The autumn shades inspired by a Starbucks coffee trend

Autumn delivers beautiful colours to be tastefully inspired by
Autumn delivers beautiful colours to be tastefully inspired by - Getty

Pumpkin Spice Latte season has arrived, and I’m not talking about the autumnal Starbucks beverage. ‘PSL dressing’ refers to a fashion aesthetic inspired by the burnt orange and coffee shades we see in nature when the weather turns. And we can expect to see it more this year than any other: searches for pumpkin spice colours are up by 40 per cent on the five previous years, according to fashion site Love the Sales.

Farrah Fawcett - getty

You don’t need to be so literal in your homage to this particular palette, though. Autumn delivers beautiful colours and we should be inspired by them – but tastefully. Take your lead from Farrah Fawcett in 1977. Her combo of indigo flared jeans, sandy blouse and rich brown leather accessories isn’t trying so hard (the final nail in any style coffin). The sharp cut of her blazer lends just the right degree of structure.

Jennifer Lopez nails autumnal shades in 2007
Jennifer Lopez nails autumnal shades in 2007 - WireImage

To nail the new rules of PSL dressing, you first need to acquaint yourself with this season’s colours: burnt orange, camel and burgundy, of course – but also navy, butter yellow, muted pink and dark teal. Pick one or two to wear at any one time, and stick to them, à la the 2007 image of Jennifer Lopez in mustard and ochre. It’s a styling strategy known as ‘colour drenching’, and it’s especially expensive-looking in autumnal shades, as we saw at Hermès, Zegna and Missoni.

Princess Diana in the early ’90s
Princess Diana in Hungary in 1990 - getty

The older muses are the best ones: Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, Princess Diana in the early ’90s. But don’t let that stop you from taking your cue from contemporary figures such as Donald Glover, Harry Styles or the Princess of Wales.
Remember that the various elements of your outfit don’t all need to be precisely the same shade – it can look especially beautiful when they are not, as at Gabriela Hearst and Michael Kors.

Autumnal tones on show at Milan Fashion Week - getty

In fact, if one of these autumn colours happens to be a hue that you love, you may already have the ingredients for a PSL ‘colour drench’ in your wardrobe. It’s easy to forget that we don’t necessarily need to buy new at the start of a season. Sometimes fashion is less about buying clothes, and more about reimagining how you put your old ones together – a very powerful (and purse-friendly) strategy.



Clockwise from top left: Trousers, £160, Vivere; Patent shoes, £65, Charles & Keith; Wool dress, £345, Soeur; Nylon bag, £87, Arket; Viscose skirt, £295, Rodebjer



Clockwise from top left: Corduroy trousers, £119, PercivalTencel shirt, £90, A Day’s March; Brushed lambswool jumper, £195, Norse Projects; ; Trucker jacket, £110, White Stuff; Leather loafers, £180, GH Bass

Style inspiration

Audrey Hepburn in 1956 - getty
Ryan Reynolds - getty
Cara Delevingne - getty
Donald Glover - Getty

Read more: Grey is the queen of colours – this is how to pull it off