Des’s Autumn Must-Haves

Des with her daughter, Missy

Wearing her new M&S trench at London Fashion Week

Firstly, a little about me…. I’m a fashion editor and stylist living in Walthamstow, London with my husband and our five year old daughter, Missy (for whom many a purchase has been found on LS).

I’ve worked in fashion for quite some time and my first assistant job was working for the now Editor of British Vogue, Edward Enninful, back in the day when he was the Fashion Director at iD magazine (amazing training and a real eye opener!). I wanted to work at more commercial mags as I had grown up reading Elle, Vogue and Marie Claire, and managed to get my foot in the door as an assistant at Glamour magazine, where I first met Sarah, 13 years ago and at that time, she was the Acting Fashion Editor. I remember our first time working together – we went to Paris to shoot an accessories story. The thing that struck me the most about Sarah on that trip was (apart from being one of the funniest people I had ever met) was her attention to detail (one of her many great qualities which I have always admired). We bonded from day one and our friendship grew, so much so that I am honoured to be godmother to Marlow.

I went on to work at InStyle magazine as shopping editor, then two years later was asked to go back to Glamour to cover maternity as the acting fashion editor – a career highlight as it was 1) validation that I was good at my job and 2) I got to work with the best team in the business again, especially alongside Sarah, who by this time was Senior Fashion Editor. I then landed a job at Marie Claire as Senior Style Editor, a position I held for several years until very recently (four weeks ago to be precise) when I left because I wanted a new challenge and be more in control of my time, so decided to pursue a freelance career. Fingers crossed!

Although we have very different styles I have always secretly (not so secret now!) had a girl crush on Sarah and her cool, feminine style. There is no one, I repeat, no one who can rock a dress (day or night) quite like Miss Clark. She makes everything she wears look so bloody effortless and this is because she stays very true to herself and NEVER falls into the ‘it’s on trend so I must have it’ trap!  Of course there are things that are of the season that Sarah will champion but they are always items that she 100% loves that will work with items that she already has in her wardrobe and that she will wear season after season. This is why LS is so successful, because of its very considered curation, and even as a fashion editor myself with a fairly decent eye for coveted pieces and a high street bargain that screams designer and will send my contemporaries to fill their virtual baskets and proceed to checkout in a fashion (shorter than a normal) heartbeat, is one of my few go-to blogs for style inspiration for both myself and my daughter Missy.

It’s really exciting for me to be asked to do a post (hopefully the first of many) for LS – there is nothing cooler than wishing your bestie (who you have watched start, build and grow her blog into a successful business) would ask you to do something for it and then she does! Mind blown!
So here is a little edit I’ve put together of my Wish List for the new season…
Autumn is by far my favourite time of year for clothes, I’m not one for baring my arms, legs, well anything really, so I struggle a bit in Summer. But when it’s time to start piling on the layers and covering up, I am in my element!

I would say I’m definitely an understated, ‘less is more’ kind of dresser, who is a certified print, frills, ruffles, bows and until very recently, dress and colour phobic, and after years of practice and being immersed in the seasonal trends merry-go-round, I know what suits me, and as the saying goes “if it ain’t broke…”! Consequently, I have to confess that I am one of life’s big repeat offenders (30 pairs of jeans, anyone)! My style go-to’s are the aforementioned denim, tailored jackets (I bought an amazing one last season in &Other Stories which got the “looks like Celine” seal of approval from a fellow fashion editor), cashmere sweaters, t-shirts (still searching for the perfect one) and black shoes only (I’ve recently been swayed to break this rule but more of that later). If money were no object I would wear a little Celine every day, mixed with a little Cos, &Other Stories and Toppers of course – hi, low dressing is much more creative, stylish and fun than head-to-toe designer,  but my pockets are definitely not that deep, so I have mastered the art of considered designer splurges mixed with high st buys, (some of which are often mistaken for designer), on my very average disposable income.

A coat is the biggest investment of the season so I like to start my search early to avoid disappointment. There are some savvy seasoned shoppers who purchase and stock-pile their cover up whilst the sun is still shining, but I don’t like to peak too soon and prefer to look around before making the big decision.  I like my coat to be a little oversized in fit to allow extra room for layering. This one from & Other Stories (which I noticed is already in the Mama Shop) is top of my list. It has a masculine silhouette and the long length is great if you are tall like me, as I find many coats stop at the knee. Heritage was big on the catwalk for Autumn/Winter and check is an easy but classic, not too ‘try hard’ way to tap into it, and the dark grey & black has an Issy Marant feel. I’ve tried this on, I love it. I will be buying it.

A trench is another coat classic that I am always drawn to and the best trans-seasonal option for those not that warm but not that cold either, days. I have already been seduced by this super stylish one from M&S, it is black for starters (no explanation needed from that point of view) and the proportions are just so (right length, good size pockets, belt sits in the right position). It also gets bonus points for having a hood, which solves those many ‘caught without a brolly and it’s pissing it down’ moments that I seem to keep finding myself in these days. It’s available in traditional khaki too so what’s not to love!

There is no way I could have a wish list that didn’t include a pair of jeans! To say they are my staple would be an understatement of epic proportions. I would say, I buy at least two pairs per season – this Summer it was a cream, wide leg, high waisted, cropped pair from Cos and a dark denim, wide leg, high waisted, cropped pair (there goes that repeat offender trait again) from the Uniqlo & Lemaire (very chic Parisian label if you are not familiar with it) collaboration (they have another launching in October which LS will no doubt give you the heads up on). This black pair by Raey (Matches’ own label, and one of my faves for it’s cool androgynous understated pieces) does the same job as my Summer purchases but they are black, so I still need them! The straight and wide leg, high waisted style feel much smarter and tailored than a skinny and are super flattering (plus you avoid exposing your butt which is always a hazard of the low waisted jean)!

Shirts are my smart alternative option to a t-shirt and usually I go for masculine styles but I love this one from Paloma Wool which still ticks the clean, simple and fuss free box, but the print and softer silhouette make it much more feminine.

As I mentioned earlier I was a little late to the dress party and have always admired Sarah’s ‘throw on a dress and look fabulous’ style, but never really appreciated its ‘pop it on and you’re good to go’ ease and practicality. It took a while to find a style that suited me and that I felt comfortable in, but I found true love in the shirt dress; classic, clean and understated, just the way I like things. This khaki one from Joseph ticks many boxes… neutral tone, but not black, which makes it the perfect partner for the other non black items in my wardrobe of Denim, navy, grey, white, and the newly introduced red; is chic enough for meetings (I’ll team it with 70’s style block heel knee high boots) and a great layering piece over polo necks and jeans.

I’m a sucker for a logo sweater and what better way than to publicly proclaim my love of one of my favourite cities, Paris (I would live there if I could speak French) than to have it emblazoned across my chest in this very cool monochrome sweater from & Other Stories. I’m sure you can all appreciate the necessity for this holiday sweatshirt now that the darker, colder nights have set in!  And I know this Gucci number is a little on the pricey side but it is a collaboration with the poet & artist, Coco Capitan and will probably be a collectors item in years to come.

A new bag isn’t something that I buy each season but if I was going to invest in a designer bag this Loewe ‘Hammock bag’ is the one! It is major dollar but this is one of those designer splurges that I am happy to shell out for. It was love at first sight when I first clapped eyes on it a few seasons ago (it took me this long to save for it) and I figure, if i’m still lusting after it now then I must love it enough to hand over the cash. Plus, when you consider it’s three ways to wear versatility it is practically a bargain, no?!!!

Now this wooden basket is a bit of a wild card for autumn but it was one of the most coveted bags of the summer which I missed out on first time around (grab it while you can ladies) so I am including it as my evening bag option. Apart from it being super chic, there is a nostalgic element attached to this buy as I vividly remember my very stylish mum having one just like this when I was little (I’ll hang onto mine and pass it on to Missy).
Statement earrings have become the new go to for a cheap and easy way to update an outfit and the high st are really doing some great ones. Mango is owning the earring game at the moment and is the fashion editors go to. I love this simple gold pair and I will pretty much wear them with everything day and night from a white shirt to an LBD.

Along with a coat, boots are another key need to work with everything essential for autumn. These chic little numbers are from &other Stories (they have so much good stuff at the moment). The low block heel is practical for running around all day and they sit slightly above and hug at the ankle which is really flattering and they will literally work with pretty much everything in your wardrobe.

I don’t know why but recently I have suddenly had the urge to introduce a little colour into my wardrobe and have found myself gravitating to red (albeit in very small doses). It is the colour of the season so I think it has seeped into my subconscious due to the amount of red I encountered whilst editing rails of it during my last few months at Marie Claire. Red has the ability to add a little something to an outfit with very little effort other than just being a fab colour, which is why these Topshop shoes are on my list. For me red still falls into classic territory – red nails and lipstick are a fine example of this and is a colour that works really well with all the neutral tones I wear.

Apart from the odd stripe or spot (very rare, but it has been known) I can be tempted away from plain by a check (probably something to do with it feeling quite masculine), and I’m quite taken with this Mango shirt. I like the slightly oversized, boxy shape – leaving room for layering with a polo neck. And the cropped style means a little less fabric to tuck into those Raey jeans (I will want to show off the high waist) that I’m probably never going to take off!

Finally, mules have been gathering pace for a few seasons with the Gucci flat loafers sporting many a high street version. The kitten heel mule is about to take over and this chic velvet pair are inspired by a gorgeous but out of my price bracket pair by the Olsen sisters label The Row. They will elevate my jeans for day and instantly make an outfit more glam for night.

Des xx

Des’s Autumn Wish List