What to wear this autumn


As the weather gets colder and the new autumn/winter collections hit the rails, ROSEMARY MAC CABE picks 10 key pieces you should buy this season

AS SUMMER turns into autumn, the most exciting change on the horizon isn’t in the television schedule – although I dare you to find a single person who’s not excited about TV3’s upcoming reality TV spectacular, Tallafornia– but in the fashionworld, as summer’s bare legs, shades of beige and sheer midis are replaced by a riot of spice-coloured separates, 1940s silhouettes and texture, texture, texture. Here’s our pick of 10 items to get you into the swing of the new season.


Mulberryhas somehow managed, season after season, to produce the it-bag – although the term “it-bag” is very much out of fashion. Last season’s Tillie created a waiting list in Brown Thomas within days, and this season’s Mulberry Polly Push Lock (from €890)looks set to do the same. The shiny grain leather is a fresh take on a classic, but Topshop’s ruby red handbag (€38), is a close match.


Victoria Beckham’s skinny black jeans (€270 at BT2)look like just another take on a classic but these babies have a gorgeous five-zipper feature at the bottom of the leg for that “rock” edge, and the backside of the jeans is a good two inches higher than any others, meaning there’s not a chance that you’ll resemble a builder. You’ll pay for the privilege, but they will never go out of fashion, and a tight stretch means they won’t lose their shape either.


Zarais the go-to store on everyone’s lips this season, channelling catwalk trends like no other high-street brand, and ushering them in to branches with a speed unrivalled by anyone else. Our pick? These two-tone snake boots (€139), are inspired by big names like Lanvin and Prada,which threw snakeprint into their autumn/winter mix with aplomb. Wear yours with Prada-inspired stripes.


The Ben de Lisi leather midi skirt (€262.50 from the designer’s Principles range at Debenhams) has sell-out written all over it, from the deep, luxurious leather to the circle shape and high waist. Glamorous, textured, with a 1940s edge, and steering away from the grunge of last year’s black leathers to a softer, more sophisticated chocolate tone, it’s the perfect addition to any wardrobe.


This Next houndstooth pencil skirt ((€33)harks back to an era of staid, careful glamour by mimicking the subtle houndstooth accents in Marc Jacobs’ A/W show – at a fraction of the price. Wear yours with a bright pop of colour in the form of a spice-coloured blouse to bring it right up to date, and channel Penelope Pitstop in your strut for added kudos.


Miu Miu’s glitter booties (€600 at Brown Thomas)were the talk of the autumn/winter 2011 shows – and they’re no less gobsmacking in the flesh, all Barbarella curves and glitter. The curved heel is a beautiful modern take on last season’s stack heel, and the combination of extravagance and restraint in the soft, brushed suede makes them the shoe of the season. Can’t stretch to the €600 price tag? You’re not alone. Try Dorothy Perkinsfor a more affordable take on the trend, in the form of its navy suede sandals with glitter platform(€53).


Warehouse’s luscious maroon dress (€84) is taking a leaf out of Miu Miu’s bird-print book this season, with a nod to the past in its gathered waistline but a look to the future with its risqué slit hem. Team yours with ankle boots and socks for a kooky twist, or with courts and a clutch bag for a more ladylike look.


It’s truly the time to get polishing – your fingers, that is, and each season Chanelhas been releasing a nail polish more covetable than the last, with waiting lists to boot. This season’s pick is Peridot, a shimmering slate green colour, with flecks of gold. Wear it with vintage-inspired ladylike shapes to bring them right up to date (€21.50 from Chanel boutiques).


If Mulberry has been the go-to brand for bags, Burberry has been the go-to for, well, everything else. So when it opened its autumn/winter show with a cow-print beret, it was fair to assume the black-and-white print would be huge come September and spawn 1,000 imitations. One of the best is Miss Selfridge’s suede trimmed bomber (€150), which will work equally well with the season’s midi circle skirts and the 1970s-influenced flares.


This season, Irish handbag designer extraordinaire, Pauric Sweeney, has released a diffusion line, named, well, Pauric by Pauric Sweeney,and it’s pretty darned good. This Rio Messenger bag (€380)in dark tan ticks all of our boxes, being roomy, made of the softest buttery leather, and not as expensive as Chanel. Plus, its unisex style makes it timeless.