With the arrival of October, I’ve fully transitioned into my autumn wardrobe —a process wherein I physically pack away my breezy going-out tops and strappy sandals in exchange for my best ingredients of autumnal layering, including crisp button downs and light jackets. As I folded each item of clothing, I considered the logic behind my fashion choices for the season.
Unlike the extended-holiday of summer, autumn is a season of change for university students. The new school year is in full swing, absorbing the majority of our time as we apply ourselves academically and socially within the boundaries of this environment. We’ve flung ourselves out of our comfort zone with spectacular commitment to personal growth, acknowledging that every day will be a blend of new experiences, offering lessons perfectly-tailored to each of us as individuals.
The core of autumn fashion has evolved to suit the specific needs of a people enduring change —we’ve been conditioned to curate back-to-school wardrobes since we were little kids seeking to make good impressions in new classrooms and fit in with a shifting social environment. The prospect of using clothing in this capacity remains a current notion for university students beginning yet another year of their academic careers.
“[A]n autumn wardrobe arrives at a pivotal point of change in circumstance every year… a new apartment, new friends, and new classes.”
Fundamentally more comfortable and versatile than any other season, an autumn wardrobe arrives at a pivotal point of change in circumstance every year. While the new year is primarily lauded as the season of resolutions and fresh starts, I’ve personally observed that I endure more external changes to my life in September, when the framework of my day-to-day circumstances shifts through the acquirement of a new apartment, new friends, and new classes.
Autumn is a transitional season, based on a combination of unpredictable weather and circumstances that make getting dressed a little more awkward than usual. As university students, we’re constantly shooting for a higher plane of adaptability that manifests in a collective lean towards essentialism —constructing our seasonal wardrobe from only the most indispensable items.
Furthermore, this autumn has been punctuated by the global movement for climate action, leading people to reconsider their relationship with material goods —strengthening the pull of essentialism as we reflect on our role as consumers of commercial trends. The climate protests —lingering images of protestors and Greta Thunberg —have dissuaded me from purchasing an impractical piece of fast-fashion in the name of a seasonally relevant wardrobe.
“I’m limiting my appetite for fashion this season, as current [climate-related] events join the usual back-to-school upset to make me more mindful of my consumer impact.”
For me, autumn fashion is a pared-down collection of hand-me-downs, vintage finds, and well-loved pieces from previous years —items proven to provide reliable comfort and security. I’m slowing down my appetite for fashion this season, as current events join the usual back-to-school upset to make me more mindful of my consumer impact.
Currently on exchange in Paris, I spent this morning perusing the racks of a vintage market in the third arrondissement for a very particular navy blazer invented by my imagination a few weeks ago. I walked away when I didn’t find exactly what I wanted because the preoccupations of this season have made me content with wearing something I already own.
My approach to autumn fashion is entirely a reaction to the change of seasons and life circumstances. As I worked my way through my own wardrobe, it was glaringly noticeable how it’s structured to fill certain requirements —soft knits and sturdy denims offer a protective armour for withstanding the banal challenges of the everyday, a never-ending warm hug for surviving hours of class, and the metaphorical exhale that comes from the first sip of a flat white on a rainy morning.
When the weather becomes cooler and classes are back in session, straight-legged jeans, a navy cashmere pullover, and an over-sized rain coat provide the functionality I desire from my clothes. I want to be comfortable, prepared, and organized —to be able to go directly from sitting through an early morning lecture to wandering an open-air market to publicly advocating for action on climate change.
Header Image Source: Claudia Rupnik