In at number one… your new season guide to High St hits

In at number one… your new season guide to High St hits: FEMAIL picks out the best buys for effortless style

  • Shane Watson says a multi-tasking, simplified wardrobe is what’s modern 
  • We want items can wear differently, not different clothes for different situations
  • UK-based style expert shares the chart for autumn/winter and beyond 

Does anyone still care about trends? After everything that’s happened, are we itching to discover that pumpkin is the new pink and kilts are in?

Well, no and yes.

Naturally, we want to know what’s what in fashion — just as we like to stay on the ball in every area of life — but now it’s about cherry-picking the ideas that could (easily, comfortably) work for us. And work hard.

The big change in the way we dress post Covid is all to do with attitude: we want clothes we can wear differently, not different clothes for different situations. The idea of separate clothes for best, for work, for drinks seems old-fashioned now: what’s modern, and a lot more realistic, is a multi-tasking, simplified wardrobe.

So, mini skirts are back. And bodysuits. And the-Queen-at-Balmoral tweeds and headscarves, and platform loafers, but if you want to know what to wear to work next week and out to dinner in November read on.

Forget trends, welcome to the winter clothes that will get you where you want to be with minimum effort. (Note: quite a few items are holding their chart positions from last year and the one before, because that’s how we dress now. Building on what we’ve got, bumping up a colour here, tweaking a detail there, mixing something old with something new and something unexpected.)

Here’s the chart for autumn/winter and beyond.



This winter we’re indulging the cosseting mood we’ve been in for a while with faux furs, chunky puffas, plus diamond-quilted coats and shearling. Think soft, teddybearish, oversize with big lapels — not neatly tailored and black.

TIP: The new smart casual coat is mid-length and quilted.



If you wear trousers, a higher waist and wider leg is what makes everything else look new now.

This probably means a straight cut, sometimes with a pleat in front, and this looser leg looks especially appealing as part of a tailored trouser suit (back in a big way for autumn).

Your updated trouser suit is slightly roomier, probably double breasted, and comes in an easy to wear colour such as grey blue or pale khaki (anything but black) in flannel, or corduroy.

TIP: Keep skinny jeggings for the sofa. If comfort is what you’re after, try a smart, elastic waist track pant, now acceptable office/smart casual wear worn with a tonal tailored jacket. 



Dress, £55,

Midi or longer in length, midi or longer-sleeved, with or without a tiered hem, this simple dress works so we’re keeping it, but we’ve all had enough of sugary florals. As of now, think foliage not flowers, ikat-style prints, variations on paisley, Art Deco-inspired abstract prints in darker shades — these are what’s keeping this frock moment going strong. That and the addition of boots.

TIP: Sporty details make this dress extra-wearable; a zipup front, a drawstring waist or ribbed cuffs counterbalance prettiness and can make it either professional or post-work, depending on how you style it. 



Blouse, £44, and jeans, £41,

Also known as the super blouse, power blouse, wow blouse, XL sleeves blouse, this has been around for a while but has proved its worth and now it’s fully embedded in our wardrobes. It’s the top that gives old trousers and skirts new oomph and taps into (just enough) the new season’s streak of romance. Puffy sleeves, frill cuffs maybe just a ruffle detail on a collar make this your new instant outfit fixer.

TIP: High-necked blouses complement the new trophy jacket.



Jacket, £275, blouse, £165, and trousers, £595,

Boxy, cropped to the waist, maybe boucle or plain wool with gold coat-of-arms buttons, or a contrasting leather trim. Meet the new trophy jacket; we have jackets, but it’s been a while since we were encouraged to dress up our jeans and pencil skirts with a neat Carla Bruni of a style like this.

This new trophy jacket doesn’t have to be smart, by the way — it could be embellished or block print — it’s just there to give a chic snap to the rest of your outfit. As of now a block-colour, tweedy trophy jacket over a round-necked white blouse with dark trousers is your new workwear no brainer.

TIP: You still can’t go wrong with a classic dark blazer. Throw it on over everything for an instant look sharpener and if you want to up the polish a notch, try one in faux leather.


Quilted shorts may be a step too far, but oddly enough you might be interested in a jacket.

Diamond-quilted jackets — yes those very ones the shooting classes have been wearing since the beginning of time — are already the top models’ runaround coat of choice, thanks to brands such as Celine pushing heritage quilting. We predict a quilted midi coat will pretty soon look as everyday chic as your best-quality, faux fur-trimmed parka.

TIP: Go for heritage simple styles or make your trophy jacket pretty colourful and quilted.



Jumper, £69, dress, £39.50, boots, £125, bag, £25, and belt, £14, all marksand

A late staycation was good for adjusting to the idea of wearing bright colour in winter. Even though it was cloudy and drizzling, some of us wore our turquoise and coral tops underneath a pale grey sweater. And guess what? It didn’t look out of place, brightened eyes and skin, and made us question why we don’t do it all the time. A pop of colour in the right place lifts everything and who said scarlet was for winter but not canary yellow? Not us.

TIP: Black will always have a place in our wardrobes but wearing colour and pattern looks more contemporary and youthful. Mix it up with caramels, cream and navy to ring the changes.



The kitten heel slingback or mule is making a comeback. Pointy-toed flats too. And if you like loafers then this is your moment. The big message is that post lockdowns, we’re sticking with good-looking shoes so long as they’re easy to walk in. The all day mid-block heel is the strong contender for the number one slot.

You may be pleased to hear that boots and ankle boots — woman’s best friend, after diamonds — are more popular than ever. If you want to instantly elevate your style rating then a narrow platform will do the trick, and a cropped cowboy boot is the new short boot in town.

TIP: A sleek, mid-heel boot makes your not floral print dress smart-casual and grown up for every occasion.



Tank top, £80, shirt and jeans, £85 each,

Sleeveless sweaters have all of a sudden really hit the spot. If you count the ways they can be of use — anchoring a puffy shirt for work; sitting under a jacket without making you look stuffed; giving a shirt and trousers a new pulled together preppy pep up — you’ll get to four with no trouble. You’ll want one for work. A cosier one for the weekend and a dazzler to wear out to dinner.

TIP: A ribbed knit is most flattering.



Charlotte Gainsbourg in Saint Laurent

Before you stifle that yawn and roll your eyes, this is denim smartened up so it’s good enough to wear after dark or even on the red carpet (See Charlotte Gainsbourg in a Saint Laurent denim trouser suit at the Venice Film Festival).

The difference now is it’s a) dark, b) tailored, c) crisp and often worn two pieces at time. We’re talking a narrow midi skirt with boots and a sweater for work; high-waisted straight jeans with a shirt jacket for the pub; a single-breasted trouser suit like Gainsbourg’s (right) over a luxey blouse or turtleneck.

TIP: A narrow, dark-denim flare over a leather boot looks newly chic.


At this time of year our thoughts turn to leather or faux leather and we’re tempted across the board with polished bomber jackets, drawstring-waist trousers, soft overshirts and slim skirts. Will we, won’t we? Maybe.

TIP: Say no to black and biker styles.


Panic not; this need not mean a lamé dress for daytime (Celine) or a fishtail sequin coat (Prada) but the message is do not keep sequins for Christmas parties, wear them to brighten up every day and night. Shine is, like colour, for splashing around here and there. Go as far as you want to go.

TIP: Start with accessories such as metallic boots.



A two-strap tote with a top handle and a long shoulder strap (fashion editors are drooling over Gucci’s Diana bag) or a crossbody will do the job. What we’re all agreed on is two hands are better than one.

TIP: Get a quilted or woven, shoulder bag.

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