Trust Us—These Are the New-Season Buys Reaching Cult Status in 2023


And just like that, another autumn rolls around. Perhaps it was what felt like the briefest summer in history wrapping up early, or maybe it's our penchant for all things cosy-chic, but we've been anticipating the arrival of autumn/winter 2023 for what has felt an age, and now that it's finally upon us, there's a lot to get excited about.

When it comes to new-season shopping, figuring out which trends are really worth investing in is an art we've got down to a T. After all, not everything that appears on the runway is necessarily strong enough (or wearable enough) to make the cut—and if you didn't spend last year stocking up on leg warmers and novelty knits, you'll already know that to be true. But each season there are a select few buys that standout from the crowd; items so instantly impressive that editors, influencers and fashion devotees alike rush to add to their baskets, and this leads us to today's topic: autumn 2023's cult buys. 

If you hear the phrase "cult buys" and immediately think of overhyped, overpriced products that come with an extensive waiting list, consider this your introduction to the Who What Wear UK way of shopping. For us, cult buys can come from anywhere and at any price—they're simply the season's most-discussed pieces (and for very good reason), and we expect them to stick around long after you see them trending on socials. Think less trend-led items and more timeless talking points. 

After poring over the A/W 23 shows, scouring through street style photographs and tracking the new-in sections of some our favourite brands, we've put together a comprehensive list of what we're confident will be the season's most sought-after pieces. From the classic coat we rely on year after year to the accessories to watch out for, 2023’s cult buys are smart, classic purchases that you'll want to wear next autumn, too. 

So keep scrolling to see the nine pieces that our editors are confident are the most double-tap worthy buys of autumn 2023. And when you start to see them all over your social-media feeds, just remember you saw them here first. 


(Image credit: Alexander McQueen: INDIGITAL.TV; Sportmax: courtesy Sportmax; Di Petsa: Courtesy Di Petsa; Brandon Maxwell: Filippo Fior / Courtesy; Loewe: Isidore Montag /; Christopher Kane: Courtesy Christopher Kane; Stella McCartney: Gregoire Avenel; Tove: Courtesy Tove)

"The '90s aesthetic is still going strong, with tube dresses becoming something of a hero item for those who consider themselves a dress person (as I know many of you do). Part of the appeal of the bandeau dress, I believe, lies in its ability to act as a canvas; with a simple shoe switch or the addition of a bag, you can completely change the context of a strapless number. Look for tubes with next to no detailing to channel the runway mood."


(Image credit: Stella McCartney: Gregoire Avenel; Ferragamo: Alessandro Lucioni /; Bally: Courtesy Bally; Coach: Isidore Montag; Loewe: Isidore Montag /

"After a brief flirtation with the teeny-tiny top-handled bag (thank you, Jacquemus), it's fair to say that autumn 2023 is about to turn up the volume. Hoarders, rejoice—the XXL tote bag returns, and it's bigger and better than ever. In the latter half of the year, you needn't downsize to fit your essentials into a mini baguette; these roomy, structured bags are designed to fit everything (including the kitchen sink) and look pristine whilst doing it. Finally, a trend that marries both fashion and function and makes the accessory the star of the show. Pair Loewe's geometric, foldable totes with slouchy leather or Bally's gigantic styles with statement shearling to style these ludicrously capacious bags."


(Image credit: A.P.C: Courtesy A.P.C.; Vivienne Westwood: Courtesy Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood; AZ Factory: Courtesy AZ Factory; Balenciaga: Courtesy Balenciaga; Saint Laurent: Courtesy Saint Laurent; A.W.A.K.E. Mode: Gregoire Avenel; Bottega Veneta: Filippo Fior /

"Let's be honest—tailoring in September is nothing new. After months of wearing loose cotton summer dresses, when the 'back to school' mood returns, so does our desire to wear sartorial pieces that feel a little more structured. Though this trend may not be anything we've not seen before, the execution of it by Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent and Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga certainly offers a fresh take on classic '80s power dressing. Pinstripes, pencil skirts and shoulder pads so big they'd make even Grace Jones raise an eyebrow feel like an ode to the decade, but in compelling and contemporary way. The key is to vary the cuts—long blazers, cropped blazers, baggy trousers, culottes. A mix of dimensions and unexpected proportions bring the drama so you don't have to."


(Image credit: Giorgio Armani: Courtesy Giorgio Armani; Paco Rabanne: Yannis Vlamos; Ulla Johnson: Filippo Fior; Prada: Courtesy Prada; Altuzarra: Filippo Fior /; Tory Burch: Dan & Corina Lecca; Miu Miu: Courtesy Miu Miu)

"There's been a democratisation of flat shoes over the past few seasons, and autumn/winter 2023 continues the trend. Where once sandals, boots and trainers were the main flat shoes on the fashion roster, the revival in appreciation of ballet flats, Mary Janes and loafers is proof enough that flat shoes have reclaimed their place. For the new season, designers have honed in on the clear adoration of flat shoes for all times of day, and it will be all about pointed-toe flats. Sharp, elegant and noticeable even under slouchy, tailored trousers, pointed flat adds a directional silhouette to any outfit. From Miu Miu to Tory Burch, pointed flats strode down the runways in every form, from subtly minimal to boldly adorned, and even presented in metallic iterations."


(Image credit: Zimmerman: Courtesy Zimmermann; Ferragamo: Alessandro Lucioni /; Jil Sander: Alessandro Lucioni; Stella McCartney: Gregoire Avenel; Gucci: Courtesy Gucci; Tove: Courtesy Tove)

"Coats are my specialist subject, and this season, I've been thoroughly spoiled by designers who produced beautiful style after beautiful style. And whilst there are many microtrends to look out for within the coat category, there was one significant overarching theme this year: More is more. Autumn/winter 2023's cult coats aren't just more exaggerated in shape and texture, but in length too. Basically, if it isn't floor skimming, I'm not interested. Luckily, if you don't have a few thousand tucked away to invest in Ferragamo's showstopping red shearling number or one of Stella McCartney's slouchy, tailored styles, the high street is already jumping on the maxi-coat trend. Look to COS, Arket and Weekday for the best designer-looking options. You know what they say—bigger is always better."


(Image credit: Bottega Veneta: Armando Grillo; Paloma Wool: Courtesy Paloma Wool; Coperni: Courtesy Coperni; A.W.A.K.E. Mode: Gregoire Avenel; Stella McCartney: Gregoire Avenel; Diesel: Filippo Fior)

"The revival of low-rise jeans hasn't happened overnight. Slowly but surely, Y2K obsession has permeated, touching even those of us who vowed to never go back. Luckily for us, low-rise jeans have shaken off their former form of ultra-low and ultra-skinny, leaving us with a silhouette that is not only more flattering but also looks totally fresh. The baggier shape offers an effortless feel that styles well with a longline overshirt or blazer for a decidedly 2023 take on the retro style."


(Image credit: Versace: Courtesy Versace; Bottega Veneta: Armando Grillo; Zimmermann: Imaxtree; Miu Miu: Courtesy Miu Miu; Alexander McQueen: INDIGITAL.TV; Az Factory: Courtesy Az Factory; Alberta Ferretti: Justin Shin/Getty Images; Balmain: Armando Grillo)

"Most often, it's the smallest details that can make the biggest difference your style, and this season, everyone seems to be investing in a specific jewellery trend to give their ensembles a refresh. Luxury heavyweights Bottega Veneta, Ferragamo and Saint Laurent have all dabbled in jumbo stud earrings this season, sparking a mass reaction unlike anything we've ever seen in the realm of jewellery. Whether you choose teardrops or abstract shapes in gold or silver, so long as your earrings are big—I'd say about the size of a large grape and upwards—you're on the right track."


(Image credit: A.W.A.K.E. Mode: Gregoire Avenel; Alexander McQueen: INDIGITAL.TV; Ahluwalia: Courtesy Ahluwalia; Schiaparelli: Giovanni Gianonni; Loro Piana Courtesy Loro Piana; Phillip Lim: Courtesy. Phillip Lim; Blumarine: Giovanni Gianonni)

"I have been and always will be a knee-high-boot girl. Perhaps it's down to my stature, because there's something about creating a seamless line between knee boots and long skirts (no leg on show) that makes my 5'1'' frame appear that little bit taller. Either way, knee boots are back and looking chicer than ever, so this is the season I'll stock up on the styles that I know I'll wear for decades to come. From quiet luxury iterations seen at the likes of Loro Piana through to more adventurous takes, like Phillip Lim's python-effect square toe pull-ons, I don't discriminate—I'm here for different finishes (I love stretch suede, snake print, patent), heels (block, kitten, but mostly anything low) and colours (red for the win though)."


(Image credit: Gucci: Courtesy Gucci; Ferragamo: Alessandro Lucioni; Stella McCartney: Gregoire Avenel; Bevza: Courtesy Bevza; Jil Sander: Alessandro Lucioni; Proenza Schouler: Jonas Gustavsson)

"It might have been a while since you thought about taking a clutch bag out with you instead of your trusty crossbody or tote, but according to autumn/winter 2023's most covetable designer collections, all that is about to change. Clutches of all kinds were the cult bag to be seen with at so many labels. Even if bags had straps, models tightly clung onto them under their arms as they walked the runways. Some, like at Bevza, were reminiscent of the smaller, boxier clutch bags of the 2010s, but most were softer, slouchier or more sizeable—at least we're not leaving practicality behind completely. Whichever style you land on, be it simple or statement, mini or supersized, it will do the job a clutch has always done and make your autumn/winter outfits look instantly more polished."


Remy Farrell
Fashion Editor

Remy Farrell is a London-based shopping editor with nearly 10 years of editorial experience covering fashion, beauty and lifestyle. After graduating with a journalism degree and working on the editorial and fashion teams for titles such as Grazia, Elle, Cosmopolitan and British Vogue, she moved into the luxury e-commerce sector, working as fashion assistant at styling for the social media channels and helping to develop the collections for the in-house brand Iris & Ink. After expanding an assisting and styling portfolio that includes shooting talent such as Gigi Hadid, Victoria Beckham and Miquita Oliver, she also branched out into beauty, creating tried-and-tested reviews and diverse beauty content.In her role as shopping editor at Who What Wear, Remy is interested in discovering new and exciting brands to share with the Who What Wear readership and particularly loves uncovering hidden gems at affordable prices to make shopping accessible to everyone.Born and raised in Sheffield, Yorkshire, Remy moved to London in 2014 and lives in the Docklands with her partner and pug Billie.