Who doesn’t struggle in these strange, in-between weather times? Here’s my little story, and one trick, for getting your work style right this autumn.
I know what season it is – obvious outside references aside – by how many layers I put on in the morning. This sounds obvious, but bear with me.
When it is proper winter, I can’t function in any capacity without first starting with a slim, nude vest. Yes, that sounds hugely unglamorous, and truthfully speaking it is. But, unglamorous is sometimes necessary when the mercury is hovering around zero and I want to get through my To Do list. So in my world, it’s officially winter when there is a vest on my body, one in my washing basket and another in the dryer.
Spring, well, I transition out of the vest into some kind of thin, twill jacket – because you never know, right? And I hate being cold. This year, I’ve been surgically attached to a khaki shirt thing, which has no official fashion name but has been on my person whether I’ve been shooting at the Chanel atelier, writing on my laptop, speaking on some or other podcast, or doing the school run. I am the kind of person who finds an item and then sticks with it (another case in point: dungarees) and so this khaki twill jacket thing has been there constantly to deflect cool winds, and can even cope with the odd rain shower.
We all know that summer has arrived when we can leave home at 8am in one single item, a dress say AND have our toes out, and there is barely any scope for getting cold. Summer is lovely, isn’t it. Yes it requires us all to keep our toe nails in good shape, but other than that, I’m sartorially very happy in summer, because I have quite a few dresses that barely get a viewing, so it feels like I’m in new clothes practically every day, even though some date back to the last decade.
And then there is autumn. Hello autumn, we are with you now. Autumn, for me is a glorious month on many fronts. The colour changes outside make me feel genuinely euphoric, those reds (and so on trend, but more about that another time), and the crisp mornings, the unexpected sunshine. I feel autumn is never given the merits that it deserves, not least because I find it’s also the easiest and most enjoyable time of the year in which to get to dressed. Why? Because those summer dresses still have a bit of life in them yet, you can rediscover hidden knitted gems languishing at the back of your wardrobe; it is genuinely warm enough to wear a blazer, t-shirt and jeans, which honestly speaking, is my favourite fashion combination of all time, and you can justifiably think about the coat you may want to buy, without having to actually release the credit card from your wallet. Disclaimer: I usually don’t buy the coat I want to buy, because its too darn expensive. But at this time of year, I can still dream about owning it, and that makes me happy.
Anyway, this is all leading somewhere I promise, and that is: layering. I saw a very chic woman recently who was wearing something very simple, but which encapsulated this time of year perfectly. She had on a simple denim shirt over a thin polo neck (both sleeves rolled up to the elbow), a classic pair of chinos, trainers and some artfully placed gold jewellery. She looked relaxed, perfectly temperate and effortlessly stylish. The reason her outfit worked so well, was that she had borrowed some bits from the outgoing summer months, mixed them into a smidgen of wintery vibes and pulled the whole thing together with relaxed hair and a slick of red lipstick.
So if you are struggling during these in-between, sometimes bright, other days drenched autumn times, defer to layering. Don’t rush to put your favourite summer dresses in a box in the loft, rather, wear one over a slim knit jumper, or under a cardigan. Equally, a shirt works brilliantly left open over a silk camisole or t-shirt, just as it does for smarter environments, over the aforementioned slim roll neck. If you dare, and I love to indulge much to Phanella’s amusement (and I fear, horror), you can also keep your chunky sandals going by slipping them over tights or even better, a pair of Lurex socks.
It won’t be long before the nude vest is out again and we’re all in sophisticated fabrics that keep out the cold and wick away sweat, so while you can, experiment a bit with your wardrobe. Pick your favourite bits from all of the other seasons, and try blending them into something comfortable, colourful and unique. Have fun!