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How to dress for changeable autumn weather

There's finally a nip in the air in the mornings and evenings, and it can be chilly in the shade, but boiling hot in direct sunlight – help! We asked Suzi Grant of Alternative Ageing to share her top tips on how to dress to impress no matter what the weather throws at us.

Suzi's top to toe tips

Dog walks and going to the gym are easy when it comes to early autumn. A padded gilet or a waterproof parka, plus a beanie hat, are my staples and keep me warm and dry no matter what.

"But when it comes to looking as if I've made an effort, here are my top tips on how to look smart and stylish whilst staying warm and dry. Just because the weather's gone from summer to autumn, and back again, it doesn't mean we have to get straight into black and grey. We can still wear colour, and look vibrant whilst coping with four seasons in one day!


Hats and headscarves

Suzi Grant cardi

I often use a big piece of vintage material, or a cotton scarf, wrapped round my head like a headscarf. As I live on the Coast, it's useful for keeping my hair from whipping my face when it's windy and keeps my ears warm. I tie my hair in a pony tail, add a pair of stylish sunglasses, if it's bright, and am ready for the elements, without looking as if I've been pulled through a hedge backwards!

Hats and berets can also look fabulous and will keep your hair under control as well as protecting your ears on a windy or wet day. They can also finish off an outfit with a pop of colour. I love looking round Brighton at what the older ladies are wearing. Just because we're over 50 doesn't mean we can't wear a jaunty bright red beret! Have a look at online shops like this one for some ideas and bargains.


Gransnet recommends... 

Navy Floppy Hat  

Laugh in the face of autumn chill in this smart hat.


Buy: £7, Oliver Bonas




Pashminas and scarves

A scarf can also double up as something to wrap round your neck if it gets chilly, so it's always worth taking a light one with you even if you don't want to wear it on your head. If I'm not wearing a head scarf I usually pack or wear my favorite pashmina - at any time of the year - in case the restaurant, cinema or train has the air con on full blast. There are so many different ways of wearing them: round your head, round your neck, draped over one shoulder or both, it's like having your own comfort blanket with you all the time!


Gransnet recommends... 

green scarf
Bow Print Scarf Hurdy Gurdy Wool Scarf

This floaty scarf will certainly stand out on a grey morning.

We love the punchy vintage ikat pattern on this wool pashmina.

Buy: £9, JD Williams

Buy: £49, notonthehighstreet.com



Versatile dresses

You don't have to get straight into jeans the minute September arrives. I still wear my thicker summer dresses well into October by wearing a thin vest or cami underneath and leggings, the best invention ever! You can roll them up so they're invisible to keep your tanned legs on show before winter kicks in, or you can show them off under a dress they compliment. I often pop a pair of leggings in my bag and put them on in the afternoon when the temperature drops. Or visa versa! Next has a good collection


Gransnet recommends... 

Studio 8 Marina Dress  

If the deep aubergine doesn't brighten up an autumn day, we don't know what will.


Buy: £65, House of Fraser



The perfect autumn jacket

Suzi Grant leather jacket

I love my biker jacket. It's warm, wind-proof and goes with most of my dresses. I found this one in Zara years ago and it's still one of my favourites. They're not everyone's cup of tea, but there are classic shapes out there too and they have really come down in price. They look great with jeans or trousers too and the grandchildren will think you're really cool!


Gransnet recommends... 

Leather-look Biker Jacket  

A great wardrobe staple - at an affordable price.


Buy: £7, New Look




Cashmere cardies

Suzi Grant cardi

I am also a huge fan of little cashmere cardigans. They can be picked up so reasonably through sites like Boden and can really smarten up a skirt or a pair of trousers as well as keeping you snug as a bug. And if you find yourself getting warm in the sun, it's easier than a leather jacket to take off and tie around your waist.


Gransnet recommends... 

Cashmere Crew Cardigan  

Soft, bright and a smart staple for an autumn wardrobe. 


Buy: £55, Boden




Leather gloves

And for later in autumn, a thin pair of gorgeous leather gloves in a fantastic bright colour such as orange or pink, can really make an outfit zing as well as keeping your hands warm. Have a look for them online or at markets, especially vintage stalls. You can often pick them up for a song and they take up no space at all.


Gransnet recommends... 

Red gloves
Dents Quilted Back Leather Gloves Grey Suede and Leather Mix Gloves

A nice way to brighten up autumn days? We think so.

A pair of pretty, neutral gloves that will go with almost everything.

Buy: £42, House of Fraser

Buy: £28, Oliver Bonas



Boots and brogues

Suzi Grant brogues

Finally, it may not be sandal weather most days but I am happy to get my ankle boots out at this time of the year. You can wear little, thin socks with them and no one will know, or you can let a little lace peep over the top to add a bit of style. Brogues are also still very popular and are on sale everywhere. I like them because they're comfortable, stylish and keep your feet warm and dry. Invisible socks probably look best with these.


Gransnet recommends... 

Hamble Oak Brogues Chelsea Ankle Boots

We love the snake effect  and unusual colour of these aubergine brogues. 

The insoles of these are designed to make walking more comfortable.

Buy: £60, Clarks

Buy: £79, Marks and Spencer


I hope my head to toe tips have helped a bit. All that remains for me to say is...don't forget your umbrella or a pac-a-mac and have a great, colourful and stylish late summer/early autumn. Let me know what you do to cope with our four seasons in one day. I'd love to hear from you.

Suzi Grant is a broadcaster, author and blogger for the over 50s, specialising in health and nutrition, fashion and lifestyle. Find out more about Suzi on her website.










Images: Shutterstock