For those of us who haven't yet packed up our tanks and shorts, it is time to admit there won't be another heat wave. The leaves are piling up, the wind is growing stronger, and soon there will be frost on the ground.
It is officially "sweater weather" so we're going to have to stop denying the comfort of layers. We're going need them to survive the prairie winter which lies ahead—on a physical and mental level.
It's been a strange year, and there isn't much guarantee things will get back to "normal" anytime soon. But there is one universal guarantee we can truly rely on—wearing beautiful clothing will always make us feel better, even if it's for a moment. Here's how we're preparing for the season:
Great Fitting Denim
Denim is a year-round favourite but this beloved Alberta style staple truly shines in the fall and winter.
"No matter your style preference, it's all doable when it comes to denim," says Ayaz Raja, creative director at Wandwconcrete.
This is especially true now that the denim trends highlighted on the autumn 2020 runways of London, Florence, Milan, and Paris' are finally making their way into stores.
"It's such a versatile fabric. Whether someone prefers raw worked-in denim or wide-legged denim trousers or grungy tears at the knees, they can find the fit and wash that's going to make them feel amazing," he explains further. "A great fitting denim piece is a total confidence-booster."
Even though A-list celebrities like Timothée Chalamet, Michael B. Jordan, and Chadwick Boseman (RIP) have sported their own versions of strapped-up suiting on the red carpet, it's been slow to catch on.
"It's an overlooked and somewhat controversial fashion trend," says Ayaz. "I really love it personally. Whenever I wear my suit with strap detailing, somebody always says something about it—they'll comment on how unique or different it is."
"For me, wearing a statement piece like this is a way to shift my mindset. Rocking something unexpected, that isn't so traditional or isn't being worn by a lot of people, instantly elevates my mood and confidence," he adds.
Even though leather has clearly been defined as a fashion essential, it's having yet another moment on the runway, for both men and women. And it's not just jackets anymore. Leather tops, gloves, trousers, duffle bags, and accessories are all taking a turn basking in the spotlight.
There's no denying the badassary of a leather garment, but it can come at a cost. A sustainable and budget-friendly way to partake in this trend is to go through your parents' closets and pull out their old leather pieces.
"If you also come from a Middle Eastern or Asian background, you know what I'm talking about when I say your dad has more than a few leather jackets to share," he says with a laugh.
While the vintage, oversized look is definitely an overarching trend for AW20 it's about more than purchasing clothing two or three sizes up.
"Even when you shop oversized, you need to pay attention to tailoring. Your clothing should still be fitted in your torso but looser at your shoulders and hips. Look for cuts that are described as 'dad' or 'unstructured' as these are styled to be oversized already."
Every fall, we see the resurgence of the same prints—plaid, geometric, paisley—but Per Götteson, Edward Crutchley, Etro, and Lanvin threw a slight curveball this year on the runway. Hand-knitted, painted, and printed across sweaters, scarfs, shirts, and pants were all kinds of different faces.
"Whether they are pixelated, abstract, hand drawn, or collage-style prints, big ol' mugs are everywhere and it's refreshing. It's just not the typical fall print."
Exploring new prints may seem like a fashion challenge to some, but you have the option to control how bold a print is.
Ayaz recommends, for those just dipping their toes into the water, to start off with a smaller print and then gradually continue to try new and newer prints from there.
Cardigans had a huge moment before slowly fading into the ether. But if you clung on to your cardigans from the last decade, it's time to put them back into the rotation.
"Cardigans are back, but not in a preppy way, in a more casual, outdoor layer way. You can wear more relaxed fits with an oversized cardigan and it will still look really clean and fashionable. It's a comfortable and versatile piece, which is really the ultimate key to feeling confident in your clothing."
If we want to maintain relationships while physically distancing then we are going have to get used to spending a lot of time outdoors this winter.
"Functional outdoor that also looks good should be considered an investment in Alberta," says Ayaz. "And there are so many options to choose from—you can go sleek and contemporary, or more casual. I really like the this year's focus on utility and am really excited to see how that transitions into the colder months."
Speaking of outerwear, oversized scarves are a micro-trend for AW20 but whatever your style preference, scarves make for a great addition in terms of warmth and style.
The necktie is a resilient accessory—even during a pandemic it has found a way to stay relevant. AW20 is seeing the tie worn in new, less formal ways.
"You no longer have to wear the dress-shirt and blazer combo to pull of a tie. You can have a lot more fun with your styling," explains Ayaz.
"You can tuck your necktie into a pair of high-waisted trousers for a more subtle, playful look. Or you can wrap it around your wrist for something completely different. This is our time to redefine the rules around office attire—wear a tie with a t-shirt or a cardigan!"
All photos by Jonathan Jacobs
*Sale ends October 31, 2020