The big chill is almost here – this is what to wear once the weather turns

The big chill is almost here – this is what to wear once the weather turns


Written by Naomi May

Back to school/work/life season means you’ll need a uniform to match. These are the autumn style essentials to prioritise this season.  

You might have formed an unhealthy, borderline toxic relationship with your Havaianas this summer, but the time is almost here to pack them away, along with your cozzies, linens and moo-moos. Don’t shoot the messenger, but if the recent forecasts are anything to go by, spine-tinglingly cold gusts of wind are on the horizon, which means one thing only: the return of autumn fashion.

Ha ha, I hear you laugh: there are only four seasons of the year, of course the third quarter is almost upon us. But that’s precisely what we’ve lacked this year: continuity, predictability.

The stop-start heatwaves and the waves of tropical rain in climes that are usually far from tropical have left us collectively in sartorial dire straits. Never before has dressing been so complicated, such a a 50:50 guessing game to determine which temperature will come up trumps today. 

More is always more when it comes to autumnal dressing.

For those who relish the cosiness and relative stylistic comfort of the colder months, you may rejoice as we crash-bang-wallop our way out of the stifling tunnel of summer; for others, perhaps you’re already pining for your flip-flops and kaftans. Either way, there are silver linings to autumn dressing, the sort that give more than they take; you’ve just got to sift through the noise. As Matisse once said: “There are always flowers for those who want to see them,” and that’s never been truer than for transitional dressing – there’s always some aspect of it you’ll enjoy.

Whatever it may look like: autumn is coming, so be prepared and stock up because, before you know it, we’ll be wading through the bleak mid-winter and god knows what that’ll look like.  

Best autumn fashion trends 2022

Cargo pants are your fashion BFF 

Cargo trousers are a transitional style staple for good reason: they’re simple, easy and fuss-free.

Denim is dead (sort of) and flares are as forgettable as the Posh Cheddar and Pickle baguette you had for lunch for the fourth day in a row. The order from the style set is to keep it cool – which is to say, warm – during autumn and embrace cargo pants. Don’t shy away from their slouchy silhouette; in fact, if you can’t beat them, join them, and try dialling the XXL up a notch with an equally baggy top. They say two wrongs don’t make a right, but in this case they absolutely do. 

  • Minga London Rheo cargo trousers

    Minga London Rheo cargo trousers

    Minga London is the brand known specifically for its cargo trousers and skirts, which makes it a no-brainer to snap up a pair of the parachute pants.

    Shop Minga London Rheo cargo trousers, £70


  • Asos Design Curve oversized cargo trousers

    Asos Design Curve oversized cargo trousers

    White cargo trousers are never a bad idea. Pair them with an all-white outfit and just watch them come to life.

    Shop Asos Design Curve oversized cargo trousers, £22.50


  • Peachy Den Mimi cargo trousers

    Peachy Den Mimi cargo trousers

    Crafted in a punchy cobalt tone, Peachy Den’s slouchy cargo trousers have been the style set’s go-to pair of choice and they struggle to stay in stock (for obvious reasons).

    Shop Peachy Den Mimi cargo trousers, £160


A maxi dress is always a good idea 

A maxi dress is both stylish and simple, but without giving too much away.

Maxi dresses for autumn are always a good idea – so shed any connotations you have of them with balmy days and breezy nights. To transition into the autumn months, they need a couple of tweaks: reach for long sleeves that will keep potential gusts of seasonal winds at bay; opt for sweeping silhouettes rather than clingy, body-hugging sorts; and wear with layers – always, always wear with layers. If there’s one thing we know for sure it’s that there’s nothing predictable about this weather, so always be prepared. 

  • Dodo Bar Or Isla maxi dress

    Dodo Bar Or Isla maxi dress

    Dodo Bar Or’s Isla dress is all the right levels of Balearic bohemian glamour. Pair with stomper boots and a stable of gold jewellery for an impossibly put-together yet effortless ensemble.

    Shop Dodo Bar Or Isla maxi dress at Matches Fashion, £297


  • Rixo Pia dress

    Rixo Pia dress

    Keep maxi dresses loose and oversized – sort of ‘off-body’ – to transition them effortlessly for autumn. All they need is a minimal mule and a seasonal print for them to enter the fresher months with maximum style points.

    Shop Rixo Pia dress, £285


  • Raey dropped-waist knitted maxi dress

    Raey dropped-waist knitted maxi dress

    Matches Fashion’s own-brand, Raey, is a purveyor of minimalism without veering into sartorial boredom. Simply spruce up with more-is-more jewellery and metallic accessories to bring it into autumn.

    Shop Raey dropped-waist knitted maxi dress at Matches Fashion, £595


The key lies in the layering 

Keep your layers light and interchangeable to nail autumnal dressing.

This ought to come as no surprise to any eagle-eyed fashion fan, but layering in the depth of winter is crucial to maintaining a patina of prowess. Employ the use of softly padded gilets and light, quilted coats to insulate yourself without compromising on style. 

  • Damson Madder leopard gilet

    Damson Madder leopard gilet

    London label Damson Madder’s layering essentials are the crux of the internet’s insulating ensembles. Throw this padded number over a jersey and underneath a coat for you to peel off as the day goes on, should the sun decide to put its hat on.

    Shop Damson Madder leopard gilet, £65


  • F&F diamond quilted khaki gilet

    F&F diamond quilted khaki gilet

    The key with gilets is to make them as boxy and roomy as possible, and to add a touch of sartorial jazz-hands, just add some outré accessories. 

    Shop F&F diamond quilted khaki gilet, £26


  • H&M quilted jacket

    H&M quilted jacket

    Quilted jackets are a favoured fashion staple of the Copenhagen style set, and for obvious reasons too: they’re as easy to throw into a bag as they are to snuggle into if the weather takes a turn.

    Shop H&M quilted jacket, £39.99


The bigger the boot, the better 

These boots were – and always will be – made for walking.

Your feet may have become accustomed to the slight fit of your favourite summer sandals, but – as ever – boots will be back in business imminently. The good news this year, however, is that all boots are welcome to this footwear fiesta. Since the return of the Ugg and the Moon Boot to the fore, this has become an open-minded space for any and all boots. All are welcome and all are accepted (but these are a few of our favourites).

  • Bobbies May boots

    Bobbies May boots

    Bobbies is the Parisian footwear realm’s best-kept secret. We’re loving its heeled May boots, but its cosy walking boots and pared-back shoes are all equally moreish.

    Shop Bobbies May boots, £210


  • Ganni Mid Chelsea boot

    Ganni Mid Chelsea boots

    Still looking for the perfect pair of stomper boots? Now’s your time to bag yourself a pair of Ganni’s super-shiny forever boots, which are a staple in all hard-working wardrobes.

    Shop Ganni Mid Chelsea boot, £355


  • Moon Boot Mars shearling boots

    Moon Boot Mars shearling boots

    Moon Boots aren’t just for the slopes now; wear them with baggy jeans and jumpers for an easy and cool autumnal get-up.

    Shop Moon Boot Mars shearling boots at FarFetch, £193


Waist-up dressing reigns supreme

Waist-up dressing is perfect for autumn; keep your top half busy and your bottom half cosy.

How do we categorise the nebulous in-between sartorial requirements of autumn, which quickly descends into the freezing chaos of winter? Without swearing, let’s just agree that it’s difficult and often accompanied by the sort of emotional black cloud that can be seen from space. The solution to stop-start seasonal dressing can be found in the virtues of waist-up styling, the sort of thing that everyone was doing during the pandemic. Party on the top, business on the bottom.

  • Kai Collective Xyla cotton crop top

    Kai Collective Xyla cotton crop top

    If you’re not already familiar withKai Collective, now’s the time to get to know the label. Keep your bottom half ultra-flared and revel in that va-va-voom of the Xyla cotton crop.

    Shop Kai Collective Xyla cotton crop top, £90


  • Rixo Dallas blouse

    Rixo Dallas blouse

    Rixo’s blouses speak for themselves: they’re cool, comfortable and so versatile they can be trotted out year after year, season after season.

    Shop Rixo Dallas blouse, £165


  • Never Fully Dressed green gingham top

    Never Fully Dressed green gingham top

    Bright bursts of fruity apple green are always the ultimate accoutrement to true-blue jeans. Take this example of waist-up dressing to the next level with a pair of statement earrings and a bold lip.

    Shop Never Fully Dressed green gingham top, £39


Images: Getty Images

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