Nail autumn dressing with these cosy-smart looks from the high street and indie boutiques.

October is a funny in-between month at the best of times. The wardrobe-perplexing weather combo of warm AND rainy always makes getting dressed in the morning tricky: should you wear tights? Jumpers? T-shirts? A coat? No matter what you plump for, it seems likely that at some point on most days you’ll end up either boiled or shivering.

Yet this year – true to 2020’s overarching style – has bought its own extra layer of sartorial confusion, since we now have to shop and dress for all global pandemic scenarios, to encompass: #wfh, back in the office, Zoom calls, in-person meetings. To cater for all eventualities, a new look of cosy-smart has emerged in the AW20 collections from many brands. Here, we’ve picked our favourite pieces that will elevate you out of loungewear, yet keep you snug and stylish this highly variable season.


Before you dig out your winter coat, there is a brief window of opportunity to buy into this year’s biggest outerwear trend: the shacket. For those unfamiliar with the concept, we’re talking a jacket, with a collar and button-through front (a shirt/jacket hybrid if you will). We love the proliferation of beautiful tobacco browns and racing greens at H&M in cosy wool blends right now.


You may not be dolling up much this autumn, but don’t rule out adding a few dresses to your wardrobe just yet. Frocks are brilliant for the unpredictability of the season. They are perfectly placed to adapt to the few bare-legged days left, and for all the other days, just add tights and boots, as well as woollens to layer over for a cold snap. They can be dressed up for meetings, or down with trainers and a cardigan when you’re off-duty or working from home. Yet they still give you that satisfaction of making an effort when you’re craving something without an elasticated waistband.

Marie & Lola

If you’re looking for the ultimate cosy buy, look no further than French fashion boutique Marie & Lola. It stocks a glorious edit of knits from a range of chic French brands, from maxi cardis that are a significant sartorial step-up from your dressing gown yet with all the attendant comfort, right through to lightweight knits in pretty pastels that are perfect for pairing with skirts, jeans or layering over summer dresses to extend their wear into autumn.


COS’ range of knitted merino wool dresses are a perennial favourite amongst our gang of freelancer editors. Seasoned work from homers, we are well-versed in their cosy yet chic simplicity. Pair with a statement necklace for a Zoom call for maximum impact with minimum effort. This season COS has added a beautiful winter white version; perfect with tan leather accessories for a luxe autumn look if you are venturing out this month.


If you are braving the elements this October, M&S has a beautiful edit of new-season jackets and coats to keep you toasty warm. There are plenty of quilted puffa jackets for when you’d rather be under your duvet on a dark morning; a classic aviator jacket reimagined in a beautiful oxblood red; as well as a super soft faux-fur jacket in moss green that is as cossetting as it is flattering.


Zara has nailed this season’s trend of the statement knit cardi. Think jacquard weave cropped styles (great with high-waisted jeans) as well as vintage-inspired, ditsy florals to print clash with dresses and pair with chunky sole boots for a modern twist. Whether you’re looking for a floor-grazing maxi ‘coatigan’, or a cute knitted vest to layer over shirts to keep your core cosy, there’s plenty of styles to fit the bill, and the budget, this season.

The White Company

If you are planning on going heavy on the loungewear this winter (no judgement here), then why not treat yourself and upgrade some of your everyday pieces at The White Company – there are cashmere knits, super-soft, tactile baby cord separates and breathable cotton tees – all in their signature calming neutrals. And if you’re not planning on getting out of your PJs, they’ve got some pretty smart sets there, too.

By Lydia Mansi
October 2020


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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.