The leaves have changed colour and are gently falling. We are waking up to frosty lawns and an icy nip in the air. Yay! Autumn is finally here!
So that means it’s time to rethink your work wardrobe to embrace the changing season. Getting cosy doesn’t need to mean sacrificing professionalism for comfort. With the right pieces and some creativity, you can achieve a chic and practical look that’s perfect for the office and your client meetings.
Dressing for autumn is very different to what we’ve been used to over summer and in my opinion brings many more opportunities to get creative.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Layer Up: Autumn is all about layering. The temperature range throughout the day can be vast so you need to be able to switch things up as required. This opens up the opportunity for lots of glorious mixing and matching and getting more wear out of each of your key pieces. We are aiming for a polished look rather than Michelin man, so take care to work out your combinations well before you need them. It’s a good idea to spend an hour on a Sunday getting your outfits ready for the week ahead to avoid the morning stress.
2. Your first layer could be a lightweight, long sleeved blouse or fine knit that creates the perfect base for a blazer, smart cardigan or knitted vest. If you need an additional layer, a thin thermal (whether sleeveless or not) is ideal.
3. You might feel like wearing deeper darker colours at this time of year but just check in with whether you need a touch of lightness alongside. If you know your best colour palette, this should be easy. If not, just experiment with adding a lighter colour near your face to see if it makes a nice difference. Some of us disappear in very dark outfits.
4. Classic Trousers: A pair of well-fitted, classic trousers is the dream. When you are looking for new trousers, prioritise the fit around the waist, bottom and thighs over length. Trousers that are too long are easy to have taken up. Don’t let that be a reason not to invest. These days, a popular design detail is a tailored waistband at the front and a strip of elastic across the back. Perfect for comfort levels. Pair your trousers with elegant blouses (layered as above) or quality knitwear.
5. Stylish Skirts: Whether shorter length with tights and boots or midi/maxi length, skirts are often an easier fit for some figure types. I like wearing long boots under a longer length dress without tights until it gets really, really cold. Sometimes tights and boots can feel too much. One of my favourite looks (on other people – pleats don’t work for me) is a pleated maxi skirt with a shorter length knit. This creates a 1/3 to 2/3’s silhouette which is super-flattering. If trainers are permitted at work, this brings a youthful and energetic vibe to the look.
6. It’s time for me to start whanging on about coats again! Coats are my favourite clothing category and for good reason. Whether you go statement or classic, your coat is such an important part of your outfit. It’s the first impression you give on arrival at a meeting or even in your own office each day. I favour longer line coats for most outfits as they create a lovely long line making you look taller and slimmer and pulled together. Then, you have the option of a cosy scarf in your favourite colour as an extra layer. In fact, oversized scarves are a big trend this autumn/winter so if you like the idea, why not embrace this look and then you have a blanket on hand for those chillier desk moments.
7. Footwear: Your choice of footwear can make or break your outfit. I’ve already mentioned boots, which are my footwear of choice throughout autumn/winter but if you prefer a shoe – or like to have options, the ballet flat is having a moment. This look works brilliantly for anyone who suits a feminine style. Some have a strap or a number of straps across the top of the foot, which give a more contemporary look. If a ballet flat doesn’t feel quite right for your style, try a loafer, a brogue or of course a traditional court shoe. The corporate world seems to have moved more towards flats as the most popular option so please don’t force yourself into heels unless you feel fabulous in them. And dark colours may well be practical but an off-white or tan boot can be gorgeous for some women in certain outfits.
8. Don’t forget to accessorise: Accessories are an easy way to infuse your personal style into your workwear and create different looks. Add statement pieces like chunky necklaces or a bold pair of earrings to elevate your look or if you suit smaller scale more delicate pieces, these can give any look a touch of polish. Add a brooch to your coat or a collar to a plain jumper. Alternatively, scarves in your best colours are a perfect layering piece.
9. Switch up your handbag. You might need to use a more robust handbag over autumn/winter. Something that can withstand wet weather and in a colour that works well with all your outfits. Whether black, chocolate brown, oxblood or charcoal – darker tones are great at this time of year.
10. Hair and Makeup: Maybe you fancy changing up your hair and makeup for autumn. Please note this doesn’t mean going ‘warm’ with your hair colour and make-up unless you know you suit warmer tones. If you have ‘summer’ or ‘winter’ colouring, warm tones will make you look grey or sallow. You may choose to go darker though. Deeper tones on your eyes and lips can be a lovely way to update your look and signify the change of season.
So there you go, my ideas for changing up your work style for autumn. By carefully selecting versatile, comfortable, and stylish pieces, you’ll easily create a wardrobe that not only keeps you warm and cosy but also maintains your professionalism. Remember, it’s all about embracing the season while staying true to your personal style and feeling comfortable.
Which ideas are you going to try? Let me know in the comments!