A/W Fashion Trends by Gail Rolfe

During my time as fashion editor of the Daily Mail, lifestyle editor of Tatler and now as fashion Insider for Platinum magazine, (a total of exactly forty years), there are two questions that I have been asked more than any other: what are the current trends and what should I be wearing.

Age was no discriminator of the asker. They could have been in their twenties, their seventies, and any age in between, but each wished to know the simple answer: what was going to be au courant that season. And for many decades the answers were clear cut: the mini; Boho flower power; flares and glam rock; power dressing; grunge; athleisure; skinny jeans and pretty blouses and more recently the rise and rise of the floral dress. 

But over the last decade an egalitarian approach seems to have infiltrated the world of fashion and while there are still distinct trends, they are no longer definitive diktats from on high, thought of as the finite way to dress by all.

There is nothing like a new season to inspire us to reflect on what we own, what we might need, and even what we may want.  It’s a time for fresh beginnings and even a new style of dressing. I try to  work on a “one-in-one-out” basis, and this photo shoot has proved to me that some things no longer deserve a place in my wardrobe.  Autumn is the perfect opportunity to refresh, rethink and maybe to step out of our comfort zone and be a little bolder. So, I have selected some of the most dominant trends, looks, and possibilities and hope that they provide inspiration and joy. 

Kaleidoscope Colour

Of course, beautiful bold colours are hardly a ground-breaking trend, but unsurprisingly they have fallen under the fashion spotlight this season. After the last 18 months or more, what we all long for is mood-boosting, life-enhancing clothes. And if a splash of colour can add that feel-good factor, it’s a positive investment. No single colour trumps all others, so the choice is yours. Play it safe and stick to tonal shades of one colour or be bold and mix wild clashing colours like scarlet and shocking pink, a combination much loved by YSL, emerald green and navy, baby pink and khaki, or shades of purple and yellow. Unless you wish to resemble a throwback to the 80’s, do not add black. This is all about colour.  



Sky blue coat, £199 - by Massimo Dutti  

T-shirt, £12.95 - by Gap

Jeans, £250 - by Citizens of Humanity / Fenwick

Orange belt - by Tods, Gail’s own

Long gold necklace - Gail’s own

Gold necklace, £45 - by Agape / Cleverly Wrapped

Gold choker, £42 - by Agape / Cleverly Wrapped

Shoes - by Chanel, Gail’s own



Plum flannel shirt, £155 -

by Diega from Hêtre

Plum flannel trousers, £155 -

by Diega from Hêtre 

Yellow cashmere scarf, £305 -

by Jane Carr from Hêtre

Yellow satin jeweled shoes, £170 -

by Bibi Lou from Hêtre

Sweater Dress


It has always puzzled me that we slip into summer dresses so easily, but we tend to ignore the cosy winter version, a sweater dress. Yet, it is equally as easy to wear, requiring only boots and a coat to complete the outfit. This turtleneck midi-length style by Des Petits Hauts is comfortable enough for days at home, is perfect for Christmas, and can look seriously smart with the addition of a gold necklace and heels. Layer it with a cardigan for travel, ease a tailored coat over the top for dinner, and cosy up in a puffer coat for countryside walks. P.S. it has an elasticated waist. If plum is not your chosen shade, seek out styles in vibrant emerald green, cobalt blue, camel through to subdued but classic steel grey.

Plum sweater dress

£209, by Des Petits Hauts from Cleverly Wrapped

Gold cross necklace

£45, by Agape from Cleverly Wrapped

Gold choker

£42, by Agape from Cleverly Wrapped

Ivory chunky boots

£190 by Philip Hogg from Cleverly Wrapped

Unexpected Hero: The Fine Polo Neck


This season, designers across the board have championed lightweight polo neck knits.  Understated, wearable, practical and versatile they effortlessly take their rightful place in your wardrobe. Wear them underneath a dress as an extra layer; shrug a silk blouse or cotton shirt over the top; or wear them under a chunky sweater or cardigan that you can discard once you are back indoors. They come in so many colours and at various price points. The best I have found are in Merino wool from Benetton in 26 colours at £45.95; Jigsaw do a silk/cotton version for £99, in four colours, but it feels sublime; and Baukjen have an eco-friendly version in four colours at £55. But you can find them almost anywhere on the High Street. 

Navy fine polo neck

£45, by Cos

Tweed blazer

£189, by Massimo Dutti

Navy baby cord flared trousers

£65, by La Petite Etoile from Alresford Linen

Sunglasses, trainers and necklace

All Gail’s own

Nordic, Fair Isle, and Artisan Sweaters


Cross a Fair Isle sweater, with a Nordic version and add some artisanal finishes and this is what fashion gurus have described as “the” statement knit to invest in this winter.

Do not think of Colin Firth and Renee Zellwegger in their comical Christmas sweaters in the film Bridget Jones Diary.

Instead dream of swish ski chalets and log fires, bold colours and traditional patterns.

Perfect when teamed with jeans or this season’s much-loved stretch baby cord trousers. 

Fair Isle cashmere sweater

£295, by Jumper1234

from Alresford Linen

Navy baby cord flared trousers

£65, by La Petite Etoile

from Alresford Linen 

Faux fur scarf

by Maxmara

Sunglasses and trainers Gail’s own

Tailored Denim


After what seems like a lifetime, skinny jeans may have officially lost their stranglehold on your wardrobe. Of course, they will never really vanish, but it is time for another shape to step into the limelight. The modern take on denim is straight or wide-legged, cut to reflect a traditionally tailored smart pair of trousers. These wide-leg jean trousers are the wardrobe essential you never knew you needed. They are leg-lengthening, add elegance and yet are just as practical. Just be sure to opt for a pair that fit perfectly at the waist. And there is no doubt that dark indigo blue is the perfect chic winter shade.

Dark indigo wide leg jeans

£95 in sustainable cotton by Jigsaw

Dark indigo denim shirt

£69, by Mint Velvet

Tweed blazer £189, by Massimo Dutti

Yellow cashmere scarf

£88, by Cleverly Wrapped

Fedora hat £59, by Hicks & Brown

Boots, Gail’s own

Puffer Coat


By now the puffer jacket is neither new nor revolutionary, but it does count as a winter essential. Cast your mind back ten years or more and wonder how we ever survived without this glorious “keep-you-warm” outer layer. This winter there are more puffer coats than jackets, ensuring almost total cosiness. It may take the eye a while to adapt to the voluminous proportions, but once done, you will wonder how you survived without the midi or even maxi version. P.S. khaki or olive green are the most sought-after shades.

Puffer coat

£209, by Coster Copenhagen from Cleverly Wrapped

Fine polo neck

£99 by Jigsaw

Leather leggings

by Vince, Gail’s own, but Jigsaw, Cos, Arket, Whistles and many other High Street brands have similar versions this season

Chunky boots

£179, by The White Company

Gold necklace Gail’s own

Chunky Boots

Bold, brave and definitely not feminine, these elevated, chunky soled boots may not be to everyone’s taste, but they are undoubtedly one of this season’s most definitive designs. I certainly was disdainful about their appeal to begin with. But then a friend bought a pair, wore them with classic cropped trousers and looked amazing. There is no doubt they add a fashion-forward edge to what could be a very ordinary everyday look. Plus, they are sturdy, comfortable and practical.  In a possibly controversial way they perfectly complement everything from cropped jeans to a sweater dress.

- Gail x


Hetre 39 West St, Alresford SO24 9AB

Cleverly Wrapped, Oaklands High Street Stockbridge

Alresford Linen, 7-9 Broad St, Alresford SO24 9AR

All products shown here are available in-store and online.

Upcoming Event Information:


Film Club - Woman at War 

available on Amazon Prime 

Day: Friday 22nd October

Time: 4pm



Meeting ID (if needed): 827 4113 6763

Password (if needed): LOOKFAB


Teatime with Tricia - Dyna Vink, Post-Menopausal Women's Health

Dyna is a certified health and nutrition coach who refused to give in after her doctor, dietician and trainer gave ineffective advice on how to navigate perimenopause. After studying the women’s aging research, she figured things out and now helps ladies through their symptoms of menopause and beyond using a lifestyle approach so they can restore their vitality.

Day: Tuesday 26th October

Time: 4pm

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81546399738?pwd=VFFnZ0hsTkV2TnBkUEwzSDRwU2EvZz09 

Meeting ID (if needed): 815 4639 9738

Password (if needed): LOOKFAB