Early Autumn Fashion

The early days of autumn are simultaneously a time of stagnancy and transformation. Temperatures remain high and the sun stays hot. The pressure of the summer lingers with the guilt of unfulfilled promises of projects and to-do lists and day trips and lunches. The piles of unread but coveted books. The desire to tackle every undone task rises, but so too does the need to move on from the season, to put away what the summer had to offer yet failed to deliver and enter into all that the autumn has to promise. More books, more projects – fresh and more fulfilling ones.

Often in those early days of the season, all we can actively do to bring on the season when the temperatures won’t comply is to change our wardrobes, to put away the summer colors, and to bring the season we want to life with our clothes; think dark florals and burgundies and an unapologetic return to black.

This year, half of our Editors were able to spend this in-between season together, and Olivia and Raquel were able to dig through their transitional wardrobes in person, rather than over endless iPhone photos.

Olivia: What is the first thing you reach for when it feels like summer is over and you need to feel like autumn weather is drawing closer? I’ve been very into white this summer, embracing the bridal mood, and my first step has been to continue to reach for longer-sleeved white tops but to pair them with darker pieces – burgundy skirts, black shoes, dark bags, etc. The first specific item I tend to reach for though is a metallic, olive green J.Crew cardigan from a couple of years ago. It’s tired and stretched out, but I love it so much.

Raquel: Ugh, I love that cardigan. I have the non-metallic cashmere blend version from that same season (similar recent version here!) and I honestly wear it year round. I always love eyelets and lighter fabric for summer and so my first move toward the end of the season is to reach for the same materials but in black, and keep it light on the accessories so as not to feel weighed down. Black flowy swing dresses, linen trousers, sheer black silk tops, and even my favorite eyelet maxi dress which I scooped up just days after finding it in white a few years ago. If I love something enough, I tend to buy it in a light and dark option.

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Raquel: Are there any trends that you’ve noticed popping up and are excited to shop for?

Olivia: Dark florals are clearly a big mood right now. I was never really that big on florals in the past, but that’s changed this year as I feel like there have been so many good pieces that have been floral without looking like they belong on someone’s grandmother’s tea cosy. I’m far more into the 19th century wallpaper vibe than anything cutesy. If it looks like it could have been infused with arsenic, then it’s the right kind of floral for me.

Raquel: Hahaha YES.

Olivia: I was very into a dress I got from the GP & J Baker collection at H&M in August, and I’m excited to see how that trend plays out in the autumn with the upcoming William Morris collection. I know people seem to be reacting poorly to Morris being so commercialized, but he was into making art and beauty more accessible, so I don’t see the point of getting high and mighty about it and am definitely excited to see what comes out. I’m also really excited about scrunchies coming back. I have a velvet scrunchie that I love and have been wearing at home for years, and I want to venture out in it at some point. I’m also thinking about embracing both dark floral & scrunchie trends at once and ordering this giant bow scrunchie from J.Crew and taking things to the next level.

Raquel: I’ve just ordered that scrunchie and I cannot wait for it to arrive. I love that florals are making that comeback; paired with the voluminous flared sleeves that have been around lately I feel like I’ll finally find more of those peak, witchy aesthetic pieces that usually take forever to find. I’m also suddenly very drawn to plaid and searching not only for an interesting oversized coulda-nicked-it-off-the-boyfriend vintage blazer but a good wide leg trouser as well. Maybe I should just get a suit?

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Olivia: What are your favorite pieces for the immediate season? Have you acquired anything new that you’re excited to break in? I got a pointed toe pair of flats a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been wearing constantly and have been lusting over so many burgundy bags that I finally picked up one up from Mango. They’ve both been helping me feel more dressed up when I don’t really feel pulled together.

Raquel: Feeling more dressed up is definitely the goal at this time. I’m sort of over the easiness of summer but with the continuing heat it’s still hard to make an effort. I’m loving my dressier jumpsuits and dramatic maxi dresses as things I can throw on and look interesting in without actually wearing too much. The polka dot number I wore earlier this week has been a go-to as it’s deceptively made of a jersey-like crepe and basically feels like I’ve only got a slip on. As it gets cooler I can add a slouchy pullover and still be dressed up. I’ve also recently found these gold-heeled ankle boots at an Anthropologie sale (no longer listed, but available here) and I love the subtle metallic accent for brightening up darker outfits.

Raquel: What are you most looking forward to wearing later on?

Olivia: I’m excited to wear velvet again!! I was so happy when more and more velvet pieces came out last year, and I’m thrilled that’s ongoing. I bought a pair of black velvet trousers last year, and I have my eyes on a burgundy pair right now that I’m tempted to add to my closet. I also got a wrap sweater from J.Crew when they released their pre-fall items that I’ve been wearing on chilly mornings, and that has me excited to get the rest of my sweaters out as the temperatures drop a couple more degrees!

What I’m not looking forward to right now though is coat and boot weather. I’m not even feeling blazers that much at the moment. I want everything to be soft, and I’m enjoying going out in sweaters without covering them up. I’m also really into my midi length skirts this year, and I don’t want to give them up because of boots. I love wearing them with flats. I’ve never felt right about longer skirts over boots, even if they’re heeled, so we’ll see how I deal with that shift later in the season. For now, I want the weather to stay in that 50 to 60 degree sweet spot so I can dress for autumn without covering up with another layer. 

Raquel: Yes! That 50 to 60 spot is the best, perfect for sheer tights or just a flash of ankle. Velvet is absolutely one of the best things in the world and I’m excited to break out with my black trousers soon as well. In terms of something new I’m thinking a loafer this year, hopefully the Birdies ones I keep DM’ing you and Lee at 3 in the morning about. I may treat myself to them around Christmas if I can keep my wallet shut until then! I love a good menswear inspired loafer for pairing with those maxi and midi type things once it becomes too cold for a sandal, as they become a bit too sweet for me with any other type of flat.

Living in a warmer climate, coats are sort of a rarity, and I do love that time given how easy it makes dressing (no one cares what you’ve got on underneath when you’re running out for a coffee if you’ve got on a great coat and shoes). But more than anything I do live for the time of year I can wear ankle boots with a thick sock and mini skirt, giant sweater, dark red lip and slightly messy hair. If I look like I’ve stepped out of a New England university prospective student catalog from the 60s I know I’ve done my wardrobe proud.

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All pictured clothes and accessories belong to the editors. Olivia’s ivory top – last autumn’s J.Crew (the white is now sold out, but still exists in green and there is a similar ivory top here). Burgundy skirt – Uniqlo. Loafers – Dune. Raquel’s floral dress – several seasons old, but similar here. Olivia’s floral dress – H&M GP & J Baker. Olivia’s pointy-toe shoes – Mango. Raquel’s black dress – Gap from last year, but similar here. Raquel’s suede boots – Gap. Raquel’s black eyelet top – Gap (Raquel’s is last year’s model). Raquel’s floral skirt – Banana Republic three years ago, but similar here.

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