Perfect day Carolyn Moore’s love letter to Autumn
Carolyn Moore pays tribute to her favourite season for fashion in Ireland
As the ubiquitous Instagram quote goes: “Summer. Hair gets lighter. Skin gets darker. Water gets warmer. Drinks get colder. Music gets louder. Nights get longer. Life gets better.” I’m not sure whose version of summer this is, but I’m pretty sure they don’t live in Ireland, where summer is basically winter with slightly higher temperatures.
My take on summer is a little less idealised and not so Instagram-worthy. Hair gets unmanageable. Skin gets patchy pigmentation. Water keeps falling from the sky. Nights get freezing. I don’t know what to wear. Because fashion gets ridiculous.
I’ve been avoiding shopping for months in fact. Searching for something to wear to an event in June, I wound up venting my frustration on social media. “Why can’t summer clothes just be like regular clothes, only slightly less warm?” I despaired. “Why do they need pompoms, and cut outs, and questionable dye applications?” It’s as if designers have been tasked with making them as ridiculous and impractical as possible. Wandering the high street, you can’t but be struck by the fact that summer clothes are generally ill-conceived, ill-suited to the actual weather, and often a hassle to wear. Skirts too short for mottled bare legs, shirts that would be perfect for the office if they weren’t inexplicably backless. “Lovely dress,” you’ll wind up thinking, “but am I supposed to freeze to death?” “Those shoes will need a pedicure”, “Will that shoulderless top actually stay up?”, “Do I own a strapless bra?”, “Can I wear a bra with that?”, “Does anyone look good in acid yellow?”, “What am I, five?”, “What am I, Kesha?”, and, “Really? Unicorns?” All genuine observations from the front line of fashion this summer, which seems to have been designed for a girl who lives in that aforementioned Instagram quote and enjoys a guaranteed 60-day stretch of rain-free weather. Summer fashion has been hijacked by a 25-year-old Coachella-goer who’ll never regret buying faux fur pool slides because the only puddles she’s navigating are the ones accumulating around her giant inflatable swan.
Which is not to say wearable summer fashion doesn’t exist, but sifting through endless visual clichés to find it is tedious, time consuming, and ultimately not worth the effort for a garment whose cost-per-wear, in the Irish climate, might equal the price on the tag.
This brings me to autumn — my spirit season, and the best time to enjoy fashion in Ireland. As the autumn collections drop, I feel at peace again strolling through Zara. Here are the clothes I want, the colours that suit my Irish complexion, the textures I’m drawn to, the shapes that don’t make me feel like I need to sign up for Pilates classes.
The new season collections may harbour an unwearable trend or two (I’m looking at you, Chanel space blankets, Simone Rocha fur shoes, and Calvin Klein free-the-nipple knits), but in au- tumn the balance generally shifts in favour of wearability, comfort, and simple, good, grown up style.
Autumn is when those of us over 35 can enjoy spending money on clothes again. We can invest in big-ticket items like coats and boots without secondand guessing their practicality. Autumn fashion comes with longevity built in. Sure, autumn winter trends still come and go, but they do so at a slower pace. A good coat, great knit, or gorgeous wool trousers will hold their appeal and their value for seasons to come.
There’s an ease to autumn dressing I’m longing to rediscover. The simplicity of boots + dress = done. The relief of opaque tights! Forgiving fabrics that figure and shape. There’s a polished feel to it all, and it comes from the clothes; tailored finishes, rich colours, and textures that speak volumes. I’ve always been more comfortable covering up anyway, but that’s a body temperature thing, not modesty. Autumn allows cold créatúrs like me to indulge in cosiness.
For this reason, I fetishise my winter staples in a way I never will my summer clothes. I’m counting down the days till I can be reunited with my favourite purchase from last autumn — a beautiful COS coat with a soft, rounded silhouette in an enigmatic pinky brown colour. It instantly elevates any look, from jeans to a cocktail dress, and I don’t have a single item in my summer wardrobe with the capacity to do that. There’s a surety to autumn weather that makes it easier to dress for, and an uncertainty to summer that leaves me constantly feeling on the back foot.
Unzipping my winter storage bag is like getting reacquainted with old friends; whereas my summer clothes — mostly bought under duress — are woven with the anxiety of all the selfimprovements I feel obliged to undertake in order to be worthy of them. The dress that needs fake tan, or the top with the tags still on because I never did get around to doing 100 sit ups every morning. They make me feel judged and inadequate.
If autumn is your spirit season too, there’s much to look forward to this year. The wild eclecticism and casual opulence embodied by last year’s emblematic Gucci Girl has carried forward, but it’s been reigned in and distilled into something that feels a bit more Worldly Woman. There’s still a wide range of disparate influences at play, but designers like Dries Van Noten and Victoria Beckham have pulled them together with a sophistication that will make autumn/winter dressing a breeze.
So bring on the temperature drop, let those evenings close in; I’m ready to layer up, chill out, have another helping of bread and butter pudding, and relax my way through the best season of them all.
<< THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME: A model at Victoria Beckham during New York Fashion Week.