Before you lose yourself, and your entire winter shopping budget, in a maze of thigh-highs, velvet and sequins, it might be worth directing your new-season fashion fervor in a rather different direction: that of the Wardrobe Extenders.
Lurking on the basics rails at a high-street store near you, they are the unsung heroes of autumn fashion; key garments that, when layered over, under or paired with some of the summer’s prettiest pieces, take your summertime wardrobe and make it wintertime fabulous. They may appear unassuming — without an obvious wow factor. Yet, at a time when you feel the need to buy this, bin that and mothball those, anything that is easy on the wallet and helps breathe new life into your old favorites, making them wearable way past their seasonal sell-by dates, is surely worth a look. Here’s how to make them work for you.
Unlike Havaianas, summer dresses have a shelf life that lasts longer than your tan lines. Pair them with a three-quarter-sleeve tee — as seen at Tory Burch— for extra value, warmth and texture. Then invest in a long cardigan and studded belt to layer up further and complete the look. Keep your accessories tough, and you have a dress that will work through until Christmas.
If there is one key detail that will drag an old outfit into this new season quicker than you can say “Bring me that Balmain!” it is a statement shoulder. Zara’s blazer does the trick. Wear it with your staple white T-shirt and summery cropped jeans, finished off with a high-heeled pump for a totally rocking autumn look.
All laced up
Borrow from Balenciaga and invest in a lace body for some true Wardrobe Extender genius. Use it to cover your modesty in plunge-necked dresses, glam up your knitwear by layering it with your shorter-sleeved sweaters, and sport it with jeans, over a cami, for a sexy take on denim. Topshop and American Apparel have the high-street versions, Wolford the luxury. See-through underwear is suddenly making sense.
The wet look
Wet-look leggings might not spring to mind as a sensible purchase. But bear with me. First, on the catwalk, leather- clad legs were everywhere; and for those who are foiled by the trouser option, leggings might just be the easier bet. Second, when worn with summer’s ubiquitous boyfriend blazer (see Stella McCartney), they suddenly seem rather suitable. Ditto under a floral dress, where they bring a whole new, oh-so-now grungy feel to girlie.