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Seven key fashion pieces for the autumn season | Alice Fisher

The changing of the fashion season seems to get ever more anxious. Not so long ago it was easy. You had two collections a year – spring/summer, autumn/winter – and everyone just got on with it. I mean, there have always been these funny smaller collections called things like “resort” and “cruise”, but unless you were a womenswear buyer for Bergdorf Goodman, you didn’t have to worry about them.

Nowadays you can’t go for a wee without coming back to your desk to find someone’s released a new collection, a sneaky collaboration or a pre-collection that in some way redefines what’s hot right now and what we all need to buy. Frankly it’s a bit wearing.

Right now we’re in trans-season – a selling term rather than a made-up fashion word – which refers to a selection of new styles that will help you “transition” from summer to autumn. I seem to recall that we used to do that by putting on a jumper and digging out some tights, but if you’d rather buy a new set of clothes, here’s what to look for right now.

Wide-legged trousers are going to be the new style for autumn – especially worn as part of a suit – so you might as well invest in a pair now. They’re more forgiving than culottes but still a bit tricky: make sure your trousers sit properly on your waist and get someone to turn them up for you or you’ll come a cropper at some point between now and Christmas.

Pinafore dresses are a bit of a thing right now and they are actually good for all weathers: if it’s hot, wear them as is; if it’s cold, stick a jumper underneath. Just make sure you get one with the right apron-front to put your bust in. A high, square neckline or a shaped plunge V-neck style are the two best for grown-ups. Leave the strappy ones to the 14-year-old supermodels.

If you’re tired of sandals, then buy some Mary Janes. You’ll buy boots and Oxfords later in the year, so enjoy these while you can. There are some really pretty ones out there. Lots have more than one ankle strap, but I think two per shoe makes the point – though I am very impatient and the thought of all those buckles makes me feel a little agoraphobic.

If you buy a jumper, get a roll-neck. They’re still the most on-trend style. There are a lot of loose, sleeveless styles out there at the moment which will look pretty over a top or worn on their own, but make sure you get a more fitted version soon, too. The other big neckline detail for autumn is the thin scarf or pussy-bow shirt. Stock up on these, too.

Finally keep an eye out for A-line skirts. This year has been all about the 70s but we’re sliding back a decade to the 60s in the autumn, to a time of short skirts, tunic dresses and absolutely no transitional dressing. Nostalgic times indeed.

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