The kaftans are back from the dry cleaners and the sandals are soon to flip flop their way back into storage. Summer’s not over just yet but the back to reality feeling is weeks away from setting in.
Why not get ahead and offset the bluesy blow with a seriously sharp autumn wardrobe investment? Here are the 11 key items to know.
1. Mini to the maxi
According to Tiffany Hsu, fashion buying director at MyTheresa, the miniskirt is “without any doubt the biggest trend of 2022,” with Miu Miu’s micro – nay nano – schoolgirl belted styles making a triumphant comeback on the autumn runways alongside Y2K micro minis galore at everyone from Alessandra Rich and Versace to Bluemarine.
If groin-flashing hemlines fill you with dread, you’ll be pleased to hear maxi skirts are also back – with Y2K denim an emerging favourite. At Bottega flared leather maxi skirts in lilac and buttercup yellow exploded with fringed leather while at Saint Laurent silky fluted floor length skirts appeared beneath dramatic big-shouldered coats. But it’s not just eveningwear, Altuzarra did long wool kilt-like maxi skirts, the Acne show opened with a high-waisted red denim maxi skirt worn with a grungy one-shouldered grey tee and Ganni’s recent collaboration with Levi’s features a two-toned denim maxi skirt with raw-edge hem (£245, shop here).
2. Breathe in
Corsets, which trickled into our wardrobes thanks to Bridgerton’s Regencycore, are set to hit the mainstream for autumn – and this season’s Euphoria-inflected iterations are enough get Lady Whistledown’s quill a’quivering. Balmain and Dior did metallic and padded motocross-inspired corsets while at Versace, super sexy corsetry dominated. Cropped latex and denim corset tops were layered under oversized tweed coats, and visible boning featured on jewel tone mini dresses, satin sheath midis and even puffer jackets.
The brand’s satin Medusa corset top comes in at £1210 (shop here), but for something more affordable try New York label Miaou’s collab with Paloma Elsesser, which offers cool-girl corsets up to an XXXXL (try the orange toile, £225, shop here) or Londoner Clio Peppiat, whose hand-embroidered lace-up corsets have a cult following (from £365 here or rent on Hurr for £86 here). London label De La Vali does zip-up corset-style tops (£225, shop here) that are as comfortable to wear as a t-shirt, while Urban Outfitters, & Other Stories and Zara all give great bodice for your buck.
3. Dramatic coats
When it comes to winter wardrobe advice, Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at Matches Fashion, is clear: “If there’s one thing you do, invest in great outerwear,” she says. “Whether that’s a slimline coat from Prada or Gabriela Hearst or a shearling from Isabel Marant or Chloe.”
And this season’s coolest coats pack a real punch. “Outerwear is dramatic and oversized for the new season,” says Heather Gramston, head of womenswear at Browns Fashion. “A bold floor skimming coat, as seen at Saint Laurent or Givenchy, is a shape we are loving for that showstopper aesthetic.” Libby Page, market director at Net-a-Porter, recommends statement-making punchy colours such as, “Valentino’s bright pink or Christopher John Rogers’ shocking purple,” while Hsu suggests focussing on outerwear with “strong shoulders, double breasted silhouettes and high-volume shapes.” The message? Go OTT or go home.
4. Soft bags
Puffer jackets, seen on the runways at Balenciaga, Sacai and Maxmara to name a few, continue their reign as a firm fashion favourite this winter, but the most interesting puff pieces came in the accessories department. Page and Wiggins both predict Loewe’s deliciously tactile Puffy Goya bag will become winter 22’s big hit (£2400, not yet available online), or for something more budget-friendly try Stand Studio’s quilted Wanda mini shoulder bag (now £109 in the Coggles sale).
The uncomfortably named hobo bag also emerged as a frontrunner: “Crescent hobo bags are a new shape that we’re anticipating will be big,” said Gramston, noting the styles seen at Marine Serre, Khaite and Saint Laurent. Wolf & Badger has a soft and squidgy suede one that comes in 17 colours for just £90 (shop here).
5. Ballet’s back
As the micro mini that spawned a thousand knock-offs proves, Miu Miu is more than capable of spawning a trend, and I’m going to make an educated guess that the ballet pumps which accompanied almost every look at their AW22 show are set to be next it hit. And I’m not the only one, ballet pumps has amassed 26.5 million hits on TikTok and a whole host of Gen Z influencers have already paired them with their baggy jeans and crop tops. For millennials that remember the soggy toed, sore-soled reality of ballet pumps the first time, this might come as troubling news. But be reassured, fashion oracle (and fellow millennial) Alexa Chung is already back in her ballerinas. Avoid the gold plaque Tory Burch and feline-themed Charlotte Olympia’s you may have favoured round one and this time opt for simple, satin and patent styles. I am in love with the retina-searing fuchsia satin pair from Whistles’ collab with bag brand Hai (£103, shop here) – hurry, they’re nearly sold out.
6. Mauve over
As colours go, purple has been left outside in the cold for some time now, but from lilac to lavender, it’s the breakout shade for autumn 22. “Led by Tom Ford‘s beloved deep purple hued pieces, we saw many brands embrace the Ultra Violet trend,” says Hsu. “We loved The Attico interpreting the trend with a bold sequin dress, while Rodarte and Bottega Veneta experimented with lighter nuances and innovative sparkling patterns.” If top-to-toe amethyst feels a little daunting, try adding a pop of purple with your accessories. Zara stocks some fun regal purple satin slingback heels (£32.99, shop here) that would look great with baggy jeans and a black party top, and I personally have my eye on Swarovski’s brilliantly bonkers lucent lilac cocktail ring (£250, shop here).
7. Jazzy knits
Great knitwear is key to any good winter wardrobe, and for Liane Wiggins AW22 is all about “the après ski moment,” citing Molly Goddard’s Fair Isle knits and S.S. Daley’s Argyl vests as key buys. Gramston meanwhile is backing bold brights as a “trustworthy investment for the new season; AGR, Extreme Cashmere and The Elder Statesman are brands we just can’t get enough of at Browns.” Want zingy cashmere for less cash? Try Chinti & Parker and Cos, both of which do good quality crew necks for under £150.
Looking for partywear that packs a punch? Catsuits are back on the prowl for autumn ’22, with spray-on lycra onesies guaranteed to break the ice at parties. “Continuing on from Saint Laurent’s popular bold second-skin looks from the Spring/Summer `22 collection, bodysuits remain a strong trend. For the new season Mugler presented monochrome high-neck silhouettes and Marine Serre’s looks in patterned warm colours made from stretchy fabrics really stood out,” said Hsu, who, given just one item to add to her bag this season, would make it a Saint Laurent catsuit: “They are sexy yet sophisticated with minimal fabric and maximum impact.” Pass the Spanx.
9. Sky high
Wondering what footwear to pair with that catsuit? Platforms are the standout party shoe for winter 22. “Platforms are back in a big way partly down to the Y2K revival plus a desire to dress up again,” says Gramston. “The Versace mega platforms kickstarted the trend for SS22, but then evolved on their runway for AW22 in the form of a stomping boot, showing that platforms are officially here to stay for the new season. We’ve added Haus of Honey and Larroude to our roster this season, who bring platform perfection.” It’s a similar story at Net-a-Porter, where Page confirms the site has “bought 90 styles from the likes of Valentino, Versace and new brand D’Accori.”
When it comes to the boot of the season, thigh-high boots shook off their trashy tendencies and shot straight to the top of the shopping list. Baggy metallic styles gave edge to evening dresses at Courreges, Alberta Ferretti and Bottega Veneta, while skintight black patent paired perfectly with LBDs at Coperni. At Brandon Maxwell a knit mini looked sweet and autumnal paired with maroon suede over-the-knee boots and a matching hobo bag. For a cool-girl take that’s easier to wear, opt for flat chunky soles: Jimmy Choo and River Island both have great options (£950 and £85 respectively). The thigh’s the limit.
11. Three-piece suit
We all thought WFH had killed off the suit for good – but the AW22 runways were awash with boardroom-ready power tailoring, with waistcoats a strong contender for employee of the month. “This season back-to-work dressing is all about suiting with a modern twist,” says Hsu. “Focusing on strong shoulders, wide pants and very masculine shapes there is a clear nod to the classic three-piece suit, as seen at Frankie Shop.” London label Aligne has a great navy velvet suit with matching waistcoat (shop here), as does seventies suiting specialist Bella Freud (shop here) but it’s the Frankie Shop’s pink Gelso three-piece (shop here) that’s guaranteed to get you that promotion.