Get ready for the big chill with a more grown-up, sophisticated  take on the pinafore dress

Pinafore is not a word usually associated with a contemporary wardrobe, It’s part of a category of clothing which also includes Peter Pan collars and Mary Jane shoes, that most teenagers run fast from as soon as they discover Topshop. But trends have a no-holds barred approach to references, and pinnies are chief among them for autumn.

If it helps, drop the pinafore label altogether and think of it more as a layered dress. At Prada they came in almost every conceivable form; stiff shirts under tweed dresses and embellished pastel over lurex sweaters. At Alexander Wang they were much harder, in leather with metal hardware detailing and all in black.  

While there are a few nifty ready-made versions available on the high street, there are plenty of options for a DIY approach too. Dress versions of dungarees are an easy way to make the slightly questionable Nineties trend, wearable. Don’t restrict yourself to “pure” pinnies; any sleeveless dress can be layered and it’s actually a clever way to re-wear more summer appropriate clothing. 

Suede dresses work particularly well with the Seventies mood dominating the season, or for a sleeker approach a workwear look can be achieved with a shirt. Keep in mind when purchasing the intention to layer-up will mean investing in a slightly bigger size than normal.  

The pinafore dress makes the most of another big trend for autumn; the polo neck. Where once it was accepted that the humble knitted piece had lost its lustre – blame Coronation Street’s Gail Platt for that, it’s having a major revival this season and makes the perfect pairing to a pinny. Opt for jumpers in contrasting colours for a standout look or tonal shades for something a bit softer, as seen at Topshop Unique’s autumn show.