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10 Autumn trends you need on your radar

It's Autumn! That means pumpkin lattes, cosy log fires, and wails of '****! I've got nothing to wear!' across the nation. Step forward Jo Gaffney and Sophia Carter, House of Colour stylists, with all you need to vanquish your wardrobe woes.

It’s that time of year we put away the slides and cosies and hold our breath with dread as we survey what on earth we have to wear. Hastily bought ‘liquid’ leggings mocking you from the bottom drawer? Can’t face wearing that baggy black jumper for the 999th time? It’s a perennial problem.

Living through lockdowns last year hardly gave us much chance to go out, nevermind get dressed up! So if you’re anything like us you’ll be needing some wardrobe TLC.

We chatted to Jo Gaffney and Sophia Carter – House of Colour image consultants and personal stylists for Worcs and Glos respectively – for their expert trade secrets on how to shop savvy and level up your look this season.

Hello, Jo and Sophia, tell us a bit about yourselves?

S: Before I joined House of Colour I was caught in a cycle of overbuying. Each payday would be the same, treating myself to new clothes that made me feel good for two minutes then I’d never wear them again. In 2014 I got engaged and it was my turning point. My mum bought me a colour analysis and style session as a present and it changed my entire mindset. Fast forward 7 years and I am now a 37-year-old mum of two. My wardrobe has adapted through pregnancy, being a new mum, and returning to work. House of Colour has been a huge positive in my life so it made sense to turn it into my career.

Sophia Carter

J: I’ve always loved clothes from a very early age but as the oldest of 3 sisters my clothes were new, but few! I dabbled in Art College then trained to be an Occupational Therapist, spending 20 years in the NHS, then moving into management. But as my children grew up I wanted a new challenge. I missed the client facing work I’d done as a therapist, clothes and shopping had consistently remained a joy, so it really is my dream job.

Jo Gaffney

Why should we use a consultant? And is anyone ever beyond help? (*looks at floor-drobe*)

J: Nobody is beyond help! If you are 100% happy with your look and your floordrobe then you maybe don’t need us. But I’ve yet to meet that person! I talk to my clients about their lifestyle, learn about their personality and assess their body shape before I advise on how to bring all of that together.

House of Colour has the most thorough styling system in the world. If we tell you stuff you already know then fabulous, you were getting it right some of the time but I guarantee you will learn new things about yourself. You decide how much follow-up support you need. We have member-only Facebook groups and provide regular updates on the colours and styles hitting the shops so you always know where to find what works for you.

What are the big no-nos we often make with our wardrobes?

J: Being influenced to buy something that just won’t work. We buy things because they looked good on the model, celebrity or hanger. We need to understand our own shape. The other is buying something because it is a bargain. I have delved into many a wardrobe with multiple items with labels still on. I like to add up the value of items with price tags. You will find that you could have bought one or two perfect items instead.

S: Often we find a style we like and we buy the same item in several colours. This leads to you feeling as though you have the same look each time you go out. It can leave you feeling stuck in a style rut and bored.

Jo and Sophia’s colour consultations

Share your golden rules for styling with us?

J: Try it on before you commit, if you instantly love it and feel fabulous, then it is right for you. Good styling is having a wardrobe where everything goes with everything else so you can mix and match, adding your own accessories.

S: Big coats are a popular purchase at this time of year. If you buy something in a lighter colour ensure you buy something of quality. If you have a smaller budget consider buying an item in a darker shade so it doesn’t show up areas that cheapen the item, such as stitching.

Also, consider cost per wear. If it’s a cashmere jumper which you’ll wear many times during the cooler seasons but it costs you £100 it’s worth the investment. If you are buying a dress for one event that costs £300 but you may never wear again, is it really worth it? Items should earn their place in your wardrobe and your home.

Who are your personal style sirens?

J: This is so cliché, but I’ve always loved Marilyn Monroe. I think she was beautiful. As a stylist my own style is closely associated with that romantic aesthetic, the Hollywood starlet!

S: Lauren Conrad – the American influencer and designer. I really relate to her as she is a busy mum of two small children but loves what she does. Also, I love following Kate Middleton, she’s always so stylish.

Jo and Sophia’s 10 Autumn trends you’ll want on your radar

1. The floral dress or skirt is sticking around for autumn and winter but before you buy look at what you already have in your wardrobe. This is the first place to shop. Can you take summer’s maxi dress and add a knit or a denim jacket and boots.

Chunky boots transform a floaty dress

2. Chunky cable knits are everywhere this season but these can add bulk where you don’t want it especially if you are curvy or petite. If they don’t work on you find a fine knit alternative.

3. Lockdown saw joggers and hoodies becoming the norm but this doesn’t work for all of us. There are oodles of ‘elevated leisurewear’ alternatives around right now. Look for velvet, flock or perhaps leopard print and check out how they look with heels and a leather jacket rather than your hoodie and trainers.

4. Neutrals are big but know which are your best neutrals. Some will work, others won’t. For example, wearing warm beige if you have a cool skin tone can almost turn you invisible. If you don’t know your best colours, book a colour analysis to help you find out.

5. Heeled loafers are a great trend just now taking comfort and functionality to a higher level. Before you invest in new footwear ensure it will go with the outfits you already have in your wardrobe. Buy less and wear more!

6. If you find the choice online overwhelming, seek out smaller indie brands instead. If you can buy something that has also supported a small business or designer it’s a win/win. We like and for finding inspiring new designers.

7. Trends last around three to seven years so make sure you get your money’s worth. Don’t confuse a trend with a fad. Fads stick around for one season then they will date you quickly if you continue to wear them or they end up in landfill. Invest a medium amount of your budget in trends and ensure you will wear them at least 30 times. Spend more money on timeless items.

Invest in pieces like this cashmere jumper from Lavender Blue (£195)

8. Satin dresses are big this season. These can be versatile but make sure you maximise its potential before you invest. If worn without styling they could look like a nightdress. Add a knit and chunky boots for a bang-on autumn look. Leather blazers are a big statement too this season, team them up with a pair of knee high boots or heeled loafers.

9. Be careful who you shop with! Does your friend tell you everything looks good on you? Does your partner just want you to buy ‘anything’ so they can get home? Consider a personal shopper service, many stores have them, or try our one which independent, where we show you how to spot what will work for you; and if you really hate shopping we can even do it for you.

10. Accessories are big for autumn. Think of digging out your beautiful scarves and gloves as well as hats. It’s time to have fun with these and they can really change the overall look of an outfit. If you have a limited budget, old accessories are a great way to create new looks on a minimal budget.

Want to have your own colour analysis, or wardrobe makeover? Contact Jo Gaffney via Facebook or on 07835 770397. Contact Sophia Carter on Facebook or on 07731688232. See more at

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