Q. One minute it's sunshine, the next it's pouring down. I'm so confused about what to wear I don't know whether to salvage my summer wardrobe or opt for an early winter?

A. Summer in England is unpredictable at the best of times. It would be a real shame to completely give up on summer this early – we've hopefully got six weeks left – and it's definitely not time for a winter coat. Instead utilise your summer wardrobe with some key pieces and look to the pre-fall collections for some inspiration.

The longer skirt length for the coming season is super practical. Not only are the longer midi lengths and maxis nicely demure for those of us not so keen to expose our upper thigh, they are also so much warmer than a short skirt. Rebecca Taylor has some gorgeous midi-length dresses this summer which would work equally as well in autumn with boots and a leather jacket. Try a strapless but longer length dress which can be layered up with cardigans and jackets or stripped down to bare minimums if you find yourself suddenly in a suntrap. The pre-fall collection has some gorgeous ankle-skimming maxis in soft jerseys which are gorgeously comfortable and equally easy to layer up or wear on their own when the sun rears its head again.

The key item for fending off the weather is a trench. To keep it in line with the new longer lengths, go for a midi or maxi length with a full skirt. This will work with all your knee length and longer dresses, as well as with trousers. Look for light-hearted details to keep the trench less serious and more summer friendly. Rebecca Taylor’s Runway trench has ruffle details giving it a feminine and frivolous edge.

Another trick for battling the elements is a good cropped straight-cut trouser. Not capri length or calf-skimming which can be unflattering on some, but cropped right down at the ankle. The trouser will keep you warm but the shorter length means you can wear it with flats, sandals or a pair of heels. Try a dark olive trouser by Tiger of Sweden which will work in both winter and summer. Wear it with a silk tank and layer up with a colourful silk cape or scarf to protect against a sudden gust of wind whilst keeping it July-appropriate: playful and pretty!