The Chic List: How to style out a chaotic day

Fashion columnist and influencer Joanne Hegarty on what to wear for those busy moments.

Every grown-up I know is an overworked, underpaid professional life juggler as well as a firefighter.

Layering in cosy greys and pinstripes. Trousers by Ester Kubisz, Selfridges; grey knit, & Other Stories; black knit, COS; and sandals, Birkenstock.
Photo: Victoria Metaxas

School timetables, work reminders, shopping lists and social invitations decorate the fridge – all hanging by a thread in one great big chaotic calendar.

I personally need wardrobe heroes that will cover the daily routine from meetings to school pick-ups, sometimes straight out to dinners, plus putting out what I always think of as the odd unexpected domestic fire.

One of these for me recently was having to rescue our ginger cat Herbie, who got stuck up a neighbour’s sycamore tree for two solid nights, sending our whole household into an anxious depression over his whereabouts.

As a working mother, I need easy outfit combinations that are comfortable to wear but also make me feel and look good – even if I’m climbing trees!

Here are some of my favourite chic combinations that you can count on this season…

  • Knitted dresses and knee-high boots.
  • A midi skirt and blouse.
  • A chunky knit with tailored trousers or jeans.
  • A cashmere knit, leather trousers and ankle boots.

On the days we feel like our heads are spinning and we’ve run out of steam – and still haven’t read the 24 messages on the school parents’ WhatsApp group – my advice is: breathe and reach for a blazer.

Blazers are a quick and easy way to add tailored polish to your autumn-winter wardrobe for work meetings or dinner out. An instant way to inject new life into your old ones is by cinching-in the waist with a belt.

Another style tip is to mix up the old and the new in your closet by wearing an oversized blazer you already have with this season’s pinstripe or wool trousers.

Or throw a blazer on over your floral frocks in autumnal tones.

So often it’s the small details that transform an outfit. For example, this season consider a bag with a chain. Leather totes with chunky chain straps will add an extra luxe glow to an everyday outfit. Keep the chain tarnish-free by protecting it from rain, wiping down after use and storing away in a dust bag.

I also love to add texture and layers to an outfit, especially now when the weather is still mild enough not to require a coat, by ‘shrobing’ – draping a heavier material or knit casually over your shoulders. Try it over a light knit or even a blazer – it always looks stylish.

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Meet your hardest-working autumn staple. Boots, £205,

Add boots to this super-soft cashmere number and you’re all set. Dress, £335, Allude,

Chunky bling = instant glamour. Bracelet, £130, Laura Lombardi,

The perfect piece for ‘shrobing’. Cardigan, £268.80, LouLou Studio,

Sunnies aren’t just for summer. Sunglasses, £280, Stella McCartney,