Trend report: What to wear for AW21

Gabriela Hearst AW21

New season, new trends! I don’t subscribe to big changes so I tend to look for second-time-around trends that suit my personal taste. (Much more manageable that way.) We’re all a bit more conscious about how we shop now so here’s a gentle reminder that you can probably just shop your existing closet for some of these. While there’s definitely a sense of ‘going out out‘ energy in the air, I’m more focused on the everyday wardrobe. So new denim silhouettes, elevated knits, hands-free bags and the perfect boots it is – with a little wellness and beauty newness included!

It’s taken a while, but classic women’s watches are having a moment. Recognised as timeless accessories rather than simply timekeepers, their popularity is being celebrated by watchfluencer platforms such as Hodinkee and Brynn Wallner’s Dimepiece. The secondary watch market is booming too, with The RealReal reporting high resale value for Cartier (below) and Patek Philippe.  While Gen X and Y ‘watch baes’ are often after discreet small-face styles, I predict Gen Z will fall for the retro lure of – brace yourself – the super-statement Michael Kors Chrono. (Don’t recall it? Here’s a primer from the DRG vault.)
Cartier by Tina Tyrell - Harper's Bazaar

If Hedi (the pioneer of Y2K skinny jeans) says adieu to the lean, leggy look in favour of a fuller proportion, you know it’s time to go wider. Which in my opinion looks better on most people anyway. Not extreme width though (leave that to TikTok). Hermès (below) has the perfect dark wash, rigid but curved trouser-jean with a high waist and a length that hits above the ankle bone – just right for boot season. I’m also referencing 80s Alaïa jackets (below, add gold jewellery) and Mango’s 100% cotton jumpsuit* (below).
Hermes aw21 womenswear denim
Alaia 1980s denim
Mango denim jumpsuit

I spotted these cool scarves first at Jil Sander men’s (see below), and then on producer Tony Lawrence in the Summer of Soul film. Studio Nicholson is advocating for them well into SS22. While the Jil Sander one is actually a hood-scarf hybrid, you can find more classic silk squares at Les Belles Heures and Lescarf* in clean, geometric designs. Alternatively, try good old eBay, where you can also pick up an Hermès scarf ring.
Jil Sander AW21

took the world by storm during lockdown, offering not only workout encouragement via its virtual classes but a whole lifestyle. Now considered a global content brand, the ‘Netflix of Wellness’ is set to open its London Peloton exercise studios and broadcast centre imminently. Expect other fitness brands to follow suit as health and wellness content becomes as essential as films, food and fashion.
Peloton opens its London studio in Covent Garden

After years in the wilderness, mini skirts return, thanks in no small part to new season Gossip Girl (below). Admittedly short skirts aren’t really my style these days but they’re all the rage for a Gen Z hot girl autumn. Instead, I’m liking the idea of midi skirts*, to wear with hip-length sweaters*, knitted polos – more on those below –and The Row’s tall leather boots*.
Gossip Girl mini skirt trend
The Row AW21 midi skirt

Despite a push for the ‘convenience’ of contactless transactions, some of us will not let go of our precious small leather goods. I’m wedded to my grandpa-style coin purse*, while Prada gets it too – it had miniscule coin pouches integrated on everything from jackets to gloves to belts featuring heavily in its AW21 men’s show. Meanwhile, multipurpose micro pouches continue to be popular with everyone from Joseph to Loewe*.
Prada AW21 glove purse
Joseph AW21

“I would like to think of myself as the Benetton of the fitted sweater,” says Natalie Joos, whose knitwear line, Joostricot* (below) boasts fitted polos that spark joy with their retro elongated collars. Elsewhere, Khaite has the best slouchy polo in muted cashmere* or argyle merino wool*. Wear them loose and open necked for the autumn months, then buttoned up layered over a superfine rollneck* for winter.
JoosTricot aw21

The resale ecosystem continues to ramp up, with consumers – especially younger ones – becoming increasingly comfortable with selling on their out of favour purchases. Vestiaire Collective, one of the first marketplaces of this kind, received $216m investment from Kering earlier this year while McQueen, Gucci and Burberry have all partnered with Vestiaire or The RealReal on take-back initiatives. In the luxury resale space, 1stDibs has always been a kind of fantasy window shopping destination for heirloom furniture and jewels. But lately it’s noticing its contemporary fashion and jewellery is attracting younger customers to premium quality pieces around the $500 mark. At the lower end of the scale, Depop is the go-to place for younger pre-loved hunters (eBay who?) and recently sold to Etsy for $1.6 billion. The latest development here is keeping the take-back programme in-house. Re/Done (below) recently launched Re/Sell in the U.S, its second-hand platform that lets users upload their own descriptions, photos and price to be authenticated in-house. 80% of the final price is given to the seller as store credit to spend on more Re/Done product.
Shop Redone jeans resale second-hand marketplace

Well-worn trench coats, padded ponchos, quilted gilets, and all manner of country estate outerwear are being unearthed from the garages and lofts of Home Counties parents. Blame the #oldmoneyaesthetic trend and the imminent release of Kirsten Stewart’s ‘Spencer’ film. I’ve got my eye on Lemaire’s raglan raincoat* and am hoping for a reprise in his Uniqlo U collection.
Old Money Aesthetic by Style du Monde
Princess Diana casual old money aesthetic
Refinery 29

. I’m a major coffee head but increasingly seduced by the tranquil promise of tea. While matcha is crazily popular at the moment for its energy-boosting properties without the caffeine crash (Jenki is taking over East London), there’s a parallel movement towards slow, ritualistic tea culture. In Milan, the Xing Cha Chinese tea room has a tea café in the back and a shop in the front, which hosts tea ceremonies, tastings and ceramic exhibitions. And I must confess to a little envy of this tea-making nook (below) spotted on interior designer Rose Uniacke’s Instagram.
Rose Uniacke tea cupboard

Hand care is back in the spotlight. The Spate beauty newsletter reports that searches for nail foils are up 64% as people get playful with manicures again. For old school nail polish fans, I love J.Hannah’s wonderful deep neutral lacquers, such as Compost* (below), an earthy shade that founder Jess Hannah describes as ‘refined filth’ for colour-shy make-up lovers. But the big mani news this season is from Hermès and its hand care and nail colour line, Les Mains Hermès (below). Launching on October 15th, it comprises 25 nail colours, a nourishing oil, nail files, and hand cream.
J Hannah nails
Hermes nail colour


WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: credits t/c
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links* and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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Shop the post: Grace Wales Bonner on a multiplicity vision

Wales Bonner The Innovators Programme at MATCHESFASHION

Fashion month has kicked off and it feels like it’s properly back. Quite rightly there’s a concurrent spotlight on newer talent and younger businesses, who will need extra help in reorienting themselves after the ravages of the pandemic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many mentoring projects!

The 8th LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers just took place, with the main prize won by Nensi Dojaka and three designers sharing the Karl Lagerfeld Prize of €150K each (congrats to my fave, Lukhanyo Mdingi). While prize money is great, it’s not everything. (Remember Thomas Tait’s experience?) So alongside the cash, the LVMH Prize offers access to LVMH’s top tier of luxury business experts, helping designers to bolster their businesses and develop their brands.

Matchesfashion* is also committed to nurturing on-the-rise talent. In its second year, its annual Innovators Programme focuses on championing emerging global designers, with practical support including marketing and preferential business terms. While Matchesfashion can certainly help on the retail front, it’s also doubling down on the editorial. This week it kicks off a series of interviews pairing up newer designers with more experienced ‘mentors’. I love a Q&A format between equally interesting people and this conversation* between Grace Wales Bonner and Jil Sander’s Lucie and Luke Meier is a great fit.

Wales Bonner The Innovators Programme at MATCHESFASHION

There are similarities and differences in their design approaches. Wales Bonner has always interested me for the way she uses fashion as a communication tool to express a vision beyond clothes – through publications, exhibitions, ‘sound experience’, and her amazing films. This season’s collection expresses the identities of 1980s Black British Oxbridge scholars, in tailored denim*, slim retro track pants* and patterned knits*. “I’m really interested in fashion as a means of communication,” she says. “I like to create different strands that can express different ideas – but they’re all part of one expression. Fashion feels like the most direct medium I have.”

Wales Bonner The Innovators Programme at MATCHESFASHION

Lucie and Luke Meier are a design couple I very much admire for what they’re doing with Jil Sander. It’s a good marriage of the founder’s tailored rigour with their own warmer and more personal street-rooted vibe. This season’s Bauhaus-inspired knits* gel well with their utility-luxe trousers* and outerwear*. But while Wales Bonner and the Meiers share an intellectual and narrative approach to their labels, they diverge on what that narrative should be. Luke Meier praises the consistency of OG Jil Sander, while Wales Bonner can’t commit. “The most important ideas I am interested in are duality and multiplicity. I don’t want to present a singular narrative.”

Wales Bonner The Innovators Programme at MATCHESFASHION

Read the full conversation here* and look out for the rest of the Innovators conversations* including Nensi Dojaka with Christopher Kane, and Charles Jeffrey with Sir Paul Smith.


WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Wales Bonner menswear / Matchesfashion
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links* and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

CLICK HERE to get Disneyrollergirl blog posts straight to your inbox once a week
CLICK HERE to buy my book, The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman
CLICK HERE to buy my beauty book, Face Values: The New Beauty Rituals and Skincare Secrets

What’s The deal with ‘Old Money Style’?

Stella Tennant Italian Vogue

“It’s sort of a hilariously on-the-nose name; “old money” gets right to the point of what all fashion trends ultimately are, which are displays of conspicuous consumption. Yet it seems to be arriving right on time, as a counterweight and companion to the loud, whimsical design associated with Gen Z and the name brand-heavy “California rich” look the Kardashians made inescapable.”

Boom – Rebecca Jennings from Vox just nailed my current penchant for what TikTokkers have dubbed Old Money Aesthetic. (#OldMoneyAesthetic.) That is, olde worlde Wasp cashmeres, hand-me-down Hermès (like, a custom shooting bag, not a ‘notice me’ new money Birkin), somebody’s grandfather’s Rolex Explorer (found on 1stdibs) – you get the idea. (more…)

Gentlewoman style: Hereu shoes

Hereu loafer sandals

Fugly shoes. I ran a mile from the Ugg, I swerved the Croc, I’ve never embraced the Balenciaga Triple S, so why am I invested in the Hereu hybrid sandal-loafer?

This shoe* is part classic Ivy style, part Start-Rite, but there’s something in its wrongness that’s kind of right. I think it’s because with my wardrobe of vintage Bass Weejuns and Church’s Derbys, I’m craving something a bit unpredictable. (more…)