The Small Detail That Will Make Your Autumn Outfits Look Unique

I’ve never been that keen on the idea of a microtrend, and while I understand the desire to separate niche styles from those more mainstream, seasonal blockbusters, it can sometimes denote a sense of transience. Essentially, it can be seen as a trend that is even more fleeting due to its specificity. But I beg to differ. For example, I enjoyed the odd nod to traditional sailor uniforms in the A/W 21 collections of Miu Miu, Dior and See by Chloé. No, it hasn’t exploded in seven different colourways on the high street (well, not yet anyway), but it was a small detail that spoke to me, and when I’ve seen it championed by other fashion folk, it’s put a smile on my face. 

Recognisable by its wide lapels and square back panel, the sailor collar was a popular style in the 1980s, often spotted in dress form on throwback style icon Princess Diana. You can now find plenty of vintage Laura Ashley dresses from the era with the same distinctive sailor-inspired detailing. Fast-forward to 2021, and it was a particular navy cardigan with a sailor collar from Miu Miu that I fell for and, incidentally, has just been worn by Trendsetter in Chief Alexa Chung, who styled hers with simple black jeans and loafers. 

Speaking of vintage, it’s worth noting that websites such as Etsy are gold mines for this style. You can find countless sailor-collar blouses, dresses and shirts at very reasonable price points online that were probably the original inspiration for the designer iterations we saw on the runways. I found a pink pinstripe sailor-collar dress (see image below) from a vintage brand on Instagram, and by far, it’s been my favourite purchase of the summer. Now I have a vintage sailor shirt in my sights for autumn.

My favourite thing about this trend is that it packs personality while still being wearable. I love how both Chung and Renia Jazdzyk have styled their sailor tops with basic jeans, and indeed thanks to their classic navy, white and red colourways, many of the styles you’ll come across will go with the majority of clothing in your wardrobe. So if you too enjoy the vintage appeal of the sailor collar, allow me to show you 21 buys that I’ve hunted down this week. Scroll down to see my edit, from unknown vintage styles to premium Dior.

I bought this amazing sailor-collar pinstripe dress from a vintage seller on Instagram.

Chung makes a very good case for pairing a sailor-collar knit with a simple pair of black jeans.

For a pop of colour, make like Jazdzyk with a striped red sailor tee and straight-leg jeans.

Up Next: Autumn 2021 Trends: The Only Fashion Looks You Need to Know