The Harvey Nichols’ guide to mastering transitional dressing

11 Oct 2021 | Updated on: 27 Sep 2022 |By Zoe Gunn

Step into autumn with your best foot forward with the help of Harvey Nichols

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Harvey Nichols

Early autumn can be a tricky time for your wardrobe. On paper it’s all back-to-work formalwear and cosy knits – but then along comes an Indian summer and suddenly you find yourself back in lightweight dresses and sandals again.

The key to nailing the transitional period between seasons is investing in versatile pieces that can be layered together and worked into your existing wardrobe: a tip that works just as well for men as it does for women.

Not sure where to start? We’ve dug deep into the new AW21 collections at Harvey Nichols and unearthed the designs that will see you from last evening at the rooftop bar to first mulled wine.

For women

For the weekend

JW Anderson chain-embellished bag, £790,; Completedworks Crunched 14ct gold vermeil earrings, £365,; Paige Mayslie denim trousers, £280,; Brøgger Helle striped top, £365,; ATP Atelier Cozzana leather boots, £430,

Autumn is the season of hard-wearing classic and cosy fabrics but, if you’re not quite ready to give up the colours of summer just yet, why not opt for the best of both worlds? JW Anderson’s line of oversized chain-embellished accessories are the pieces to be seen with this season – and we see nothing wrong with planning an entire look around this incredible magenta bag.

Avoid tipping into Barbie territory by pairing Brøgger’s candy-striped ruffled top with Paige’s tough-as-nails coated denim trousers and ATP Atelier’s gloriously stompy Cozzana boots. (They’re practically designed for kicking up leaves.) Finish by echoing the handbag’s chain with Completedworks’ bold-but-wearable Crunched earrings.

For work

Vince flannel blazer, £525,; Dragon Diffusion woven leather tote, £375,; Max Mara Weekend Kabala pleated skirt, £265,; Rejina Pyo Colette jumper, £495,; Paris Texas Kiki leather boots, £615,

There is, perhaps, nothing quite so sophisticated as a woman able to wear neutrals all day and still look pristine – and, after 18 months in jogging bottoms, isn’t that how we all want to feel right now? Happily, the pristine part is easily taken care of by clever fabric choices: the knitted wools, natural fibres and stone hues of this Max Mara Weekend and Rejina Pyo skirt and sweater combo are surprisingly forgiving.

Top and tail with Vince’s flannel blazer – the perfect transitional alternative to a camel cocoon coat – and Paris Texas’ Kiki leather boots. They sport a design so classic you’ll be wearing them with everything from dresses to denim for seasons to come. Finally, add a touch of personality with Dragon Diffusion’s fabulous forest green woven tote. It’s big enough to carry your laptop and chic to boot.

For men

For the weekend

Paul Smith cotton overshirt, £135,; C. P. Company sweatshirt, £165,; Veja Campo leather sneakers, £115,; Rains rubberised backpack, £85,; Citizens of Humanity Adler jeans, £320,

Off-duty transitional style for men is often as simple as swapping shorts for jeans or a T-shirt for a jumper and that’s absolutely fine by us – especially when the layering options are this good. Citizen of Humanity’s flatteringly tailored Adler jeans are an investment you won’t regret making and will pair perfectly with the Veja sneakers and Rains backpack you undoubtedly already own (if you don’t, we highly recommend you acquire them stat). On top, meanwhile, it’s time to get colourful. Choose pieces in block autumnal tones that can be mixed-and-matched on bold days or dressed down with a white T-shirt if you’re feeling more understated. C.P. Company and Paul Smith are your go-tos here.

For work

Ami Paris houndstooth coat, £655,; Wooyungmi ribbed jumper, £410,; Ralph Lauren slim-leg trousers, £129,; Jil Sander Derby shoes, £520,; Salvatore Ferragamo monogram leather belt, £320,

While some are happy to dive headlong back into their three-piece suits many, we suspect, haven’t missed restrictive collars and cufflinks one bit during lockdown. If you’ve arrived back to the office and discovered a more relaxed dress code in operation, this is your opportunity to inject a little charisma and individuality into your workday style.

Start with your coat. It’s the UK so you’ll need a good one but it needn’t be boring and Ami Paris’ houndstooth number is more versatile than you might immediately think. Simply pair a business casual look, such as Ralph Lauren’s tailored trousers and Wooyungmi’s roll-neck jumper, with co-ordinating accessories. Jil Sander’s classically minimalist Derby shoes and Salvatore Ferragamo’s discreetly monogrammed reversible belt are pieces you’ll turn to again and again.