Why I’m Happy To See The Back Of Bare Legs. And Rediscover My Winter Coat Instead

From a girl who loves autumn not just for the back to school vibes – but for the clothes


by Dolly Alderton |
Published on

This week, the second week of September, is my very favourite time of the year. While everyone conducts a funeral procession behind the casket of summer, laying down wreaths of hashtags (#cantbelieveitsoveralready, #haterain etc), I am overjoyed. Because summer isn’t my favourite time of year, in fact I find it altogether quite fraught – filled with worrying about how you’re going to afford a holiday or not enjoying the holiday because you can’t afford the holiday and too many men in shorts and too many diets and lots of charred, barbecued food and unflattering, jersey maxi dresses and wankers doing fire poi in parks.

All this bad feeling culminates in my birthday, which falls on the last day of August – a fractious affair ever since it ceased to be my birthday and became the day Princess Diana died when I was seven and distraught family members couldn’t make it across London for my party. The day has remained scarcely populated ever since, with friends on family holidays during adolescence or building schools in Uganda during university or, most recently, all attending weddings (NotOnTheHighStreet.com reportedly ran dry of monogrammed apple crates around August 20th). Even fewer friends were around this year because they were evidently too busy throwing buckets of water on their heads, but that’s another polemic entirely.

READ MORE: Confessions Of A Summer Phobic Dresser

Every year, I wake up on the first day of September and breathe a sigh of relief. While the rest of the country mourns summer, eagerly I clear away my birthday cards, throw away sun block, dig out brogues, jeans, scarves and hats and start making big plans. Autumn is when raindrops wash everything clean and trees squirm out of their leaves like a snake shedding old skin.

I like clothes in autumn because I like cosy. I like knackered, old in-jokes with knackered old friends and shoes that require socks, and mashed potato, and polo necks, and big lapels, and navy dad jumpers, and any of The Hairy Bikers cookery programmes. Cosy is something I do very well; both in life and in the wardrobe. The textiles of autumn are well suited to it; I love the moment I fold up the bothersome linens of summer, the see-through cotton and its wayward, hippie sister cheesecloth. I like pulling out all the chic and forgiving wools, the unctuous cashmere and coquettish (p)leather.

My love for autumn only increased when I realised the endless value of a good coat. I spent most of my life coatless; queuing up for clubs in November wrapped in nothing but bodycon and optimism. But then three years ago, forced by my mum, I invested in a thick, black pea coat with big buttons and cuffs. Since then, I will talk about the merits of investing in a wildly over-priced coat to anyone who will listen. A good coat – a proper, grown-up one – can swathe your entire wardrobe in magic. A pair of cheap, skinny jeans sticking out from under a thick, camel coat or a heavy, vintage cape suddenly look like the chicest jeans in the world.

I like pulling out all the chic and forgiving wools, the unctuous cashmere and coquettish pleather

The first good coat can single-handedly take a girl into womanhood. It is the bat mitzvah of fashion, but with less call for a marquee and mass-ordered smoked salmon. I now adore mine so much (first favourite: black, double-breasted knee-length, second favourite: camel cape, third favourite: vintage 1970s, shaggy-sleeved Afghan) I sometimes want to apologise to them during the summer for abandoning them (this might possibly be something to do with the fact that I grew up loving the Toy Story films and still sort of believe my most-loved possessions come alive when I leave the house).

READ MORE: Here Are The Best Fake Tans To Ease Your Sad Skin Into Autumn

The next few months also suit me because I am a big fan of inertia and all its accompanying garments. The summer, with its long, light days and all its bank holiday weekends bring an obligation of constant activity and fun. If September to May is spent inert, the four months of the British summer are spent forcefully ert. Trekking around in peasant dresses and Birkenstocks, with chafing thighs and blistered toes and sweaty underboob on mad, joyless quests to ‘make the most of the good weather’. Well, no more. Now is the time for Sundays in bed watching every episode of 30 Rock twice and trips to the Nisa Local for eggs in your pyjama bottoms and ex boyfriend’s huge coat he left at your flat. Or long, rainy afternoons spent indoors shagging, which requires no clothes at all.

And I don’t miss the weather either. I like grey skies and long, dark nights and crunchy leaves and morning mist. It needn’t be all laddered tights and old university hoodies. I will protect myself against the elements with alacrity; with plaid, woollen miniskirts and sheepskin coats and leather driving gloves and thigh-high boots. With cable-knit, knee-high socks and ribbed woollen separates (yes, woollen skirts) and the edible colours of an October sycamore: mustard, crimsons, caramel and olives. Anything is possible over the next few months. There are boots to be bought. Fresh Moleskine pages to be filled. Go forth, my friends. Embrace your autumnal wardrobe the way you once cooed over new stationary on the first day of school. Buy a felt fedora. Invest in a suede skirt. Chuck your tired flip-flops and bin the sea-stained bikinis. Spare your perineum a coating of hot wax, let that bikini line grow wild and free.

The wax strips are not wanted now: throw out every one;

Pack up the Pimms and dismantle the fun.

Summer is over! Let the mourners come!

Like this? Then you might be interested in...

Here's How To Make Your Summer Wardrobe Work For Autumn Too

Follow These Fashion Folk. They Won't Give You Blurry Pictures Over Fashion Month

Catcallers Don't Care If You're Wearing Hotpants Or An Overcoat

**Follow Dolly on Twitter @dollyalderton


Picture: Jason Lloyd-Evans

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us