New Look has my 'fashion bargain' alarm bells ringing with this youthful take on the feathered cocktail dress. It's probably going to be indecently short, it's one-shouldered and it's not made of silk, but it's a quirky alternative to saving your best clothes for certain outings. At £22.99, it's not going to break the bank, but the feather trim will turn heads at a bar or club.
Leather accessories are a staple trend for AW, but this year there's an even bigger emphasis on heritage pieces, as seen at Zara. With Chelsea boots in scarlet and black, and the possibility of matching your feet to your bag here (or should we call it a document wallet?), things are looking undeniably chic. This is the grown-up way to greet the passing of summer.
Tailoring at Zara is also strong, with the masculine/androynous edge proving popular. This royal blue jacket, with its clean lines and tuxedo-esque edges, is bound to be a sell-out. The colour works well with black, but I think it would be equally interesting over white or grey tailored trousers or some colourful silk palazzo pants.
They call me mellow yellow... or mustard, to be precise. If there was one item I could pick from Zara at the moment, it'd be this jacket. It's very 1980s, but minus the irritating shoulder pads or frizzy perm that might have accompanied it back then. You just know you could chuck this on over a shirt and skinny trousers or leggings and instantly feel powerful. It'd be best suited to strong eyebrows, a dark lip and a minimalistic bag. As for the python-print ankle boots? They'll be in all the magazines. Personally I'm looking for over-the-knee numbers this season, but these are a nice alternative.
Topshop's shoe department has workwear covered. From patent Chelsea boots to low-heeled pumps, there seems to be a decisive nod to formal dressing here. I'm also deeply in love with the gold chunky heel in the centre - it's a brilliant detail on a simple shoe.
River Island is a great place to find directional accessories. For the last few years they've been incredibly good at producing shawls, snoods and scarves that are ladylike but not too fussy, and 2011 is no exception. They've gone the extra mile with a fur trim on this pashmina (bottom left).
H&M's bags seem to be surpassing their footwear this season. They've chosen to give in to the satchel trend (it just won't die down, because women and men still seek practical arm candy that will last more than a few months), but their new colour-ways are fresh. That zingy orange is most likely referencing the recent neon versions of The Cambridge Satchel Company's popular pieces. I'm really drawn to the deep green bag on the far right, though - it's very roomy, has a great gold zip and two styles of strap. At £29.99 it's hard to walk away from.