I’d say sitting front seat with a glittery chocolate strawberry, fruit on sticks, and a fresh smoothie at a Vogue event in collaboration with John Lewis over at the exquisite side of Leeds that makes me feel more affluent and superior than I actually am, is most definitely a peak of my blogging experience.
A few weeks ago now I was invited down to a group conference with the lead fashion experts discussing the newest, upcoming trends, what’s hot and what’s not, the key pieces you need in your capsule wardrobe, and the tips and tricks on how to seasonal style like a pro. Ellie, the fashion feature editor of British Vogue was our talker for the evening and was on hand to showcase her favourite autumn/winter transitional garments she’d picked up whilst racing round the second floor of womenswear like she was on supermarket sweep (the ideal dream, tbh.)
Separated into sections, she guided us through the six lead building blocks into creating an everyday staple assemblage, along with an insight into what she’s personally digging and some sage advice on what buoyancy to opt for regarding your individual tastes and body shape. To my satisfaction, Ellie was all about that autumn dressing, favouring corduroy and cashmere, coats and boots, deliciously thick jumpers layered on top of flowing dresses and body swamping scarves over flimsy dresses and summer sandals. I vigorously nodded in agreement at this statement, happy to hear there’s someone else who feels the same way I do towards the fashion down low in the colder months.
The highlighted trends were all about wearability, comfort and investment but without taking away the simplistic sartorial sophistication. It was all about understated pieces with a twist, those you can experiment and expand with and the variety of essentials that are bound to carry you right through to next year and beyond.
THE RIGHT COAT
I don’t know about you but as soon as October hits the hunt for the perfect coat is first of priorities on my list. This year is particularly lavish, with patent leather, brocade, those chunky borg and teddy textures you can throw over night or day and the traditional fur being all the rage, but what is high up there with the finesse is checks; from houndstooth to windowpane, Prince of Wales to tartan and your ordinary heritage checks – it’s the must have statement this winter not just according to Vogue but everywhere you turn. An asset you can pull out like an old friend and style up with strong versatility; bringing instant polish to jeans and a sweater at the weekend, or over a black shift dress for work. Those longer lengths work to your advantage with a mini skirt and boots!
Perfect for the upcoming party season and thankfully still bang on trend carried right through from summer to the autumn catwalks. Picking out a silk dress, a skirt, or a blouse you are constantly going to reach for throughout the year is ideal for e.g. a slip dress you can pair with a roll neck through the day and whip off at night. British weather is unpredictable even in the wintertime so to have that minimalistic covering to either wear alone or layer up is handy. Ellie pointed out that the yolky yellow colour is currently in the spotlight (proved right by the audience basing their outfit around the shade) so that’s a super flattering colour that works profusely to look out for whilst shopping.
A CEREAL HUED SWEATER
A classic neutral toned jumper is a must have this autumn/winter; paired with the timeless styling of ribbed fisherman and polo neck structures you’re on to a winner. Stepping away from the black and navy that can often wash you out and the brighter colours such as green and red, the more inventive plain shades are on the horizon and you can afford to delve into the beyond. It’s named ‘cereal’ for a reason, think on the spectrum of oatmeal, biscuity beige, bran brown and even a lighter cream and you can’t go wrong. Both softer on the skin and the complexion, and tremendously trend-resistant!
A BLANKET COAT
Or otherwise known as the coatigan. As Ellie said; Notting Hill style dressing is back in full swing, just a little less 90s. A blanket coat is the secret weapon in many a well dressed woman’s wardrobe no matter what their age. Understandably they may feel a little too lumpy but they’re easily preened to suit you distinctively. Vogue says the key to styling a coatigan is to look for tailored, slim shapes that don’t swamp the body, preferably double faced (without a lining) – and to cinch with a belt if everything is looking a little on the bulky side.
KNEE HIGH BOOTS
The main focus on the catwalk was the extra hardcore thigh high boots but knee high boots are a step down if reaching those extremes doesn’t take your fancy (I know I definitely wouldn’t be able to pull them off… or pull them up for that matter). Just over the knee or knee high boots are a great alternative to ankle boots and a way of injecting some modern elegance into your daily attire. Leaning towards a slouchier cut rather than skin tight is the best approach as it’s kinder on the ankles and knees and balances the proportions of a chunky knit and a slim silk skirt better. You don’t have to just stick with black, either, there’s plenty of light toned choices out there to vamp up the achromatic.
WILD CARD ACCESSORIES
Last but not least, it’s the final touches you add to boost the vivacity in a well put together outfit to stop it from becoming repetitive. It’s easy to become stuck in a black rut as the light fades (not that there’s anything wrong with that but it’s fun to mix it up sometimes) and often enough an accessory or two can be the ultimate decider and an easy compromise if you’d rather keep the majority of your look understated. Mixing and matching with accessories gives you a chance to add splashes of the season’s key brights to your wardrobe through the power of shoes, bags, jewellery, hats and whatever else fits your individual style.
Ellie picked out a fresh, grass green bag from Kin by John Lewis to pair with the grey checked coat and it was visibly obvious how well the contrast worked – it just enhances the excitement. Another option is in the shoe department, a pair of metallic silver boots with a cone heel (two more popular trends this season) would elevate jeans and a silk blouse for the evening or if flats are more up your street then embellished trainers that still look cool and retro without the typical Nike and Adidas are an effortless substitute.
Jewellery is still an important catwalk story and more specifically the frosted rhinestone kind that follows up till Christmas to implant some sparkle into those festive occasions; specifically the perspex and acetate styles that are back on the agenda. Huge earrings are everywhere at the moment and the bigger and bolder the better. I’m absolutely loving tasselled and drop earrings at the moment and it’s something I wouldn’t ever think , so it just goes to show how it’s worth taking that risk! The motto for this year is: don’t shy away from letting esoteric designs act as sartorial ice-breakers.
I was kindly given a gift voucher for John Lewis in my goody bag to help towards my winter wardrobe construction and I can’t wait to get properly started with these six objectives in mind!
Have you started your A/W shopping yet?