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The trends to know for autumn-winter, and how to wear them

Corina Gaffey: Office-wear is back with red, leather and shine cutting through the 50 shades of grey

Whistles Autumn/Winter campaign

Summer is officially over. And what a summer it’s been, dominated by a deluge of rain and storms, which makes us more fully prepared for the influx of cosy knits and cover-ups. For the autumn-winter 2023 collections, designers showcased ideas about what we should wear for the colder months. Style statements to note – scarves are having a high-fashion moment, red is the shade du jour, and the white shirt is non-negotiable. Here’s everything you need to know to prepare for the new season.


White shirt with tie, €59.99, Mango
Wide leg Jean, €40, Very

While whimsical, intimidating and avant-garde trends sometimes rule catwalks, this season’s clothing is more approachable and something you might own already. Designers, including Bottega Veneta, focused on a conscious approach to dressing with timeless pieces that offer versatility, including wide-leg denim and trench coats. Wardrobe staples got an elevated spin, with the white shirt among the most popular. Valentino, Simone Rocha and Loewe reimagined it in floor-sweeping styles, while Alexander McQueen, Gucci, and Prada kept it in all its classic glory. Another classic wardrobe item – the black coat – was the overlay of choice at Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney, and Balenciaga.

50 shades of grey

Grey knit, €129, Whistles
Peplum jewel button cardigan €40, Very

Adding to the wearable feel of the new season, designers maxed out on minimalism, featuring simple shapes in all shades of grey. Prada, Michael Kors, Fendi and Jil Sander bet big on the grey coat as the season’s key piece. Tod’s produced floor-skimming leather coats teamed with a mini in steely grey, while Tory Burch went tonal with stone grey tailored tops and trousers. The modest grey jumper got its turn on the catwalks too, and it is something you may own already. Christopher Kane, Louis Vuitton and Molly Goddard brought the knit to the fore, teaming it with vinyl pencil skirts, leather shorts, metallic trousers and tulle.

Boardroom is back

Black blazer, €199, H&M Studio
Pinstripe vest, €295, Loulou Studio

Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent and Valentino returned to business, quite literally, with corporate-charged outfits featuring ties, tailoring, checks and pinstripes. Broad and bold shoulders are back with power pads, a feature on the runways of Balenciaga, Sportmax and Alexander McQueen. Saint Laurent took it to the extreme, showing 30 out of 50 looks with exaggerated, squared-off shoulders paired with slinky pencil skirts or slim trousers. A look not just reserved for the office, play with contrasts and team a pinstripe suit with trainers and a t-shirt. Or, for a quirky take, style up a skinny tie with a sheer blouse or evening wear à la Valentino.


Shape shifters

Peplum trimmed jacket, €495, LK Bennett
Black leather belt €49, & Other Stories

Designers offered a fresh reprieve from the oversized, slouchy trends that have dominated for several seasons in the form of neatly tailored and cinched styles. Chunky belts that re-embraced the core were layered over form-fitting and svelte dresses at Alaia and Max Mara. Versace, Bottega Veneta, and Proenza Schouler rebooted the old Hollywood hourglass silhouette with waist-sculpting blazers. A simple way of recreating at home and updating what you already own? Belt your blazer. Continuing the waist-centric theme were peplums in ruffles, silk layers and sculptural shapes at Proenza Schouler, Givenchy, and Brandon Maxwell. Elsewhere, 1950s-era ankle-skimming, full skirts swung down the catwalks of Prada, Armani and Dior. Take a style cue from Prada and team the sweet skirt with a block or kitten heel and cashmere knit. Leaning into the office-wear aesthetic, designers also put sleek pencil skirts back on the style agenda, whether as a skirt suit at Saint Laurent or knitted at Miu Miu. Make it look less corporate by opting for a next-level style decked out in leather or embellishment.

Colour story

Cape blouse, €59.99, Zara
Silk cargo trousers, €295, Stine Goya, Arnotts

Cutting through the greyscale with a powerful punch was statement-making red at Stella McCartney, Proenza Schouler and David Koma. Spring’s Barbiecore pink has developed into a full-on scarlet shade. Tagwalk, a fashion search engine, says there has been a 33 per cent increase in red on the runway compared to last season. The way designers want you to wear it this season? Head-to-toe, of course. But if full-on monochrome feels intimidating, embrace pinches of saffron instead, as seen at Tory Burch, Dolce and Gabbana and JW Anderson. Shimmering the heat of fiery red was buttery yellow; the off-shade, close to beige, is a fresh take on a neutral and was spread across multiple designer collections, including Givenchy, Zimmerman, and Tove.

High shine

Silver leather trousers, €90.30, Warehouse
Silver boots, €269, Arket

Paco Rabanne, 16Arlington and Dries Van Noten proved maximalism is not dead with an array of precious metals, glittering garments, space-age sequins and lamé. Simone Rocha opted for gilded gold dresses and blouses with puff sleeves, while Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Coach, and Rodarte produced cold-weather-ready metallic coats. How to wear it in real life? Unexpectedly, that’s how. The high street has leant into the metallic trend for the past couple of seasons with silver-foil trousers becoming a sell-out style and returning for autumn. Bring the shiny trend into the day by teaming a pair of metallic trousers with a crisp white shirt or grey jumper to temper the shine and tick off two trends simultaneously.

Leather weather

Longline biker, €55, Very
Full leather skirt, €795, LK Bennett

From oversized biker jackets at Saint Laurent, sleek tailored blazers at Gucci and trenches at Emilia Wickstead, toppers composed of leather were vital for designers. According to Tagwalk, 10 per cent of all autumn collections featured leather. But it wasn’t just outerwear that got the leather treatment; shirts, skirts and dresses in all shades like butter yellow, burgundy and bottle green were crafted in the supple, soft material.


Grey overcoat, €125, M&S
Midi knit dress, €169, Whistles

Tactile, touch-me fabrics didn’t stop at leather, with designers experimenting with toasty, cosy materials ideal for the chillier months. Shearling, bouclé, and knitted dresses were the most popular iterations adaptable to any wardrobe. Isabel Marant, Max Mara, and Tod teamed elevated knitted dresses with knee-high boots for the ultimate cold-weather style pairing.

The scarf

Scarf, €29.99, Mango

While a coat is always an autumnal must-have, a new fashion accessory is stealing the limelight – the scarf. Often an afterthought and functional item, the scarf suddenly has been transformed into a sophisticated layer thanks to Paul Smith, Burberry and Marni. Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton made the scarf the show’s star, dramatically draping and pinning with a brooch – an easy styling tweak to muster in real life.