Well I’ve had it with Summer. It’s been like a bad boyfriend, letting me down so many times that I’m over it so, let’s move on to our Autumn/Winter 2019 – trend analysis. Now it isn’t the easiest of seasons to get your head around this year. There are no significant outline changes as there were two years ago when we moved into the new silhouette of the midi and wider trousers. This time it’s more about a mood and with the world’s current disposition being somewhat schizophrenic, designers are continuing to look backwards. It makes sense in a socio-political context because nobody feels as though they can see ahead at the moment. You’ll notice that there isn’t much of fashion’s usual futurism, just a heavy note of nostalgia for simpler times.

Of course this isn’t a high fashion blog and so I’m not going to spend too much time looking at the esoteric output of designer brands but I do think a quick recap will help give you some context to what is starting to appear on the high street. Today my plan is to help you adjust your eye so that you can work out how you might integrate some of the new looks into your own style. It may take a while and I know some of you will reject it at first but bear with me until you’ve finished the post before you make a judgement – I’m not going to talk about age appropriateness but I do think that this is a mood that we can apply quite easily to our wardrobes.

I don’t suggest that you do any shopping this weekend firstly because some of the best pieces aren’t dropping until next week and secondly because you need to assess what you already have. It’s likely that you have a number of blazers for example that you can pull out and restyle. So, trust the process of this post and let the look settle with you over the weekend. Next week we’ll start looking at what to buy.

Autumn/Winter 2019 – trend analysis

So, where does it all begin for high street buyers? Largely at the shows; they take in London, Paris, New York and Milan and then begin to apportion their floor space or design time according to what they’ve seen. Each year of course there is a leader, often called the ‘tastemaker’, who courts more attention and column inches / pixels than anyone else. This time it was Hedi Slimane’s second collection at Celine. You probably know that his first didn’t go down too well which made his swift turnaround even more impressive.

His focus was on what is being labelled as ‘High Bourgeois.’ It references a deep 1970s nostalgia but it also has both a British country tweed and a Parisian Left Bank influence. So, you’ll see a lot of tweed, checks, tartans, satin, silk, scarves, bows, culottes and knee high boots. Here are some shots to give you a clearer idea (you can see more at Vogue here).

Autumn/Winter 2019 - trend analysis

This is Grazia’s depiction of it as an age of elegance and you can see that every designer has a version of it (click image to expand).

Translating it to the high street

So, hopefully you’re starting to get a feel for it now. It’s a look that’s familiar to us, it’s part of our heritage and retailers are obviously aware of that because it’s coming through in all of the new launches. Let me show you some of the early looks that have arrived starting with a more casual look:

Key trends Autumn/Winter 2019

Checked blazer; Argyle jumper (also available in brown/camel/black); Shirt; Jeans; Boots; Bag

And moving onto something a little dressier:

Trends Autumn/Winter 2019

Jacket; trousers; silk shirt; loafers; bag (coming soon)

If you’re not keen on brown, this deep burgundy jacket combined with ivory and black works just as well. The slightly clashing pop of red in the bag stops it looking too safe.

Technically satin is more of a 90s reference but it’s a key component in this mood. Both satin slip skirts and pleated midis are still very strong although this season they’re more often being styled with a longer blazer than a cropped biker jacket.

This shows you the British context to the look. The mood has turned away from urban towards the sanctuary of the countryside; it’s about escaping from news stories, pollution and protest.

Key trends Autumn/Winter 2019

Left to right

Women 1 : Blazer; Jumper; Jeans; Boots Woman 2: Dress Woman 3: Jumper; Belt; Skirt; Boots

What if I don’t like brown?

It’s clear that brown (in all its shades) is the season’s main colour but you’ll be pleased to know that there are other hues around too.

  • Yellow is still strong in both pale butter and sunshine shades.
  • Fuchsia pink is popular either worn head to toe in a block of colour or simply used as a clashing accent.
  • Purple is key, particularly as we approach Christmas and it ranges through the spectrum from lilac to Liberty to dark damson.
  • Bright red is everywhere because it works so well with brown but this season it’s been adjusted subtly to have a touch more blue in it than it has for the last few years so it’s more crimson than tomato and it deepens through the palette into plum.
  • Forest green is less dominant but still around
  • If you want something completely different, high fashion is adding flashes of neon in the form of accessories and socks.
  • The one colour that you won’t find around much is navy. I suspect that it may disappear for a while, just as it did from about 1992 – 2003.

Other things to look out for

  • Argyle is really coming into its own for Autumn and you’ll see a lot of it as a detail on knitwear in particular.
  • Cardigans are back and you’ll notice the street-stylers often wearing them in place of jumpers with high waisted trousers and skirts because the fit is neater.
  • ‘Big dress energy’ a.k.a. tent dresses (or buffet dresses as the Instagram set like to call them) are a thing – but difficult to carry off.
  • Belts are very important, especially wide mock croc ones used to cinch in your blazer or a piece of knitwear. It’s a very simple way of incorporating AW19 into your look.
  • Animal print is moving away from leopard towards tiger and cow; snake is still around and zebra continues to be a good option too.
  • Pattern – if you don’t like checks, look out for dark winter florals which are replacing the ditsy prints we’ve grown used to.
  • Coats – floor length is the elegant new trend (which makes me glad I’ve hung on to the one I bought at Selfridges in 1996!)
  • Jewellery: delicate necklaces are being replaced by 70s style chunky gold chains. Statement earrings are still hanging in there (couldn’t resist that) but avoid wearing big necklaces and earrings together – it’s either/or.
  • Shoes are low with either a block or kitten heel and gain extra style points for a squared-off toe. And trainers of course are still worn with everything – great if you have long legs, harder to pull off with style if you don’t.

So, I’m going to leave you to mull over that and next week I’ll have some ideas about how to adapt your wardrobe by introducing a few key pieces. I’ll also be talking about the Marks & Spencer press show that I looked round on Wednesday and trying on a few outfits from their new collection. It’s never easy knowing what to wear for these things but this is what I decided on and even though it’s last season, I felt sufficiently on trend – should’ve belted that blazer though!

Hush Trouser suit AW18; Boden shoes SS19; T-shirt Midlifechic Boutique past season; Bag past season; Mother and child necklace (gifted AW18) Thank you to Avril at A Life To Style for taking the picture.

Midlife lately

After a slightly chaotic Summer that included a lot of time away (and then some frantic time at my desk catching up with my day job), today feels appropriately like the beginning of a new term on Midlifechic. I have one more trip with the boys to tell you about but other than that it will be style all the way up to the shiny season. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking because as sustainability becomes an ever more important issue, I don’t want to feel as though I’m constantly urging you to spend. So, going forward my main focus will be on buying ‘less but better’ and using new additions to update what we already have.

As part of this process, I’ve been reviewing the brands that I work with and looking at their Corporate Social Responsibility policies and also their supply chain transparency. It’s led me to pause my relationship with some and look at others with new eyes. As you know, my heart lies in retail, as does a large percentage of the UK economy so I’m not going to suggest that we stop shopping, rather that we support the retailers who are leading change and step away from those who aren’t. This way, the good and true will prosper and when the year end results are published, the focus will be on why and how… and others will follow. As consumers we have the power to drive change by spending thoughtfully and so in my view, that’s what we should do.

One last thing, thank you to the 661 people who entered the competition to join Mr MC and me for a weekend in France. We were really chuffed that so many of you were willing to spend time with us. Thankfully I didn’t have to use the tie breakers but I really enjoyed reading through them (even though some were heart-breaking), others were hilarious and then a few were just very clever. I particularly liked this one from Lynn :

“L’enfer, c’est les autres’ wrote Jean-Paul Sartre, but he was wrong; pick me and mine and the company will live up to the experience: heavenly!

Anyway the competition software did its stuff, the winners have been contacted and have both accepted. So, you’ll be able to have a break from me and see readers on here next month (and I know I’ve just struck fear into their hearts – don’t worry my friends… it’ll be fine!)

And that’s it from me today, I have an eldest son at home who’s just had his wisdom teeth out so I’m going to relish having permission to fuss over him. Now that his long ‘gap summer’ is over he’s looking for graduate roles and so may well be leaving us soon on a permanent basis. The middle one is away in Manchester doing a video editing course and the youngest has just finished his first week of Sixth Form. This is from a couple of weeks ago when we opened his GCSE results, thankfully they were good.

Have a lovely weekend everyone, thank you for still being here – I really hope you’ve enjoyed this post, it feels good to be back and in full flow again.

Disclosure: Autumn/Winter 2019 – trend analysis is not a sponsored post