Ever since going viral on TikTok last year, Olympia Gayot, J.Crew's head of womenswear, has become a blueprint for high-low fashion that’s equal parts effortless and buttoned-up. Known for her signature loafers, colorblocking, and button-down shirts, Gayot describes her aesthetic for the upcoming fall season as “casual drama.”
“As much as I live and breathe the beautiful drama that is fashion, as a woman I understand how multifaceted our lives are,” she tells Refinery29. “Fashion can be transformative, it should also not be overly complicated.”
Scrolling through her Instagram feed, it’s easy to see what Gayot means. Ahead of the fall season, the designer has been sharing outfits — mostly pulled from J. Crew’s latest collection — that feature heritage staples like three-piece suits and striped button-down shirts, as well as today’s top trends, including maxi skirts and cropped leather jackets.
It's all right on par with the overall mood in fashion right now. After years of whimsical and Y2K-inspired trends, designers have toned down styles for fall/winter 2023, with business-core looks and maxi hemlines that are rooted in classic staples, including wide-leg trousers and blazers. From the lineups, it's clear that designers are not offering total looks, but rather essential pieces to mix-and-match.
It's a mindset Gayot shares: “All of these fall pieces have a point of view, they’re all versatile enough that you can wear them in a variety of ways throughout the season and still make it feel different every time,” she says.
So, what’s in Gayot’s fall uniform? Ahead, take a look at some of Gayot’s essentials for the upcoming season.
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“There’s something about a pinstripe suit that is so classic,” says Gayot, who is a fan of suits, even in the summertime. (Earlier this month, for example, she wore a white shorts version with a bikini top to J. Crew’s 40th anniversary party.) For fall, she’s continuing her affinity for suiting with a wool three-piece pinstripe suit that she says she also plans to mix-and-match with other items: “All three pieces can be worn in so many different ways and can really play off each other to give a bit of an attitude to any look,” she says.
Pants have been getting wider for the past couple of seasons, and this fall, Gayot is embracing the versatility of this staple. “You can dress it up with a heel and a shrunken top underneath for a really cool, directional look or even dress it down with a pair of sneakers for everyday,” she says. For the J. Crew fall collection, Gayot and her team went for a canvas fabric, the same used for the brand’s classic trench coats: “It’s very structured, sits off your body, and has this very editorial, ready-to-wear, polished look,” she says.
While denim maxi skirts have been trending for most of 2023, this fall, it’s time for full skirts to take over. The feminine silhouette is one of Gayot’s favorites for the season: “The skirt is super lightweight, flows with you and looks very dramatic but it’s also really classic and beautiful,” she says. For J. Crew’s fall collection, Gayot reinterpreted the classic style using a chiffon fabric mixed with lining, giving the sheer clothing trend a new life. “You can wear it with flats or heels and it also looks great with a cashmere sweater, a t-shirt, or a blazer, so it’s extremely versatile,” she says.
It’s no secret loafers are one of the go-to It girl items right now, worn with anything from slip dresses to jeans. This season, Gayot is going for a heeled, stacked version (pictured above) that adds height without compromising comfort. “Sometimes I find when you’re wearing oversized clothing, such as a blazer, it’s nice to have some height and this loafer offers that,” she says.
Heels with socks
This classic fall styling technique is one of Gayot’s go-to’s every season. This fall, she’s going for a pair of black pumps, paired with menswear-inspired dress socks. “I’m a huge sock person and like to wear them with either sandals or loafers,” she says. “It’s one of those items that is super transformative and can instantly change your look by adding a pop of color.” For more coverage during colder nights, Gayot suggests getting a pair that can be "pulled all the way up to the knee if you like."
Silver metallic suit
Thanks to Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour, silver is the official color of 2023. And it shows no sign of slowing down, which is why Gayot is going for a maximalist approach this fall, pairing a silver metallic moto jacket with a pair of matching jeans — both from J. Crew. “There’s something amazing about head to toe silver but you can still separate these really easily,” she explains.