By Gretta Monahan
We’ve all got those friends who love summer so much they can’t let it go. They cling to it until late October. (And honestly, with the warm weather this fall in New England, I can’t entirely blame them.)
But I love the onset of autumn. For the sweaters, for changeover of open-toed sandals to wedge booties and fun over-the-knee socks. And most definitely for the opportunity to wear some extremely cute, new chilly weather outerwear.
There’s some really good stuff going on this fall, too. Silhouette-defining stuff. Eurosleek-meets-classic Americana, curve-enhancing stuff. Slouchy, unapologetically preppie stuff. Waterproof and body-warming but still-goes-with-anything stuff.
And the thing I love about all of it? The hoods.
Let’s start with the raincoats that go from fitted and sleek to throw-it-over-anything easy. The Anya Waterproof Mac by Boden ($190 at bodenusa.com) is softly quilted inside, and has several interior pockets for when things get seriously wet. (No more worrying about keeping my cellphone dry — it fits perfectly in both inside pockets.) The tapered waist gives it an elegant feel that I can wear over almost anything — even when it’s in a pattern like the French navy and check. I like to wear it with a deep blue cotton scarf over a dress or suit, and it works perfectly with the patterned hood.
On foggy days when I’m headed to the gym or a friend’s house, the even more casual Elemental Rain Jacket ($248 at athleta.gap.com) is a godsend. I can bring in the frame to make it body-skimming around the waist, or loosen all the ties if I want to wear a chunky knit turtleneck underneath. My fave is the two-toned version: The pebble gray/white version goes with almost anything casual (from jeans to workout pants) that I’m wearing. And the hood is also an adjustable cinch design, so if I don’t need it, I don’t even have to know it’s back there.
When the rain stops but I still want an elegant-but-casual coat for stepping out, I’ll be reaching for my L.L. Bean duffel coat (on sale now for $209-$249 at llbean.com). In a deep navy blue, the luxe Italian lambswool coat is softer than soft, and Thinsulated for extra warmth on late-fall evenings. The fitted shape gives a node to the nautical world, but the hood and toggle closures cleverly bring in boys’ old school prep-designs-gone-feminine. It couldn’t be more complementary to more outfits you’re dying to wear.
And even easier than all that: Ponchos are still riding high after their big moments over the last two falls. One of the most irresistible right now is Burberry’s Check Wool Cashmere Hooded Poncho ($365 at burberry.com). Its new spin on the classic throw-over-your-shoulder design is a front-facing zipper and a hood that makes it far more practical to toss on and wear everywhere than Burberry’s previous designs. It’s loose enough to wear over any knit sweater, and looks as flat-out great with jeans or black leggings as with a fitted black skirt or over a bright red shift dress.