There’s a reason why many people will instantly reply “autumn” when asked which part of the yearly cycle they love the most – well, lots of reasons, in fact.
For starters, the nights are drawing in but there’s still a glow in the air, and the commutes are usually done in rising or fading light. But the weather’s noticeably cooler, too, which is a relief after a long, hot summer; but you’re not into the full bite of winter.
The leaves are changing colour and the sights and aromas of a woodland walk are breathtakingly sensual, and such walks only get better if they end up in a country pub next to a roaring fire with artisan food on the table. And of course, you’re looking forward to the festive season and all that brings.
So how should you dress to reflect this mood-enhancing season? In a nutshell, you should be looking at knitwear, particularly your better quality items. You can still show off a bit of colour to rival the palette that nature is serving up.
Berry reds, subdued greens, fiery orange and warm yellows feel more vibrant now than at any other time of the year. You’ll stand out in the city, the countryside or in those indoor gatherings when the curtains are closed, the lights are low and the conversation and music are pulsating. You’ll jump out of every selfie against the more muted backdrop, that’s for sure!
The beauty of knitwear is that it’s versatile. A soft cashmere can be worn against the skin with complete comfort, and as it’s breathable yet warm, you can wear it for any occasion where you need to stay in control of your temperature.
Knitwear is also made for layering, and that’s an important part of the autumn look. It’s loose enough to throw over a T-shirt, long sleeve top or vest, but shaped perfectly for wearing under a jacket or raincoat without leading to overheating and feeling like you can’t move.
Knitwear’s versatility also extends to the garments you can wear it with. Because a jumper or cardigan can be loose and chunky or slim and light, you can conjure up the whole gamut of formality levels, from the cosiest, comfiest snuggle-up top to a businesslike knit you can wear for an important interview or at work.
Autumn is a time for a change, and if you’re thinking of some major life decisions, get your look ready for the fireworks by choosing your knitwear carefully.
So let’s have a look at five of our favourite looks that combine chic knitwear with the rest of your wardrobe. We aim to inspire, so hopefully, we can help you get your autumn off to a flying start.
Skinny might not spring to mind when you’re considering knitwear, but it can really make for a superb, sleek look that leaves you free to move. The classic look is a pair of skinny or straight jeans worn with a slightly oversize jumper that reaches the tops of your thighs. You’ll get extra grunge points for long sleeves that hide the hands, but that’s not to everyone’s taste – and it can be a little inconvenient if you’re working with those same hands, obviously!
While the grunge look might not quite be coming back (although it always seems to influence the catwalks), there’s nothing to say you can’t tone it down a little and keep the silhouette, but just go for a more fitted jumper.
The Starla jumper works well in this style, as it has a bit of play in it but keeps the form nicely. If you’re not into skinny jeans, it can also go perfectly with leggings or those canvas trousers at the more tailored end of the spectrum. Wear it on its own or layered over a light tee for the changeable autumn weather. However you do it, you’ll look relaxed and stylish and ready to face the outdoors, whether it’s for recreation or essentials.
Skirts and knitwear? Can it look right? If you choose the right top, it works a treat. The general tip is to go for a lighter jumper, perhaps a cotton knit or one of the lighter cashmere designs. It can give off slightly 1970s Velma vibes, but that’s all the better for being a little kooky and laid back (preferably whilst solving mysteries, but this is strictly optional).
A good A-line can herald the transition from summer to autumn, worn around the knee or shorter. There’s a structure there that sets off the jumper nicely and can look pretty smart with boots or trainers. As the pages of the calendar are ripped off, though, you might want to move on to a longer, flowing skirt in more rigid fabric.
Again, it’ll work just right with the silhouette of a well-fitted jumper, and can actually be used as a casual evening look for the restaurant, the bar or the gathering at a friend’s place. Accessorise at will, with your favourite bag and jewels and you can dial the glam and the functionality up and down to suit the occasion.
What item of knitwear is more reliably beautiful than a delightful cardigan? Again, we have to bring function into the equation here – we’re talking autumn, when in the UK at least, you can wake up to a balmy sun and go to sleep with a heavy shower outside the window. Your favourite autumn cardi will see you through it all.
Styling a cardigan is all about what you wear underneath it. A shirt or blouse can look rather formal – and that might be exactly what you’re looking for – but since heavier autumn and winter cardigans tend to be a little heavier, it’s usually best to tone down the underlayer and go for something simple.
With pretty much any cardigan, you can’t go wrong with a simple black or white tee shirt or long-sleeve cotton top. V-neck can work, but a crew neck style usually fits the shape better, especially when the cardi is open.
Talking of open cardigans, who said cardigans even have to have a closed mode? We love the idea of a cardigan that’s designed to sit open, without the buttons and buttonholes, for an elegant, unfussy look that’s as casual as you like. It’s the inspiration behind Luella’s own cable knit cardigans in sea blue or pink, each with a subtly contrasting colour around the hems and cuffs. It’s simple itself to wear, and will quickly become a wardrobe staple. Who needs buttons anyway? (Sit down, Cinderella.)
Knitted tank tops are probably the best type of autumn knitwear when it comes to being functional as well as stylish. As they’re a little lighter than a full jumper thanks to the arms being free, it means you keep your core toasty but you won’t overheat, particularly if you’re active.
But of course, fashion isn’t just about function – you can really turn on the style in a beautiful tank top paired with your favourite long-sleeve shirt.
Go for a lively shirt design, for example, floral or boldly patterned, and the arms and collar will shine through as highlights, while the tank itself breaks down the designs into smaller chunks. Just a simple one-colour tank will do the trick, but if the collar and shoulders have a geometric design, you’re framing the look and it’s simply fabulous.
Tank tops don’t have to be completely sleeveless, either. It’s hard to know exactly where a tank top ends and a short-sleeved sweater begins, but you can have fun with the concept without having to worry too much about definitions.
The final autumnal knitwear look is, of course, layering. Knitwear and layering go together perfectly, and although the softest cashmere doesn’t need an underlayer for comfort, they can still benefit from a vest, tee or light long-sleeve top underneath.
If you’re having one of those days when you’re in one minute and out the next, such as a shopping trip, layering becomes your saviour for making your temperature – and your look – fit the circumstances. Just remember to take your roomiest shoulder bag.
The beauty of cashmere knit is that it’s light enough to be the underlayer itself, beneath a blazer, jacket or winter coat, and you’ll be just warm enough while looking confident and stylish. As we’ve seen above, it’s going to work with skirts, trousers, leggings or jeans, so you don’t even have to overthink it.
Has this given you enough inspiration to get your autumn knitwear collection up and running? Take a look at our collections for more styling ideas.