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Early autumn is without doubt my favourite time of year. It feels like a sartorial fresh start, back from holiday and ready for a new season. I'll keep my sandals on for as long as possible, but my go-to hack for easy, transitional style is to offset an open toe with knitwear on top – it's such a cool, laid-back contrast and feels practical for now.
I enjoy wearing separates and I'm a fan of the French tuck, but it can add bulk, so I'll leave my longer-line, more substantial knits for later in the season. Right now, the boxy, modern cropped jumper has been a revelation – I'm teaming sharp, high-waisted trousers and midi skirts with a perfectly formed, cropped jumper that sits precisely at a structured waist.
The right length will very much depend on your body shape and how long your torso is, but ideally you want a knit that sits just beneath your waistband. Don’t fret – this isn’t a Miu Miu moment with full stomach on show. These cropped knits are practical to wear, offering a chic and seamless join with your bottom half. Width is also important – the fit should be boxy, giving you slightly 80s vibes, so look for silhouettes that widen the shoulders and narrow the waist. Anything too tight and you might as well opt for a streamlined bodysuit instead.
You have to be careful that black doesn’t look boring – particularly if you’re buying at the higher end of the market. Silhouette is so important here, which is why Chloé's sculpted balloon-sleeve jumper is such a winner. A little narrower in shape, the generous arms mean you can exaggerate your waist even more, adding a belt or opting for a paper-bag pair of trousers. Equally, if the silhouette is strong, black leather will keep things interesting. Elsewhere, Alexander McQueen has a similar knit in a chunkier style with high neck and chic back-zip detailing – perfect for when the weather gets chillier. For added texture, Cecilie Bahnsen has a luxe, fluffy cable-knit jumper with an asymmetric hemline – it would work perfectly with soft pleated or tiered skirts.
Stick to neutrals and you’ll max out on wearability. You can't go wrong with a grey knit – it’s my opinion that everyone should own one. Perfect with gold jewellery and blue jeans, it even works with leopard print and leather. My favourite high-end design is by Loewe, while on the high street both & Other Stories and Zara have some great options. Somewhere in the middle is Loulou Studio with its slouchier design.
Alternatively, try a soft brown. Earthy shades are often flattering against the skin, and you can style them up with a tan leather midi skirt or wide cream trousers. ARKET has a soft version made from recycled cashmere and JW Anderson has one with a fringe-effect hemline. In terms of more delicate, feminine shades, Alice & Olivia has a beautiful, soft demi-turtleneck in camel – available via THE OUTNET – and if you're after a prettier tone, look no further than MaxMara’s pastels. I tend to use pale pink as a ladylike neutral – it works beautifully with a deeper autumnal palette of rich berry tones and forest green.
Nautical stripes rarely go out of style, and I love the idea of updating my Breton knit with a cropped version. The Frankie Shop’s Athina turtleneck and Celine's boat-neck style are both elegant and timeless. If you're planning ahead and want to focus on heavier knits for the winter, Navy Grey has a shorter jumper called The Easy in a variety of colours – ideal with high-waisted tailored tweed or checks. COS is always worth a visit and its double-layered V-neck knit is great for layering with a simple stripe shirt. Finally, if you love classic cream cable-knits and want to wear them with high-waisted tapered trousers tucked into boots, Paton and Le Kasha have both delivered.
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