For the past few seasons, our wardrobes have been awash with colour. Standout paintbox brights – think tomato red, fuchsia, cobalt and Gen Z yellow – fought it out to become our favourite hue. Shades sweet enough for an ice-cream parlour – Parma Violet purple, millennial pink, duck egg blue and mint choc-chip green – ushered in summer. But what if you're not a magpie for colour, or just a little sick of all those saccharine pastels and bold-as-brass brights?
Good news comes in the wave of neutrals seen in stores and on the backs of influencers and editors alike. Sure, 'neutral' may be the antithesis of exciting but for Coco Chan, head of women's ready-to-wear and accessories at Stylebop, the popularity of earthy tones lies in sustainability. "I think the sharp rise in demand for brands that possess ethical and sustainable attributes has also brought about a call for natural fabrics in natural colourways." This is certainly evident in the Tencel and linen pieces we've been buying – loose, breathable fabrics suit these heat-reflecting shades and make for a pitch-perfect heatwave get-up.
While temperatures stay this high, we can’t imagine reaching for knitwear or a coat ever again, but you'll find a slew of contemporary cuts and characterful shades that look great right now, but will see you through to autumn, too. "There is a richness and depth to these shades as well as a certain raw, natural quality," Hazel Catterall, head of womenswear at Harvey Nichols tells Refinery29. "Earthy tones are so wearable for those cold winter days, so I think it’s the perfect colour palette for next season." Coco agrees: "I think we often gravitate towards a certain level of practicality after a period of more frivolous summer purchases," she says. "Opting for earthy tones is a way of heading back to base level from which we can start to consider our autumn wardrobe requirements."
So which brands should we look to for the trend? Rhode Resort has some safari-esque khaki shorts that make summer in the city a breeze, there's a plethora of terracotta jumpsuits at Mango, and Mara Hoffman’s sand beach dress just needs sandals and a basket bag for an on-point holiday look.
AW18’s catwalks had plenty to offer, Hazel says. "We saw an amazing brown-toned shearling jacket at Acne and long faux fur 'teddy' statement coats at Helmut Lang and Sies Marjan." For Coco, king of the summer Instagram post, Jacquemus, shouldn’t be overlooked: "Jacquemus may well have built a reputation for slinky dresses, but we shouldn’t overlook his talent for knitwear, natural fibres and beautifully earthy colour palettes. This is particularly evident in his AW18 collection, which is full of terracotta, stone and moss shades."