52 Of The Warmest, Chicest Accessories For Crisp Autumn Days

By Dan Ahwa
It's time to accessorise wisely. Photo / Guy Coombes

As temperatures begin to dip, Dan Ahwa gets the latest updates from retailers and designers delivering the best accessories that will help keep the chill at bay.

November and December of each year are usually when I start catching up with retailers and designers about what they’re thinking of selling

Discussing what has worked for them and their customers, what was apparent is the desire for more good-quality accessories, with a sense of style.

As we say farewell to El Niño and hola to La Niña, if there’s anything this past year of weather patterns has taught us, it is to be prepared. Let’s be honest — dressing according to the weather isn’t exactly our forte as a nation still hell-bent on wearing jandals in the middle of winter, but with a little more attention to detail it’s these small additions that can help make a dull day a little more bearable.

For your head

From reliable beanies to woollen hats that envelope, support and shield your noggin, take your pick.

Why have a beanie in a dull neutral when you can explore the joyful promise of one in lavender? 100 per cent plastic-free, this simple rib-knitted beanie is also made from 100 per cent certified Fairtrade organic cotton, and has been individually knitted to prevent yarn waste during production.

A wool cap is a great way to add a sporty classic to your weekend wardrobe. This one is made from Papanui Estate wool, features an adjustable leather strap and comes in a variety of earth-inspired colours.

Something that covers your ears and neck, this hand-knitted number from the local maker is made from yarn that is a blend of silk, baby alpaca, cashmere and camel. Founder and designer Nat Robb can even custom-make this style in a colour of your choice (available upon request).

A pre-order-only item, this one is worth the wait, spun, crafted and sewn utilising a blend of merino and brushtail possum. “The brushtail possum, whose population has reached staggering proportions, is an introduced pest that decimates our native flora and fauna,” says the Rotorua-based fashion designer. “Wearing environmentally friendly possum knitwear gives you the opportunity to help with our fight to preserve New Zealand’s fragile ecosystems.” The pattern throughout the range is called Patere, inspired by a chant Adrienne Whitewood composed as a full-time te reo Māori student last year.

The local knitwear favourite is a reliable source for locally produced knitwear, and we love its selection of beanies this season. This one is made from 100 per cent Italian Carriaggi cashmere produced and made in the brand’s Auckland workroom.

If something slightly more formal is on the cards, these New Zealand-made wool hats are a great choice to work with a tailored outfit. This structured hat comes with a ribbed brim and felted circular top, and comes in a variety of colours and matching separates, such as scarves and jumpers. It’s made with 40 per cent possum fur, 50 per cent merino wool and 10 per cent silk.

Hat-wearing is a dwindling concept in New Zealand, but if you’re in the market for something smart and warm, a classic fedora will serve you well. Start simple with a shape that works for your face and head shape, like this option crafted from premium wool and featuring a mid-sized brim and a narrow band.

Another great balaclava all-over option is this cosy number made from discarded mohair and wool.

If you’re going to wear a beret, get one that’s well-made, with a leather-lined bottom for extra comfort and support. Available in army green, burgundy and black.

The best thing about this iconic Pōneke-based hat maker is that they make the classics, but then they also make hats for people who like to stand out. A wool bonnet might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering warm accessories to invest in right now, but this one is well-made and will add plenty of interest to autumn and winter dressing.

For your neck

Wrap your neck in a scarf that will warm your vocal cords and shield you from the cold.

Available in an olive and coffee colourway, there’s still time to shop from the brand, which announced this month it would be winding down its business. The 70s styling of this chic scarf option is classic Kate, made from 50 per cent wool, 30 per cent nylon and 20 per cent acrylic.

If you’re looking for a plaid that’s trad and true, you can’t look past the preppy styling from the American stalwart. This classic tartan is an easy way to add a polished finish to any look, featuring a unique patchwork-inspired design made from an Italian-made wool blend.

Another style available in a range of colours, we particularly like this vivid green option, perfect on a range of skin tones and the perfect amount of colour to lift an otherwise subdued ensemble. Made with 30 per cent possum fibre, 60 per cent merino and 10 per cent nylon.

What makes this inclusion special is of course the spiralling Putiki motif. The reversible scarf has a double thickness with a rib finish and is made from a mix of 40 per cent possum fur, 50 per cent fine merino wool and 10 per cent nylon.

The iconic local label is having something of a rebrand lately, offering a multitude of cold-weather saviours for both urban and rural environments. An easy throw-on scarf like this is one fine example, made from 100 per cent brushed wool and featuring an oversized logo print that gives a winter staple a contemporary edge.

The perfect option that does away with the bulk, like a wool neckerchief, this is perfect for providing a bit of protection against the elements when working outside. Made in Scotland from soft lambswool, you can even wear this as a headscarf.

A snood is an easy option to invest in when you can’t be bothered with the neverending readjusting of an actual scarf. Simply throw it over your neck and you’re good to go — preferably with an equally comforting and cosseting sweater. This two-tone snood is crafted from cashmere.

Add an interesting layer to a simple top with this clever collar detail made from 100 per cent merino.

For something with a little more texture, we like the look of these cable-knit scarves, available in a range of complementary colours and made from 47 per cent acrylic, 30 per cent nylon, 15 per cent wool and 8 per cent mohair.

Made with 90 per cent wool and 10 per cent cashmere, this large plaid scarf is a traditional print worth investing in this time of year. Smart and adaptable in any situation, it has a soft brushed finish, tonal branded leather patch and a fine yarn weave. Even better, the wool in this item has been sourced from farms that aim to preserve land health, protect animal welfare and promote safe working conditions.

For your hands

Slip your fingers into these plush gloves and mittens.

A range of gloves for all genders, these light options are knitted from soft Ecopossum™ (40 per cent) along with 50 per cent merino, and 10 per cent Mulberry silk. Available in sizes small to large.

An easy pair of fitted wool gloves made with 80 per cent wool and 20 per cent nylon.

Complementary textures of leather and wool make these an impossibly chic set of gloves that can be rolled all the way down and tucked into your sleeve for added warmth.

Available in an array of soothing neutrals, this is ideal for the person who likes to have their fingers at the ready. A beautiful design detail with the lace knit, this two-ply cashmere set hails from the brand’s boutique factory in Tolaga Bay.

Mossy green hues are a great way to segue into wearing colour during the cooler months, particularly if you’re averse to wearing anything too bright. Featuring a contrasting accent band, this stylish pair are made from pure lambswool from Scotland.

Another good fingerless option to consider, these longer fingerless glove options are a great layering piece. Made from 100 per cent ZQ Merino.

Made with mohair, these ribbed options add a point of interest when you’re looking to keep warm for special occasions.

What’s not to love about these charming gloves? (Yes, they are for grown-ups.) They contain lanolin, which is a natural antibacterial.

If you’re looking for an indoor activity that will keep you away from scrolling on a screen, why not make your own mittens? Perfect for beginners, the colourblock mittens have a two-row colour change detail and are available in five sizes including baby, toddler (2-4 years), child (5-12) and two for adults. All mittens have thumbs except the baby size.

These padded gloves are also on sale, which makes them even more attractive right now. The fleece lining contains Repreve® polyester created from recycled plastic bottles and has a supportive ribbed cuff.

For the sophisticate, a classic pair of leather gloves is an ideal way to stay warm whatever the dress code.

For your feet

Whether it’s a chunky sock or a fuzzy slipper, your feet deserve it.

These rib socks are a great way to add some warmth to your feet without the bulk. Made in France from 80 per cent cotton, 19 per cent PA and 1 per cent Lycra for added stretch.

An impossibly chic pair of socks, this Italian-made pair is produced in Brianza from one of the finest sock-makers in the world. Made from 70 per cent Modal, 22 per cent nylon and 8 per cent cashmere.

Cashmere socks are the ultimate in luxury accessories, and local stalwart Karen Walker offers these ribbed socks in oatmeal and fire-engine-red colourways.

Made from leftover knitwear offcuts, the recycling process behind these comfy socks is completely water and dye-free. They’re made from the brand’s exclusive blend of raw merino fibre and natural recycled materials.

Sometimes the best places for warm accessories are our army and surplus specialist retailers, and while its Auckland flagship is closed, you can still happily shop from the iconic Army & Outdoors via its online store. These thick tan socks feature a lining of fluffy loops for extra warmth and padding for your feet, with elasticated tops.

Another unisex pair of socks, this time made from possum merino, fusing high-quality possum fur and superfine New Zealand merino wool.

Made with a stretchy merino wool blend, the added support with reinforced heels and toes make these an ideal choice for mid-winter outdoor adventures.

A pair of 100 per cent cashmere ballet slippers. Why not? A luxuriously warm pair of shoes to pad around the house in.

A playful way to stay warm is a pair of fuzzy slides. Local footwear brand La Tribe offers this option made from 100 per cent sheepskin and finished with a practical rubber sole.

If your style is a little more adventurous, we love the artful approach of these Camper “Wabi” slippers. The blue multicoloured recycled wool slippers come with supportive rubber soles.

We love the traditional appeal of these classic moccasins, handmade in Aotearoa and featuring a soft sole and plush sheepskin lining.

An easy update on a classic, these slippers travel well outdoors and feature the same ultra-lightweight, durable sole as the brand’s ubiquitous Classic Boot. They are lined with plush wool and crafted from suede and we’d wear these with our PJs or a pair of jeans.

The Zermatt slip-on style is a classic for the brand and is an easy way to keep your feet warm, made of a wool felt upper and the brand’s well-known cork-latex footbed.

This long-time collaboration is still one of the best, maintaining the beautifully made crochet slippers and craftmanship of a team of four artisan crocheters in Hawke’s Bay. Using Classic’s 100 per cent New Zealand sheepskin and woollen yarn from Napier-based spinners Skeinz, these luxurious hand-crocheted slippers feature a contrasting stripe and bow tie and are completed with a sheepskin upper.

For your home

Warm up your personal spaces with some considered texture and colour.

Because no one wants to feel a rubbery hottie against their skin, why not have a cover that evokes the feeling of a warm teddy bear instead?

An easy way to add some colour and warmth to any living space is with a carefully selected throw. Made from 50 per cent wool and 50 per cent recycled polyester.

For the little treasures in your life, a blanket is an essential item, so invest in something made with quality fabrics that can be passed down the generations. The Gotland baby/children’s blanket is thick and silky to the touch.

Adding colour to your interiors spaces is an ideal way to bring some life to your home, and this Fairtrade striped cushion is a good starting point. Handmade in Guatemala, every sale goes towards supporting the indigenous population and allows local makers to continue to thrive.

Maintaining the quality of some of our nostalgic wool blankets is at the heart of local business Fresh Retro Love. From vintage treasures repaired with love to new and innovative colourways, there’s plenty to choose from. We love the vibrancy of this aptly named ‘Tangy Fruits’ blanket made from super-soft and fluffy pure New Zealand wool. It measures 151cm (blanket stitched edge) x 100cm.

For the pampered pets in your life, this classic pet bed is upholstered in a vibrant blue-green teal velvet and offers a warm, safe spot for your precious friends to rest in luxury.

Dan Ahwa is Viva’s fashion and creative director and a senior premium lifestyle journalist for the New Zealand Herald, specialising in fashion, luxury, arts and culture. He is also an award-winning stylist with over 17 years of experience, and is a co-author and co-curator of The New Zealand Fashion Museum’s Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now.

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