What You Need To Know About The New Season
The New Season: Who doesn’t welcome the respite that summer holidays offer? The chance to mooch about in a greying hoodie and forget about whether midi skirts suit your dwarf-like frame, or whether say, thigh high boots will actually take off in public. Bliss heh?
Or it would be if the glossies hadn’t published their autumn style reports at the start of July. In case you weren’t privy to the pull out which accompanied the freebie sun-glasses/ sarong/ beachmat (honestly, I’m not complaining!), the scariest thing I can tell you about next season is that pussy bow blouses are back in all their retro Seventies glory.
At best you will look as fetching as Alexa Chung modelling them for her latest AG Jeans collaboration. At worst it will be a very sub par take on Annie Hall and you are likely to combust at any moment such is the flimsiness (okay then, the scratchiness) of many polyester versions to be found on the high street. Still, we need clothes to wear and, for many of you who might actually want to buy something over the next three months, here are the things you need to remember and the labels you need to know about.
1) The £35 it-bag
Not only did the Fashion Gods decree a bag shape that could hold more than a packet of peanuts as the shape of the season, but that they also got Next to make it in a beautiful navy leather for a mere £35. That’s right. Gone are the days when it-bags cost north of £700. Next’s version (comparable in looks to Chloe’s Marcie) is adorned with thick, decorative stitching and makes even mid-priced bags seem exorbitant. So far, I’ve bypassed the Seventies trend but this feels like a gentle nod to it. It is the bag version of my favourite navy sweater in that it goes with nearly everything I already own. If simple, unfussy styles are your holy grail, it’s worth checking out Mansur Gavriel for its coloured lining bucket bag or cross-body styles. Another great label to know about is Manu Atelier from Istanbul which makes hand-cut, hand-stitched bags that are every bit as soft as Italian alternatives but sold for a much more affordable £229.
2) Polonecks are not for everyone; honestly you can sit this one out.
I love a roll neck. Honestly, I do. But mostly on other people. And less so in red. Spied on the catwalks of Osman, Jonathan Saunders, Emilia Wickstead, this promises to be one of the “affordable wardrobe staples” of this autumn. Except, that doesn’t mean you need to actually wear one. Seriously, they are a bugger to make work if you don’t have a long neck or cheeks like isosceles triangles. Perhaps it’s something to do with all the swaddling going on around your chin. Not to mention the endless ruching/rucking under a jacket or your coat. For many reasons, this is a trend I will definitely be sitting out.
3) That a duster coats hold a lot of appeal this winter
A duster coat used to be the sort of cover up that would tide you over through spring and autumn seasons, but signs are a foot that they are becoming a far more permanent fixture of your wardrobe, if only you take a look at what the label Harris Wharf has to offer.
Their double faced wool coats (in cashmere if you are feeling indulgent) are the one of the best finds of the year. Not only are they a reasonably priced find (£280 upwards) but they come in a variety of styles and bold colours. A floor-sweeping, belted one feels most modern and, as coat shapes go, is going to glide just as easily over a cocktail dress as it is over a pair of trousers or jeans. They are light-weight too, which means you won’t be struggling to take one on or off on the 82 bus home. And I did mention that they were nifty when it comes to layering your knitwear too?
4) Who said you should never wear pink and red?
Possibly the hottest colour combination of the season, and the one that will instantly update your wardrobe. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele was onto something when he juxtaposed a breathy shade of tea rose pink next to a bold tomato red. This works on pale skins as well as on darker tones, blondes or brunettes. This hard/soft combo is at the heart of what makes most successful outfits work. Boden does a great pink/red geometric swirl panel skirt but if, like me, you are a sucker for red velvet, Marks & Spencers have produced an impressive low platform sandal that you can actually walk in.
5) A word on pussy bow blouses
These aren’t for everyone. Even if, judging by how many I’ve come across in the past few weeks, retailers have wholeheartedly embraced this look. The most flattering one I’ve found is a pale pink version from Benetton for under £40 in a non-static fabric with sleeves that sat nicely on the shoulders and a cut that draped just so. I’m not one for blouses but I’d be willing to give this one a go.
6) Yes you will be wearing Mary Janes, even if you are an adult
I’m not one for kidult clothing but mark my words, you’ll be talking yourself into a pair of block heeled Mary Janes before September is out. The glossies may be full of thigh-high boot chat but wouldn’t it be great to find a style that allows you to do more than simply mince along to the photocopier in?
Naturally, the devil is in the detail. It’s all in the toe which should be pointed and not round to create the illusion of height. Tabitha Simmons and Miu Miu have made ones to swoon over but the ones from Kurt Geiger are just as covetable.
7) How not to look like your mother
I’ve never been one for camel. Something about those unnecessarily ageing, Maxmara style camel coats that screamed “CLASSIC” at a hundred paces and always reminded me of my mother.
Except not this year. Suddenly camel looks fresh. Better still is when camel is mixed up with niche, under-the –radar labels. My round of favourite finds include linen, ruffle shirts by atlantique-ascoli, the simple, airy shapes of the beautifully simple, Japanese brand, Arts & Science or Lindex, the latest Scandi high-street abel to reach these shores. It’s an institution in its native Sweden and it’s not hard to see why: a mix of durable staples with more than a nod to passing trends yet which don’t feel faddy. What’s not to like.