Autumn is here, and we made it—Just. In normal life, as soon as the leaves start falling and pleasantly crunching on my morning commute, I console myself that summer has come to an end by considering some new autumn wardrobe additions. This year, the mood is totally different (no commute, for one), and I am trying to embrace it. Harking back to my last article about sustainability and buying a bit less, I have had moments of trawling the usual websites and filling my virtual basket with pretty dresses, fancy knitwear and chunky jewellery, but never getting to the checkout stage—I have become a commitment phobe when it comes to fashion. My thought process starts at: ‘when will I wear it?’ Then moves through to the slightly stroppy: ‘well, who will be seeing it anyway?’ And, most crucially, with my sensible head in gear; ‘is my money better spent elsewhere?’ Shoes, however, are something I will always invest in—you can wear them with your tracksuit or pyjamas after all—and this is where quality, beautifully crafted shoes come into play. Let’s face it, the way we shopped before needed to change, we urgently needed to slow down and start buying more considered pieces that will last and grow with us through life. With wartime ethics very much in mind, the Make Do and Mend concept has gone full circle. Shoes are relatively easy to look after—give them a bit of love and they will love you in return. This season, yes, buy a few considered pieces of clothing, nothing lifts the mood quite like it. Then look to classic British brands for accessories that will see you through winter, and come out again this time next year.
Crocket & Jones’ new Autumn/Winter women’s collection is my favourite yet, and actually, there is a nod to fashion—or perhaps, fashion has taken a look at itself and realised it needs to be comfortable, durable and practical at this moment in time, and for the foreseeable future. The chunky look is in, rejoice! In my eyes, chunky has always been in, as I think it can make the leg look slimmer in comparison. Here are the heroines of the hour:
Molly will become your best friend. Not only does this Derby boot have a lightweight cleated sole for extra grip in colder months, she also has a higher leg, for excellent support and warmth too. The lace-up look draws the eye and slims the ankle, plus you can adjust it according to what you wear underneath. These boots work best with longer dresses or trousers that skim over the ankle strap, although a legging would happily tuck in—who would have thought I’d be recommending leggings? I see Molly worn with bare legs and flowing dresses now (I try to stubborn it out until things get really baltic) and then tights for colder months.
Poppy is a Chelsea boot made for action, again she benefits from a lightweight cleated sole which adds chunk without looking unbalanced. As mentioned before, a chunkier sole does help with balancing the shape of the leg, making them surprisingly flattering. No laces on a Chelsea boot, just pull them on and off and they will just get better and better with age, due to the finest black calf leather. These are lightweight enough to wear everyday and perfect with a pair of jeans or leather trousers just skimming the ankle—also a flattering tip—show a little ankle if you can stand the chill.
Poppy comes in burgundy calf leather too, and the richness of this hue is autumnal bliss.
These will elevate that all-black look by adding a gentle warmth—or how about wearing with white jeans? I am a full advocate of white jeans in winter with a beautiful tonal knit and a felt fedora to top it off.
Now, Julia is a bit of fun, she has the feminine fringe but a cleated sole, so practical too. For those rare face-to-face meetings, where shoes matter and trainers won’t cut it, choose Julia.
A penny loafer is the most common style in my wardrobe. I think this is due to the ease of putting them on, but also they are flattering, comfortable and smart without shouting too much. Perfectly understated, a black loafer goes with everything—this one looks gloriously chunky but the lightweight sole won’t weigh you down.