Finding your Autumn style can be a bit of a challenge when you're a summer baby at heart. Made more for bikinis on the beach and flip flops, the cooler months have always been a struggle for me. Perhaps the reason why I've spent the last four years chasing the summer from the Northern to the Southern hemispheres and back again! While some friends craved the warm winter woolies and darker nights, fantasising about staying warm on the sofa with a good movie, I was dreaming of tropical heat and living on the beach. But moving to Hamburg has really made me see Autumn in a whole new light, no longer is it the season of rain and wind and cold, but instead Germany has shown me a season filled with warm, rich colours, with hearty food and log fires. I can't believe I had never seen it before, but Autumn is Germany at it's finest, the parks ablaze with gold, red and brown, the skies clear, blue and the ground warmed by the late season sun. I won't lie, I'm writing this on a day when it is rainy and blustery to the max, a horrible autumnal day, but until now, my first Autumn living in Germany has been one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
You all know that I'm used to spending my life in maxi dresses and swimwear, and already I've adjusted my summer style to fit in with the Hamburg look, but with a new season comes a whole new challenge. Getting used to all the layers, knitwear and most of all, weatherproofing against the German weather while not giving up all sense of style! German style seems to be very functional, weather-oriented and very muted colours, with a lot of black. Well, as much as I'm rooting for how practical their style is, I can't help but be bored by the lack of colour and fun in dressing for the weather. I think there HAS to be a way of preparing both the sunny Autumn days and the worst weather that is yet to come this season, while still maintaining your fun, quirky style throughout the winter months. Here's five ways I'm embracing the season and changing up my style for autumn:
I love anything colourful and living in sunny countries means a bright colour scheme never gets a second look. But, when you're walking through dark, dull streets and everyone is wearing black and grey, it can be hard to be brave and to embrace colour. I miss my bright red and yellow summer dresses that always looked great with a tan! But there's no reason why your autumn/winter wardrobe has to be dull. Why not change up your colour palette and instead of avoiding all colour, go for more muted, jewelled tones that suit the season. I love the autumn shades,l from deep reds and golds, to rusty oranges, I'm a huge fan of the rich colours appearing in the shops. It doesn't have to mean a complete wardrobe overhaul, why not pick up some new accessories or basic tops to pair with your favourite season-to-season items? My favourite new items are a deep orange headscarf and a bargain rust-coloured coed jacket that I’ve barely taken off since I found them.
It’s all about the accessories and I’m all about finding ways to change up your autumn style while sticking to your budget and keeping things sustainable. It’s nice to see fashion bloggers stepping away from fast fashion and instead promoting vintage and second-hand shopping. I’m a big lover of vintage shopping and find it great for picking up one-of-a-kind pieces that will help keep your style unique to you. Whether it’s a new bag, scarf or even a hat, it will come with a story, and even better, you’ll know that your purchase will be supporting both your wallet and the environment. One of my favourite things to shop for is vintage and second-hand jewellery on markets and in stores, you can find some real gems if you dig deeper enough!
When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing more important than having plenty of layers at the ready to keep you toasty on the walk to work. We all want to look good, but it’s just as vital to stay warm and cosy when it’s -10 degrees outside. I’ve started wearing small tops under big jumpers with a warm coat for the journey into work, with scarves and hats. Layering means being ready for that first blast of autumn winds and rain in the morning, but also being able to peel off those layers when your office is 100 degrees by the afternoon. By being smart and combining layers, you can save yourself the cost of investing in a thicker coat by instead layering jackets and jumpers. If you’re on a budget when updating your autumn style, this can really help.
Trying to limit your purchases of new autumn styles? Trying to stick to a budget? Cut back on spending and instead invest in a capsule wardrobe. Just focus on picking key pieces that you know you can style up in multiple ways and will wear throughout the season. Don't worry about picking up one of everything, instead pick out the timeless styles you know you will bring out again and again. If you love the more retro, 70's styles, why not invest in a pair of flares or some corduroy trousers? Or if you prefer, why not invest in a piece of knitwear or boots you will wear for years to come? Always ask yourself if you really need the item, if you will wear it for more than one season and if it is really your style.
A great way to refresh your wardrobe is to recycle clothes from one season to the next. All those summer dresses could be reinvented with a polo neck or long-sleeved top underneath and a pair of boots. Pair with a nice, cosy winter coat and you have a brand new look! Or why not bring back those summer skirts with a pair of tights and ankle boots? Look carefully at your wardrobe and think about how you can recycle what you already have to really make the most of the clothes and limit your spending. Plan your autumn style carefully to achieve maximum effect with minimal effort. All the money you will save, plus the knowledge you are making sustainable choices for the environment, will be more satisfying than yet another cheap dress or outfit. Plus, restyling previous outfits forces you to get creative and try ways of wearing items!
How do you change up your style for autumn? How are you embracing the season? What's your must-have autumn style?
Of course, I couldn't leave the chilly shores of Ye Olde England without a good old shindig to party with all the people most special to me - and how better to celebrate that by taking them all back to the 90's?! I love a good party and I love when people go all out, dress up and have a fabulous time together - so I insisted on a nineties theme - with plans for decorations and all sorts. It was an amazing night, everyone made such a HUGE effort on the costume front, particularly all the boys who never do dress-up - it really made all the difference and we had some seriously good ideas. Among the costumes we had two Ginger Spice's, one half of Dumb & Dumber, some 90's chavs, a bit of grunge and Clueless, Mrs Doubtfire, Wayne's World, Hunter S Thompson from Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, The Big Lebowski, Ali G, Buzz Lightyear and loads more! Talk about a great mix, and I made sure the house was decorated with posters of music, TV stars and films from the 90's, some great cassette tape bunting I found on eBay. We had a soundtrack of pure 90's music and plenty of 90's sweets like sherbet dips, flying saucers and lollies. But what made it the most special was having so many of my favourite people there - I'm so happy so many could make it and to have spent a night partying with them all. Of course, I too dressed up for the party - finally achieving my wish of becoming Princess Jasmine from Aladdin (one of my favourite Disney movies from the era) - and if you can't be a princess at your own party, when can you? I found this great costume online for less than £20, despite it being exactly the same as a £70 version! If you have a party like this, or any fancy dress theme its always worth shopping around for fancy dress online - when I was at university I was a bit of a pro at this - so many shops stock exactly the same outfits under different names/labels and at very different prices - and there is always one with a sale on! I loved my costume, and added some gold sparkle make-up and a bit of bling and I was ready to go.Of course, there was also a sad side to the party - it was so hard to say goodbye to my closest friends and there were some tears. I was proud I actually managed to hold it together during the party, but was a bit of a mess the next day. It's hard to say goodbye to those closest to you, even when you know you are making the right decision. My mum keeps reminding me that it's a very different world now and when people go travelling, they don't really go away. That there's no waiting for the post to arrive with hopes of a letter saying all is well, now you can Skype, Whatsapp, email, text, write... You can be in contact constantly if you want - it is harder than ever to go off the radar and with social media it is so easy to share every step of your journey. She's right, I know that wherever I am in the world and however long I have been away, that I can instantly get in contact with my family or friends if I need or want to. If something happens and any of us need to talk or just to see each other's faces, it will be possible. Just because you're 2,000 miles away, doesn't mean you have any excuse to be a bad friend.
Have you had a 90's party? Who would you dress up as? What's the hardest goodbye you've had?