8 Elevated Buys That Are Guaranteed to Make Your Autumn Outfits Look Polished

If there's one thing I love most about fashion, it's putting together seasonal wardrobe edits. As soon as the weather starts to change, I begin a closet clear-out that involves the timely process of shifting the last few months' clothes into storage and taking stock of what can come with me into the new season, and if this has taught me anything, it's the value of long-wearing investment purchases. 

In all honesty, the term "wardrobe staple" gets bandied around so much that it's almost become retailer speak for "buy this, now," but in truth, a wardrobe staple should be a timeless piece so good you'll wear it (and it will last) for years to come, and finding the right item can elevate almost everything else you already own (and I promise you, it doesn't have to cost the earth). 

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(Image credit: @monikh)

The key is identifying which items are worth investing in; the kind of forever classics that will seamlessly weave into the rest of your wardrobe and make your high-street basics look elevated. Think of the coat that makes a T-shirt and jeans feel fresh, or the leather boots that manage to make even a simple dress look designer. And as a shopping editor, I don't want you to part with your hard-earned cash without being sure that you've found something you'll truly love, so I've put a lot of thought into assembling a list of key buys that you'll get plenty wear out of this season and next. 

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(Image credit: @cassklatzkow)

This edit comprises a capsule wardrobe of everything you'll need for the chilly weather ahead (whilst still managing to look effortlessly chic), and even if you've already ticked some of these items off the list, there are some easy additions to go with what you already own. If you're finding dressing for the fluctuating temperatures difficult, there's also a little bit of styling inspo in the mix, courtesy of some of our favourite influencers who always nail seasonal dressing. 

Keep scrolling to see and shop the eight classic autumn/winter fashion trends that are truly worth investing in.

1. THE LONG WOOL COAT 

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(Image credit: @brittanybathgate)

Style Notes: Save for the Totême jacket we've all been obsessing over in the Who What Wear UK office, it's a general rule of thumb that the longer the coat, the more elegant the silhouette. A case in point: the long wool coat. An ageless, tailored coat is one of the few things you can wear as easily with a suit as with jeans and trainers. 

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2. THE CASHMERE KNIT 

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(Image credit: @alexisforeman)

Style Notes: The cashmere knit needs no explanation. Sure, it always looks good no matter the shape or style, but the real value comes from how it feels. Is there anything better than the feeling of slipping into a cloud-soft knit to beat the winter blues? This year, topping my list are oversized jumpers and smart cardigans—the perfect pairing for all of my jeans and loafers. 

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3. THE LEATHER SEPARATES 

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(Image credit: @sylviemus_)

Style Notes: As soon as Pumpkin Spiced Lattes hit the Starbucks menu, you know it's time for leather. Biker jackets manage to be a year-round favourite for some, but for me, the real fun starts when you wear leather trousers for the first time in the year. Don't get me wrong; enjoying leather trousers and skirts is entirely reliant on finding a great fit, but once you do, you'll wonder what you wore before. Thankfully for us, vegan-leather options continue to get better and better, so there's no need to empty your bank account to get the look. 

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4. THE KNITTED DRESS

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(Image credit: @ali_tate_cutler)

Style Notes: I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Knitted dresses are the best thing to wear in transitional weather. They give just the right amount of coverage and warmth without making you overheat, and on balmier days, there's no need to wear a jacket. I call that a win-win. Did I also mention that it's one of the few knits you can easily dress up? Whilst a fluffy alpaca jumper might not be the easiest piece to wear to dinner, a knitted dress won't let you down. Just add knee-high boots and a long wool coat, and you're ready for whatever the night may bring.

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5. THE WIDE-LEG TROUSERS 

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(Image credit: @annabelrosendahl)

Style Notes: Tailoring always manages to make the cut, and when it gets a little cold for even the very best blazer, sharp trousers will still be on heavy rotation. The buzziest fit is wide-legged and long, which we're happily calling "puddle pants"; a flattering, leg-lengthening cut that pools at the ankles and will work with even your highest heels. 

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6. THE CHIC FLAT SHOES 

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(Image credit: @cocobassey)

Style Notes: Ballet pumps, loafers, trainers and mules—whatever your style, comfort is king this season. Whilst I love a good pair of boots for dressing up, when I'm in need of reliable shoes that will last all day, I always reach for versatile flats first. It's the only shoe style that will go with a mini, maxi, jeans and wide-leg trousers, and when high-heel trends come and go (goodbye, killer platforms), understated flats are a consistent mainstay. 

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7. THE WRAPAROUND SCARF 

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(Image credit: @_jessicaskye)

Style Notes: Yes, it's nearly time to break out the scarf, and even if you're not wearing your big coat quite yet, all you need is an XL scarf to wrap around your jacket or trench to stave off the cold. The bigger, the better (and all of the best styling references imply that it should be worn elegantly draped like a pashmina), and I just wholeheartedly back any item that can double as an on-the-go blanket. 

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8. THE CROSSBODY BAG 

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(Image credit: @chiarasatelier)

Style Notes: It's no surprise that the best-selling bags right now all have one thing in common: they're all crossbody. From the sold-out COS bag to the designer It bags that we predict will hold their value, the crossbody has proven itself to be small but mighty, and there's no easier way to carry all of your essentials in style. 

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This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

Up Next, 10 Timeless Items French Women Have in Their Autumn Wardrobes

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 TheOutnet.com 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.