Feeling sad about bidding farewell to summer 2018? Here are seven reasons why autumn will be even better.
A strange thing has happened since we all started living on the internet: it has become cliché to say that autumn is your favourite season. The woman who loves autumn is now a stereotype who floats around social media, drinking pumpkin spice lattes and posing in front of leaves the colour of rust and cinnamon. Declaring that you love autumn is enough to see you tarred as a bit “basic” – that curiously meaningless insult that only ever gets applied to women who have the audacity to like the same things as lots of other women.
But I don’t care if it’s basic. Autumn is my favourite season, and if I could live in a Truman Show-style bubble where I could control the weather, I’d want it to be September and October forever.
Part of my affection for autumn stems from the fact that I’ve always found summer to be decidedly stressful. I recently did one of those at-home DNA testing kits, which revealed my heritage to be English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Northern European, Scandinavian and Eastern European Jewish. In other words, I burn in the sun like bacon in a frying pan. This alone is enough to make hot weather more of an ordeal than a delight for me.
Despite this, I understand why some people might feel sad about autumn’s arrival. Summer this year was a uniquely thrilling, bonkers season: the heatwave! The World Cup! Love Island! Not for nothing did many people observe on Twitter that July 2018 is bound to serve as the setting for multiple coming-of-age novels in years to come.
International and domestic politics has rarely felt more precarious in the 21st century, but for a couple of months, the UK basked in glorious sunshine and got gently p*ssed in parks. In England, men hugged each other in pubs. A lot. Even I can admit it was beautiful.
But let’s not dwell. Time waits for no woman, and the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is now officially upon us. In celebration, here’s a list of all the reasons that autumn is categorically, unambiguously, definitively the best season.
1. The clothes
Getting dressed during a heatwave is hard. If you tell me that you didn’t have at least one morning this summer when you stood in front of your wardrobe in your pants, sweat glistening on your top lip even though it was only 7am, and had a mini-tantrum because it was just too hot to wear any of your stupid clothes, I don’t believe you.
The fact is, very few people have the ability to look truly chic when it’s 30°C outside. In such sweltering conditions, the art of getting dressed is reduced to two questions: does this item of clothing keep me cool? Will I be arrested for indecent exposure if I leave the house in it? If the answers to those questions are “yes” and “no”, you’ve found your outfit. I spent most of this summer wearing the same navy silk sack dress and Birkenstocks, day after day, because I just couldn’t bear the thought of figuring out an alternative get-up.
But in autumn, clothing options are infinitely multiplied. There are big cosy knits and woollen miniskirts and tights and ankle boots. There are trucker jackets and sleek turtlenecks and frayed-edge jeans and trainers. There are mohair V-neck sweaters and wide-leg trousers and loafers. There are French-girl cardigans and cigarette pants and trench coats and scarves in every colour. Your wardrobe suddenly becomes a source of adventure and comfort, not a place of frustration and repetition.
2. The travel
Going away at the height of summer is a fool’s game. Most travel hotspots are significantly busier and more expensive during the school holidays than in term time, and temperatures in much of Europe and the US – the most popular holiday destinations for Brits – can be unbearable between June and August.
No: autumn holidays are the way to go. European cities such as Florence, Valetta, and Cadiz stay beautifully warm well into October, but the crowds have subsided and accommodation and flights are more affordable. Use up your remaining annual leave by booking a minibreak or two (after consulting Stylist’s guide to the top European destinations for autumn 2018, of course).
3. The food
Some people like cooking in summer because it’s easy. Tip a bag of salad into a bowl, sprinkle some cherry tomatoes and grilled halloumi on top, and you’ve got yourself a meal. But let’s be honest: that gets boring pretty quickly.
Autumn food isn’t boring. It is rich and hearty, complex and slow, and the process of cooking it is wonderfully restorative. For me, nothing calms the mind like spending 45 minutes standing over a hot stove, gently stirring a defiantly unphotogenic but oh-my-god delicious stew, or grating the lightest dusting of nutmeg into the white sauce for a lasagne, or carefully chopping up seven different kinds of vegetable for a curry. After a day spent staring at a screen, using my hands in a different way feels like therapy.
4. The make-up
I actually quite like scaling back my beauty routine in summer. But god, I’m looking forward to being able to wear liquid eyeliner or berry lipstick without worrying about it melting all over my face. Another upside: you can do dark nail polish in autumn without looking like a 13-year-old emo.
5. The socialising
Autumn is widely considered the time when people stop being social butterflies and start retreating to their cocoons. Sayonara, rooftop bars and picnics: you’ll find us curled up on the sofa eating the aforementioned lasagne and watching Netflix.
Or so the theory goes. In reality, autumn is one of the best times of year for socialising. Now that we no longer feel obliged to spend every waking, non-working moment sunbathing in the park or swimming at the lido, we can start doing the other stuff we love: hanging out in cosy pubs; hosting dinner parties; going for long, rambling country walks; checking out exhibitions; having friends round for movie nights; going to the cinema and the theatre. The (mostly indoor) opportunities are endless.
6. The TV
OK, so cooler weather doesn’t mean the death of socialising. But given the brilliant telly heading our way this autumn, no one could blame you if you did go to ground.
From Michaela Coel’s unexpected new role as a woman rescued from the Rwandan genocide in Black Earth Rising to the UK arrival of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Killing Eve and Emma Stone’s surreal turn as a drug trial participant in Maniac, dozens of exciting new shows will be hitting our screens over the next few months. Check out Stylist’s highlights here.
7. The weather
Yes, we’re more likely to see rain in September, October and November than we have for the last few months. Yes, cold drizzle and harsh winds are no fun at all, and dark evenings are depressing. But I’d argue that the weather became a bit monotonous this summer. Nothing but blue skies and intense heat and no breeze for weeks on end? A bit dull, isn’t it?
The weather in autumn, in contrast, is blustery and gleaming and unpredictable. There are days when the sky is clear and the light is golden and the air has a bit of bite behind it, like a crisp apple. There are days when walking down the street feels like leaving a church wedding, except the confetti has been replaced by spiralling tangerine-coloured leaves. There are days when the sky is milky-white with cloud and the sun shines through like a pearl.
Then there are the smoky blue evenings that require a scarf, the evenings where the sky is slate-grey and yellow like a bruise, and the evenings when the sunset flames out desperately in orange and fuchsia. All are magical in their own way.
So bring it on, autumn: we’re ready for you.
Images: Jakob Owens/Unsplash, Getty Images, Eric Muhr/Unsplash, BBC Two