There’s a lot to love about autumn. Fallen leaves scrunch underfoot in parks and along city footpaths, consigning summer’s scorching heatwaves to a distant memory. There’s a gentle chill in the air that has us digging out our winter woollens – and updating tired lockdown wardrobes.

The art of autumnal dressing in Australia is all about layering and investing in classic pieces that last well beyond one season. In 2021 (now that we’re allowed out of the house), that means the statement coats and neutral-toned sweaters of Uniqlo U’s new autumn/winter range. Designed by artistic director Christophe Lemaire, formerly of Lacoste and Hermès, it’s a collection that hits a sweet spot between timeless and trendy.

Melbourne-based fashion stylist Carlos Mangubat says Uniqlo’s new collection is “minimal, clean and has a strong nod to utilitarian themes”. From a range overflowing with “wearable pieces and classic wardrobe staples”, Mangubat shares his five must-haves this season.

Men’s U wool blend fleece jacket, $149.90
Mangubat reckons this jacket – available in three colours – is a great example of the autumn/winter collection’s utilitarian aesthetic. Its structured lines give it a military feel, while the oversized collar serves as a fond nod to the 1970s. “It’s a trend piece,” Mangubat says, reserving particular praise for the jacket’s strong silhouette. For a smarter look, he says, wear it with a rollneck sweater and a boot or dressy shoe. For a more casual look, opt for a simple tee and wide-leg trouser.

Men’s U corduroy wide-fit work pants, $59.90
Looser and more comfortable than a standard regular fit, the corduroy wide-fit work pants are a good alternative to a chino, particularly as the weather cools. The corduroy is “a little warmer than a regular cotton drill fabrication”, Mangubat says. Dress the pants down with a loose tee and trainers, suggests Mangubat, or dress them up with a penny loafer and blazer for an Ivy League-inspired look.

Men’s U merino blend mock neck long-sleeved sweater, $59.90
This merino blend sweater is a great example of a wardrobe staple. “It’s a timeless piece,” Mangubat says. Available in black, cream and rust, it’s also a versatile piece that offers plenty of scope for styling. “You could layer a shirt or any kind of jacket on top. If you’re really daring, wear it with a short,” Mangubat says. He suggests completing the look with a thicker sock and a hiking-inspired boot.

Women’s U long-sleeved long shirt dress, $79.90
Another ’70s-inspired piece, this long-sleeved, calf-grazing shirt dress is an easy piece to throw on for any occasion, Mangubat says. Pair it with a sneaker and bomber jacket for a casual look, or a turtleneck, boots and a trench for an elevated autumn-winter outfit. “If you wanted to take it into spring, I’d pair it with a sandal – maybe even a sock – and a wide-brimmed hat,” he says.

Women’s U padded coat, $199.90
“I always say a strong coat can hide an average outfit,” says Mangubat, who loves the autumn/winter collection’s Women’s U padded coat. He recommends pairing the padded coat (available in black, cream and tan) with a white or cream rollneck and trouser. “For contrast, black would also look great with it,” Mangubat says.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Uniqlo. Uniqlo U's autumn/winter collection launches on March 25. Preview it here.