The tailored trousers
It's the season of the trouser, though it might seem facile to point this out. Tailored styles aren't just for the office either – whether flared, wide of leg, narrow or peg-cut, try them with a T-shirt for a modern take on the Garçonne, or with a retro blouse for a workwear remix.
£89, Reiss, www.reissonline.com
The playful party dress
Not all party dresses need to look like they came from the 'Eastenders' wardrobe department. Alber Elbaz, creative director at ultra-luxe French house Lanvin, has created a range of frilly and feminine pieces for H&M, so you can break hearts without breaking the bank.
Available from 23 November, £99, H&M, www.hm.com
The sophisticated skirt
Longer-length midi skirts and voluptuous A-line silhouettes, as seen at Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Prada, are one of the strongest looks of the season and range in their intensity from Fifties prom-queen prettiness to more demure
Seventies-inspired numbers. Try terribly current camel shades on your bottom half, rather than a ubiquitous coat, and wear with the chunkiest, geekiest and fluffiest over-the-knee socks you can find – rolled down to reveal an inch or two of leg, of course. It's the latest take on ladylike.
£45, Topshop, www.topshop.com
The versatile boot
Not only are wedge ankle boots the height of chic this season, they're also tremendously easy to walk in. And with shearling a major catwalk trend for autumn, the cuff detail on these is a subtle way to be fuzzy without going overboard; team with grey tights and a shirt dress, or with peg trousers.
£75, Urban Outfitters, www.urbanoutfitters.com
The minimalist coat
Picking a winter coat can be as difficult as buyinga house (no, really), so choose one that ticks plenty of sartorial boxes. This powder-blue cocoon from COS is brilliantly minimal without being too stark – the soft shade brightens things up a little and the geometric yoke detail adds interest.
£129, COS, www.cosstores.com
The non-traditional blouse
Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester is known for peppering formal tailoring with ingenious structural details; this blouse owes more to a biker jacket than it does to a boring old shirt. Vibrant crimsons were a big trend on the autumn catwalks, and this is the perfect way to introduce it to your wardrobe, without looking too 'scarlet woman'.
£565, Ann Demeulemeester, www.brownsfashion.com
The aviator hat
More shearling – this time to protect your lugs. Fluffy aviator jackets are all over the place, but don't be a sheep: instead, look for smatterings of the stuff across quirky accessories. This hat from Swedish label of the moment, Acne, is a bit Amelia Earhart – but all the more lovely for that.
£285, Acne, www.acnestudios.com
The staple shoes
The chatter from the shows was all about flat shoes, but nothing beats a pair of heels for special occasions. These manage to combine sophisticated understatement with a trendy, graphic shape – and they're reliably sturdy too.
£255, Elizabeth and James, www.net-a-porter.com
The quiet It-bag
There's no easier way to date your look than to cling on to your brassy, blinged-up handbags. The champion this season is the humble box bag, as pioneered by Phoebe Philo at Céline, a framed affair with a subtle clasp. Roomy they ain't, so leave the kitchen sink at home.
£70, Asos, www.asos.com
The boyfriend jumper
All hail the sloppy sweater, the lazy fashion fan's winter saviour. There's something unutterably cool about slinging on a grey knit that doesn't really fit – it invokes Parisian nonchalance and is brilliantly low maintenance.
£75, Gap, www.gap.com
The practical pencil skirt
The pencil skirt is a timeless classic, but this season's updates come in autumnal shades of khaki and tobacco. This version also helpfully comes with a bit of stretch in it too, so you won't have any trouble climbing stairs or sitting down.
£85, Whistles, whistles.co.uk