As per usual, fall fell short of expectations. Though Vogue persisted to write article after article about the new new neutrals and an A-Z trench-coat directory, it is becoming all too clear that bridging your wardrobe from summer to winter is a slick trick by the industry to hand over our student loans (and probably make us buy more UGGs).
The issue stems from our somewhat fabricated, idyllic picture of autumn: “seasons of mists and mellow fruitlessness, close bosom friend of the maturing sun,” along with chai lattes, cosy blankets, and pumpkin spice candles – a white girls dream… and Keats’? And the blame for this picture lies somewhere between film 80s flicks like ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ and American vloggers flooding YouTube with their ‘FALL ROUTINE 2018’.
It seems that such a season doesn’t exist in Britain – the perfect weather, when all you need is a light jumper, lasts for about a week in September. By the time Fresher’s Week is over, thick coats and woollies have flooded the lecture rooms, UNIQLO proclaims a shortage of thermals, and the Atik cloakroom queue is busier than the bar.
We’re blinded by these buzzwords like ‘layering’, ‘durable’, or ‘autumn staples’. The textures, colours, and creativity that autumn brings are gorgeous. Some of the most innovative collections and designs appear in autumn. Instead of drowning under one big coat and scarf, we’ve seen experimentation with animal prints, tweeds and leather, even neon and PVC – yet the items are simply impractical.
Hermes and Loewe did leather coats for around £1,400 but apparently both got their inspiration from… ‘The Matrix’? And everyone is doing capes. Yes, it’s cute to feel like you’re in Little Women, but will all that space around your arms really keep you warm?
Autumn doesn’t exist. It’s wonderful to see designers with an excuse to produce more designs, but I can guarantee that you can survive the week of coolish weather with what you wore in summer paired with last year’s winter collection.
For those on a budget, the pressure to revamp your wardrobe for maybe six or seven different seasons a year is misleading. The shops want to sell and sell all year long. By creating a feeling of falling behind the trends, we’re convinced we need to buy more and buy more. Being ‘fashion forward’ is promoted as being fashion savvy and an inspiration to others.
But what is this pressure really? Nothing more than a convenient tool to never let us be satisfied with our wardrobes for longer than a few weeks.
These incredibly unnecessary trends simply highlight a disconnection between how the fashion industry understands consumerism. The idea that we’re all buying clothes for the next season in advance is a clear misunderstanding of the average customer – let alone students who can barely write an essay in advance of the actual tutorial.
Of course, Spring Summer lines are showcased in early autumn; it allows for smaller designers to take inspiration from the big fashion houses and visualise the upcoming trends, but this doesn’t mean the shops need to be saturated in unrelated clothes.
I speak for the majority when I say seasonal clothing is purchased as and when it is needed. It’s raining? Get an umbrella. Holiday abroad coming up? Time to get swimwear. So picture this: it’s the end of October, your housemates still won’t agree to put the heating on and there are NO more thermals at UNIQLO, so you go to Topshop, New Look, and even venture to John Lewis to look for a decent jacket – ANYTHING.
What do you find? SPRING CLOTHING. Florals, light jackets, ballet flats, floaty blouses, and everything but the item you desperately need. Why do brands punish the disorganised? Why discontinue the clothes that relate to the season you’re actually in? Why suddenly stop me spending my money on clothes when I actually want to?! This scam is more complex than we first thought.
So, what should we wear in autumn? How do we enjoy one of the best seasons, even if it doesn’t really exist? Of course, buy the pieces you like. If you don’t, it will be put on sale and discontinued before you know it.
For a more practical approach, reuse your summer tees and match them with some good jeans – thankfully available nearly all year round. Play with accessorises that transcend the seasons – baseball caps, jewellery, head scarfs, etc. It makes far more sense to invest in a good pair of boots and a study bag.
This is probably one of the main causes for the rise in popularity of online shopping. Companies like ASOS, Missguided, and Boohoo can hold a huge range of stock and, hence, always have pieces relating to different seasons and occasions. With these online brands, you can count on getting the pieces you need, whenever you need them.
What may seem like a rant against the ‘dangerous’ capitalist fashion industry, is simply a cry for more sense when it comes to collections changing every two weeks. Buy what you love, but be aware that there is no such thing as an ‘autumn essential’. Even Keats saw the illusion: “until they think warm days will never cease.”
Let’s save our loans for more fresher antics, rise above the advertising, and make peace with the perfectly suitable wardrobes we already have.