, the brightest I could find from Pat McGrath Labs. It should see me all the way through from tanned to virtually anaemic.
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