Perhaps it's just me, but there seems to be a tentative sense of optimism at play as we enter autumn 2021. Maybe it's the fact that many of us (although not all, of course) will have more freedoms than we did last year, or it's the promise of holidays, weddings and birthdays to come. Or, perhaps, it's just the small things that have shifted. For me, as a fashion lover, it's being reunited with my favourite items of clothing that have sat dormant at the back of my wardrobe for most of 2020. And that's not to mention the abundance of endorphin-boosting prints and colours that have taken over the autumn collections this year.
It's with this spirit that I've approached my cult autumn buys edit. I wanted to select items that encapsulate this particular 2021 brand of joie de vivre: fun, fancy, a little bit frivolous, and yet still a reflection of the slower, more considered approach to shopping that many of us have adopted over the last 12 months. This manifests in colourful suiting, brilliant shades of Kermit green (yes it's a thing), chunky, knee-high boots and pops of punk-inspired tartan.
This edit is shaped by brands at the luxury end of the market but, whatever your budget, I would encourage you use my looks as a springboard to inspire your new season wardrobe, be it a certain silhouette or a particular shade of pink. I've also created dedicated secondhand and high-street autumn edits if these are more up your street (yes, we like to keep all our bases covered). But for now, allow me to introduce you to the cult designer buys that I expect to be big this autumn. Scroll down to see and shop my edit.
The Trophy Suit
Style Notes: After a year of trackies and shearling slippers, there's nothing that quite says "I'm back" like a statement suit. There were countless designers who offered up their own iterations on the classic two-piece this season, but this blush pink Altuzarra number won me over with its retro double-breasted fit and flared trousers. I'm wearing a UK 10 here, but I would say it's on the small side, so size up if you prefer a looser fit. Oh, and note the length of the trousers, which will definitely need hemming (I'm just over 5'7" for your reference).
The Knitted Dress
Style Notes: I love how many of this season's trends are truly timeless, and the knitted dress is the perfect example of this. This season's silhouette toes the line between slouchy and slim-fitting, and has a dramatic hemline that skims the ankle. The result is unexpectedly flattering. This cream cashmere iteration from Raey is deliciously soft and the waist-tie detail gives it much-needed cinching. I could see myself wearing this with both casual flat boots and smarter heeled knee-highs, depending on the occasion.
The Kermit Green Colourway
Style Notes: It's official: Kermit green has become the Millennial pink for autumn 2021. Not quite a highlighter hue, but brighter than your average forest green, this shade made it onto the runways of Bottega Veneta, Prada and Ferragamo, to name but a few. This A.W.A.K.E Mode co-ord brings a polished spin on the paintbox bright trend thanks to its elegant pleats and immaculate tailoring. Wear together for maximum impact, or add the blouse to a pair of wide-leg jeans and heels for a dinner-ready look.
The Knitted Vest
Style Notes: The moment I spotted the knitted vest trend on the runway back in 2019, I was fully on board with its retro charm, and so I'm happy to report that it's sticking around for autumn/winter 2021. Perfect for cold-weather layering, there have been plenty of neutral interpretations floating around, but I've fallen for the heritage vibes of Molly Goddard's Bibi Fair Isle knit. Wear on its own with jeans while the weather is still warm then throw over a ruffled white blouse or roll neck when the mercury drops.
The Chunky Knee-High Boots
Style Notes: I was never totally on board with the super-chunky boot trend, so ordering these Ganni knee-highs was a bit of a gamble for me, however, I had a feeling they would hit the big-time this season so I went for it. Unexpectedly, I was obsessed the moment I put them on. Easy to slip on and oh-so-comfy, they bring an edge to my cashmere knit dress and I have a feeling they would look equally as good with a miniskirt and opaque tights. Jeans-wise, I think you'd have to stick to skinnies to be able to tuck them in without a pantaloon effect, but it helps that the leg opening is wider than a lot of boots I've tried on previously. A 10/10 from me.
The Tartan Print
Style Notes: I know that the tartan-print trend won't be for everyone, but if you're willing to give it a go I really think it will bring plenty of personality to your autumn capsule. I've been eyeing this slouchy Versace knit for a while now, and I am a big fan of its Punk-inspired safety pin aesthetic, which will liven up your favourite jeans-and-boots pairing. I've styled it with Molly Goddard's wool kilt to maximise on impact, but if you want a more subtle look then I think the skirt would look just as good with a classic navy crew neck.
The Luxe Puffer Coat
Style Notes: First thing's first, this coat literally feels like wearing a sleeping bag which, considering how cold it gets in winter in the UK, certainly isn't a bad thing. Despite this, Max Mara's puffer manages to still feel refined (which seems to be a recurring theme with this season's puffer coat offering), thanks to the longline fit, belted fastening and two-tone fabric. This is one style that ticks both the "form" and "function" boxes.
SHOP OTHER AUTUMN HEROES