How To Shop For The New Season – According To An A-List Stylist

How To Shop For The New Season – According To An A-List Stylist

Ready to update your autumn/winter wardrobe but not sure where to invest? Few people are better placed to help than New York-based stylist Allison Bornstein. From the high-end pieces that are worth your money to the trends to know, she’s on hand to help you build a chic wardrobe for the season ahead…

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Before you buy anything, ask yourself what you really like. Smart shopping decisions require you to be real with yourself about what you enjoy wearing in your day-to-day life. Start by thinking about what you wore this summer and what worked for you. For example, were you wearing a lot of denim shorts and t-shirts? What about dresses, trousers and tank tops? Personally, I wore lots of linen and silk trousers, which makes me think I’ll want to keep wearing those sorts of pieces this season. Transition them into autumn by adding knitwear and great jackets, or perhaps shop for a similar style of trouser but in wool instead. It’s a great way to mirror your existing wardrobe without feeling like you need to start from scratch.

This season is all about simplicity. The recent revival of classic dressing – in fact, it almost borders on preppy – has definitely carried through to AW21. Think tailored trousers and menswear-inspired button-downs. Post-pandemic, many of us are evaluating which pieces we really want in our wardrobes and realising classic pieces are what stand the test of time. Instead of impulse buying a bunch of trend-led pieces, try to invest in basics and staples you can wear time and again.

Take some time to figure out how you want to dress. It’s important to know what your personal style looks like, so you have a better sense of what to incorporate into your wardrobe this season. To make it easier, create a folder on your phone of looks from Instagram, Pinterest or anywhere else that have inspired you. From there, analyse the common themes. If you find you’re drawn to outfits with a more tailored silhouette, maybe it’s time to invest in a nice pair of trousers. Alternatively, if the images have lots of pops of colour, your investment purchase this season could be a bright bag. It’s worth taking the time for a little reflection – I promise it will make things smoother in the long run.


Buying a couple of killer accessories is a great place to start. When you start shopping for autumn, a pair of boots or great belt are always good first buys, as they often form the foundation of your outfits for the rest of the season. If that piece is versatile enough and you really love it, you’ll find yourself able to build on it – for example, you might decide to buy a pair of trousers or jeans based on whether they’ll work with the boots you just bought. 

Know what to invest in, and where to save your money. It kind of goes without saying, but spend a little more on pieces that will last and you’ll get plenty of wear from – like coats and jackets because they have the power to elevate any look.. You can find inexpensive, great quality knitwear at Uniqlo and Everlane, so I usually stock up on cashmere sweaters there. Expensive denim isn’t always necessary, either. Zara has some great shapes which are very affordable. What I will say is that even if a piece doesn’t cost the earth, you should still treat it like an investment and not something to be thrown away in a few months. Buy things you want to own forever, regardless of the price tag. 



There are six things every woman should have in her autumn wardrobe. A pair of jeans that make you feel good when you wear them. Finding the perfect pair can be tricky but it’s worth it in the end. A classic, tailored coat – you can throw a great coat over anything and it instantly becomes more of a look. A pair of boots that are easy to walk in, but still feel elevated and chic. A button-down shirt, whether it’s poplin or a more fluid silk material. I like to wear those tucked into denim, but they’re such a useful layer to have regardless. A great trouser – they’re an easy way to look polished while still being comfortable. Pair a wide-leg style with a cashmere sweater and boots or sneakers. A statement jacket – having a fun jacket that can be thrown over a simple outfit is such a signature look. Plus, it can add some personality to your wardrobe.

Be careful with colour. If you’re worried about how to introduce colour into your autumn wardrobe, look only at the colours you’re drawn to. Make a note of what colours you have in your wardrobe already, and make sure any pieces you buy fit with what you have already. For example, if you only wear neutrals and then buy something bright pink, it will stand out hanging in your closet. As such, you might find it harder to style, and it could end up not getting a lot of wear.

If you buy one thing, make it a jacket. Ideally, you want something you can throw over a tee or over a sweater to make it feel more interesting. Top of my list is a Chanel-inspired collarless jacket – I love how they feel both ladylike and classic, but when paired with sneakers and jeans, the look feels modern and cool.

Finally, the brands to check out this season are… Maria McManus, who does amazing sustainable knits and trousers. Refine, for the best basics. I love the new jersey collection, which includes this pair of leggings which actually make you feel dressed up when you wear them. Nili Lotan – she really leans into the 70s vibe, so you can get that vintage look without having to dig through thrift stores. Linnea Lund for cashmere and Totême – which has everything you need to create a capsule wardrobe. 


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