For things like your health, and the feeling in your fingers, summer’s great. Less so for your look – tees and shorts are a limited palette. So as your colleagues gripe about winter’s creeping entrance, be warmed by the knowledge it’s time to unleash those coats, knits and boots that excite in ways no linen shirt ever could.
But in this transition lie pitfalls ready to snare the unwary sartorialist. So as well as subbing out your wardrobe’s cottons for heavyweight wool, follow our prep guide to ensure you’re ready to meet winter head-on. Ideally, with a cup of cocoa in hand.
1. Weatherproof Your Wardrobe
Autumn isn’t all crisp leaves and pumpkin spice lattes. Coat-ruffling breezes can suddenly become like daggers that rip through your outerwear. Frosty blue skies can bruise to sleet in a bus journey, as you sit helplessly considering your new suede shoes. So you need to take steps to avoid a commute spent rushing between shop awnings.
Polish doesn’t just get your shoes inspection ready. It also provides a waterproof layer that saves you from receptionist side-eye, as you squelch across their clean carpet in wet socks.
Your outerwear needs similar treatment. Invest in a waterproofing spray, like Liquiproof, which will even make water roll off that spendy new shearling jacket. And saves your four-figure splurge from tear stains when you realise rain marks don’t brush out.
2. Dial Down Your Brights
The clocks rolling back doesn’t just affect your sleeve length. In a grey world, brights are nauseatingly optimistic, the sartorial equivalent of talking about how much fun everyone’s having on a rain-lashed beach holiday. Low cost swaps ensure you’re better-hued; fold away summer pastels and break out plain tees in black, grey, white or blue.
Your outerwear should steer subtler, too. Look for blocked neutral shades – grey, tan or brown – to neutralise the impact of any bold tones. But that doesn’t mean you need to go monochrome (although it’s never a bad move). Just echo the changing leaves in rust, military green and mustard, for an on-trend touch of colour that won’t look like you’ve just stepped off the beach.
3. Update Your Accessories
Accessorising against the elements means more than buying a hat – although a bucket or five-panel is the streetwear-approved way to fight rain. Step one: buy a good, full size umbrella. Shoddy corner shoppers are a false economy. When they flip inside out, that’s a fiver wasted, and your suit ruined. Instead, look to brands like London Undercover and Totes for something stronger – and infinitely more sophisticated.
Extend your waterproofing to you luggage too, by selecting a bag that won’t soak through in seconds. Coated leathers beat the virgin stuff in the rainy season, or pick nylon and treated canvas for something thriftier and equally water-resistant.
They’re also a good place to stow that scarf you’re carrying, in a lightweight cotton, naturally, that keeps the chill off your neck, but which dries out quickly if you do get caught in a shower.
4. Invest In Your Outerwear
Fast fashion’s prices may tempt you to skimp on your new coat, but this is where money talks. A premium piece won’t just last more than one season (so long as it actually is premium – find out with our how to buy quality guide) but also perform when the weather turns.
A wool overcoat is the most versatile option. Look for neutrals like navy, grey or camel in a slightly roomy fit that works with tailoring or sweats.
If your office is dressed down, a waxed cotton jacket or pea coat is more casual but equally adaptable, so long as it’s in a classic cut rather than a trend-led one.
Expert brands such as Gloverall, Spiewak, Moncler, The North Face, Crombie, Filson and Barbour all excel when it come to solid outerwear, so if in doubt, look for a specialist label you can rely on.
5. Choose Your Fabrics Wisely
Your layering game is a loss if you’re just bundling up in whatever fabrics are to hand. Getting the right material in the right place means you’re as comfortable in torrents as packed trains.
Pick breathable cotton or merino near your skin, with wool next, for warmth, and something weatherproof on top, be it century-old gabardine or a space-age polyamide.
For footwear, look for slick, easy-to-clean materials. Mud brushes off sleek leathers, but suede will stain at even the idea of drizzle. Take the same approach to gloves and bags; solid leather numbers will last longer, especially when paired with waterproofing advice from tip number one.
And get a weather app (we like the innovative clock-face display of Partly Cloudy). Forewarned is forearmed, after all.