Although I’m currently sat with what I’m sure are some of the last remnants of golden summer sunshine pouring through my office window, there was a distinct chill in the air at 8 o’clock this morning when we loaded Vashka into the car for a trip to the vets. As she meowed in defiance and I hugged her carrier, trying – ineffectively – to soothe her, the chill snuck in through the vents and prickled my skin. Autumn, it seems, is beginning to edge its way in. It lingers in the cool shadows and reveals itself in crisp, yellow leaves strewn on the path.
We spend so long craving the restorative energy that summer brings that I feel guilty even daring to look forward to autumn but it feels like a fresh start, more so than January ever does. Children go back to school, people go back to work, parliament is back in session and life begins to settle into a rhythm once again.
As the distraction of enjoying every rare moment of British sun fades, I feel revitalised and ready to get to work. I’m sure it’s a hangover from school and uni days except now I get to choose what I work on (mostly) and actually enjoy it instead of listening to someone drone on about electrons while being forced to wear an ugly polyester jumper.
Just as it did when I would choose my brand new pencil case each year, September and beyond feels full of possibility and opportunity. It’s a chance to reset after slowing down (mentally, at least) over summer and set intentions for the season ahead. And nothing helps me occupy this new optimistic place than starting to tentatively embrace autumn layers.
Sure, summer is pegged as the season to be carefree but is there anything more restrictive – in fashion terms – than the criteria for an outfit being what will make you sweat the least? I’m bored of pulling beautifully clashing outfits out of my wardrobe only to have to strip away everything that makes them interesting because anything more than a light jacket gives me a pink face and sweat moustache.
So, when I saw it hurling down with rain a couple of days ago, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity to reclaim my much-missed layers. Unfortunately, I did fall head first into the midi skirt and ankle boots trap that’s touted as the autumn style saviour every single year, but can you blame me when I found the skirt version of a Twister lolly? Those sweeping stripes called to me from the rail in a vintage shop earlier this year and as soon as they snaked their way around my hips in the fitting room I was sold.
I initially just tucked a white shirt into it which looked kind of chic but also kind of boring, so I used the sacred privilege held by anyone who lives with their partner and raided my boyfriend’s wardrobe. One blue and pink t-shirt later I felt much more interesting. I added my vintage Levi’s jacket and I was ready to go out and pretend I don’t care about people walking past while I have photos taken.
The downpour had cooled the air and I felt pretty smug about just how right I’d got my layers. But more than that I felt at home in myself. Finally, I could dress for me and not just for comfort. I could throw extra stuff on for no other reason than why the fuck not without worrying that I’d have to take it off and carry it around in my bag all afternoon to stave off heat stroke.
I know sun worshipers will lambaste me for ‘wishing summer away’ but autumn is well and truly on its way and I’m going to embrace it.
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