A simple belt, boot or bag can reinvent an outfit entirely, and take it well into another season. Invest wisely in this top 5 edit for autumn, writes Emma Bangay.
For lovers of fashion, this autumn offers plenty of luxe and tactile options to get your creative juices flowing. To ensure you get the most out of your autumn wardrobe, here are the essential top 5 items.
1. The Belt
What: Belts are universally flattering, with the ability to create the perfect illusion of a smaller waist, and take any piece – from a shirt dress to pencil skirt to winter coat - into a more modern dimension. This season, leather, buckled, androgynous belts are wrapping themselves around sheer and sturdy fabrics, and helping us rediscover all those sexy curves summer shift dresses kept concealed.
Warning: Not everyone is hourglass shaped, so if you are lacking a natural waistline the best way to create one is by belting in a flowing fabric – like a shirt cotton or linen dress – so that it ruches around the top and bottom of the belt, creating volume that is brought into a point at the buckle, which holds focus.
Country Road: Metal Elastic Belt, $59.95
2. The Boot
What: High black boots are the statement stomper for the season, but let’s be honest, unless you’re a supermodel, knee-high may not be for you. But, using any height of black boot as a base is a great kick-start in autumn. As a general rule:Knee height boots will create a flattering length to the lower leg area, so if you have shorter calves and ankles, a slim line boot proves elongating.Ankle length boots can also give the illusion of longer, leaner legs when worn with black opaque or sheer tights.Masculine/biker boots – with rubber, flat soles – give any outfit a youthful feel. These can also be extremely feminine worn back with a summer frock and a distressed denim jacket for an autumn look with attitude.
Warning: Any detail, be it zips, buckles, ridges, leather inserts or folds on a long boot will draw the eye to the leg area, so if you want to keep this part of your body out of focus, simply go with a style that is solid and simple.
Zomp: Itai Black Orange Boot, $165
3. The Bag
What: Like a perfume or a pump shoe, handbags traditionally fall into the ‘day’ or ‘night’ category. But not this season. The tote bag can take you from day to night, beach to bar in a flurry of neon or nude, leather or lightweight fabric. The options vary, from a ‘balloon’ shaped bag that tapers in at the handles but bulbs out at the base or more of a crafted leather shape that has sharper, sleeker edges to add some symmetry to your overall look.
Warning: Keep it ladylike. As a larger tote bag is the antithesis of a feminine clutch, create femininity with a pretty shade like a neutral nude or butter leather, or go to the other extreme with a neon yellow or orange neoprene.
State Of Escape: 1.3 Neon Yellow Bag, $299
4. The Blues
What: Denim is a perennial favourite, and this season it’s as distressed as it gets. Think rips, tears and creases – in all the right places of course. Jeans in particular are best served worn and faded, in either a slimline style or a looser, drop-crutch boyfriend shape.
Warning: If you go for a distressed or loose pair of jeans, keep the rest of your look really feminine. Makeup should be bold (red lips and denim are the stuff of fashion legend) hair slick and streamlined and heels as high as can be.
Bassike: Super Lo Slung Jean, $395
5. The Bling
What: When it comes to necklaces, size does not matter. Whether big and baubled or delicate and diaphanous, decolletage detail is a true fashion game changer. This season, the options range from large faux gold chain to slight, charmed silver. Length of necklace is one area that does need direction, so here are some simple guidelines:The collar bone: If you are wearing a low neck top or shirt, there is nothing sexier than an ever so delicate chain resting on the hollow of the collar bone. Keep it bespoke and close to your heart by going with an initialled charm or love heart.Chest length chains: For a simple shift dress or casual t-shirt, a dense, detailed, heavy link chain is an up-beat way to add some playfulness to even the simplest ensemble.The drop charm chain: Nestled in the bosom, a large iconographic charm is a gorgeous statement piece that symbolises fierce fashion sense. These work best with a blazer and t-shirt combo or a loose, linen shirt and a hint of bra peeking through.
Warning: If you do buy costume jewellery, be sure to take it off when you shower, sweat and sleep. Short term fashion impact, not a long life, is what these pieces are all about, so have fun with them, but show them a little respect too!
Sportsgirl: Puzzle Bib Necklace, $24.95