New Season Shopping Rules
I’m just about ready to move on from this summer: hot sunshine, endless blue skies and lucky us, even a September heatwave to ease us back into the working world. It’s been bliss hasn’t it? The chance to loll around in a greying J. Crew hoodie (or the beachiest of summer dresses) and not wonder whether it’s too late to save up for a pair of Gucci Princetown furry, backless loafers (I’m still working that one out) or whether velvet will make you look like your Granny (no it won’t). Because let’s be honest: we’re not a nation that’s very good at hot weather. Charred, not to mention copious quantities of flesh are suddenly deemed acceptable – you don’t see New Yorkers or Italians un-dressing in similar fashion when the mercury hits 28c.
Possibly because we are so much better at doing winter: we are after all, the island that invented tweed, fabulous knitwear, and wellington boots and while these ‘heritage’ items are currently enjoying what fashion insiders like to call a ‘moment’, it’s also worth noting that the following are also very much worth considering.
Yes, you will be carrying a Micro bag
I laughed when these surfaced a year or so ago. “Ridiculous!” I said to myself , mentally popping them into the box of fashion that will never see the light of day, at least not in my wardrobe. And while I still admit there’s something a bit silly about wearing a bag that will only allow you to carry a few credit cards, your keys and an iphone, there’s a lot of me that likes the discipline it requires you to have. I do not walk around lopsided, under the strain of an overly capacious bag. I feel unencumbered and free. And I speak even as someone who has always been allergic to cutsie, dinky trinkets. Mostly I’ve discovered that they can add a jewel-like, architectural touch to more masculine tailoring and knitwear and as a shortie, the proportions are better too. Ame Moi and Jimmy Choo’s silk Lockett are on my lust list but otherwise I’ll be heading to Whistles for its leather mini-buckle satchel.
You will also be wearing lots of shirts
Thought shirts were workaday and boring? Think again. Nothing will work as hard in your wardrobe this winter: they are smart without ever seeming too stuffy, dressed down and yet very cool, elegant and comfortable-looking despite the formality they have the ability to confer on an outfit. They can also look darn sexy even when buttoned up to the top, offering a hint of what lies beneath. Adam Lippes and E.Tautz make the most interesting ones but Cos, Chinti & Parker and Gap do great ones too.
Duster/dressing gown coats are still where it’s at
No change from last winter so well done you if you took stock and picked one up in the January sales. A duster coat used to be the sort of cover up that would tide you over through spring and autumn seasons, but judging by the FROW, they have become a far more permanent fixture of one’s wardrobe.
Choose double faced (for extra warmth) and floor swooshing if you want drama. Otherwise a knee-length one will see you from the day job through to cocktails and over jeans at the weekend. The best thing is that they are light and roomy enough to accommodate a lorra lorra layering.
My latest find is a herringbone version by a Japanese label called Enrica, (head to Caramel in Ham Yard to check it out) but otherwise, there are delectable ones to be found at Harris Wharf London and M&S.
Though shalt wear bottle green
Fresh from this Sunday’s front row at London fashion week, I report that bottle green is the colour. It was spied on less than five magazine editors. It’s a while since this jewel-like colour has felt vogueish, surprising given that there’s a shade to suit every skin tone and how well it goes with brown and camel or grey, navy, cream and black.
Velvet is most definitely no longer underground
Hurrah! One of my very favourite fabrics has at last made its way back into fashion. You can’t move for velvet this winter. If velvet makes you think of Sloane-tastic Alice hair bands, ‘festive’ dress codes or droopy dresses that a batty old Aunt might wear then you have to know that velvet has been endlessly reinterpreted, re-imagined and re-packaged this season. While I will always love classic velvet wardrobe staples – a super tailored jacket in thick, matt black or red pointed Mary Jane shoes by Tabitha Simmons- I’m also tempted by ruched pink velvet dress by Preen, a slouchy bottle green velvet jacket by Frame Denim and the highest of platform heels at Miu Miu.
The key to making it look modern is not to treat it preciously: try it with a Fair Isle sweater in the day or wear a long skirt or dress with trainers. Remember, it’s no longer just for Christmas Day sherry parties.
How to wear camel but not look like your mother
I’ve never been one for camel. I think I said words to this effect last year. Something about those unnecessarily ageing, Maxmara style camel coats that screamed “CLASSIC” at a hundred paces and always reminded me of my mother.
Anyway this September, I don’t know if it’s a sign that I am now actually turning into my mother but suddenly camel looks fresh.
And yes, I am coveting a Maxmara coat (they do so many ranges that you are likely to find something in your budget as the cheaper ones come in at around £300). Camel knitwear with a jolt of orange or classic black is another way but possibly my favourite cover up is a camel or beige trench coat. Style mavens are hankering after Vetement’s oversized version but at £2,000 it’s hardly a snip. In which case, A.P.C, Toast and M&S’s green hooded style will do just as well. You will live in it until next May I promise.