I was looking at some photographs of a friend’s birthday party the other day. The date was 4 August and there are five of us in the photo, sitting on a wall outside a house party. We are all wearing black tights. Those were the days (last year) when, as soon as August hit, you’d be forced to start thinking about autumn because the weather was so dire. Then, 2018 happened and now none of us can imagine wearing anything that isn’t linen. It’s been our longest summer fling with the sun yet, as we all forget what a jacket is and open every single conversation with the same pointless rhetorical question: “ISN’T IT WARM?” This means that the high street’s penchant for forcing a new season on us while we’re still counting down the days to our summer holiday feels particularly jarring. But, then, what can we buy? The sales have rendered the high-street shops a veritable wasteland, littered with crocheted bikini tops and beach dresses unravelling on the rails. On the other side of those sales rails, however, lie the beginnings of the autumn collections, all shiny, new and glittering with promise. Promise that there are, in fact, pieces to be found that you can wear right now.
As well as easy pieces like M&S’ glorious, polka-dot skirt (wear now with tees or camis, then with tights and a chunky knit later), Zara’s wonderful jumpsuit (layer a jumper underneath when it gets chilly and pair with ankle boots) and the new accessories on the block (Mango’s earrings will still look good long after your tan fades), there are lots of other brilliant new buys that will work for the rest of the heatwave and will also be your wardrobe staples when it gets colder. Plus, you still get the thrill of buying something brand new that isn’t linen. Sounds like a win-win…
The new dresses
At the risk of giving you all midi-dress fatigue, I will say that the new cohort seems designed to make our lives easier. & Other Stories has a fab new-season selection, no more so than this ruffled midi. Light enough to wear now with flat sandals, come autumn you could take your cues from the brand itself, which has styled it on the website with a cream roll neck underneath and black kitten-heel boots. Ditto Zara’s A-line style (some serious vintage Versace vibes here), which is a good option for something smarter. Cos’ oversized shift was made for layering, too.
The new shoes
Remember those Topshop boots that kept selling out last year? Well, there’s a new version that have just landed and they’re just as great. You could wear them now with breezy frocks and they’ll be quite handy for the storms forecast this week (at least you won’t be left in soggy sandals). Come October, you’ll be wearing them with everything in your wardrobe. Or, there are Veja’s new trainers that are sustainable and an all-weather winner, while Charles & Keith’s sandals are in a velvet finish, which will work for party season when it rolls around (I always like to wear open-toe shoes with tights in the winter, and I don’t care what anyone says to the contrary).
The new tops
Violeta’s striped shirt is a good option for the heat – it’s smart enough for work but oversized enough to be comfortable and not a one-way ticket to sweatsville. Let’s be honest – a good shirt is always a good idea. Even if you’re 10 hours late and staring into the abyss of your wardrobe in your knickers, throwing on a great shirt will always make you feel pulled-together and presentable. Kitri’s silk blouse is also ideal while it’s still hot but will work with everything, from wide-leg trousers to long skirts, when it’s colder. And I want to wear Ganni’s wrap blouse with summery white denim and gold jewellery on holiday, before switching to layering it over a black roll neck (yes, I know that’s my favourite thing, but they really do go with everything). Meanwhile, H&M’s embroidered blouse promises to be one of those pieces you come to rely on whatever the weather – it has transformative qualities, for less than £35.