Denial is pointless, its now winter and these are the items to buy!
It’s that time again, when the season is definitively shifting. There’s no arguing about it. Looking out of the window as I write, I see the leaves are more yellow than green, beautifully so and the ground is actually icy. I never feel sad about the seasonal switch, even when the days are getting shorter and colder. In part because it is a time of change, and change is always exciting, always offers new possibilities. More prosaically, at this time of year it’s also because I love a big woolly knit & hat, on which more anon.
There is no easier way to embrace change than in your wardrobe. You don’t need to buy big, in terms of quantity or price. Small can be beautiful, life-enriching. A great pair of earrings can change the way you feel about yourself, about the world. Of course I think clothes are important. Here’s some back-up from Virginia Woolf. “Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than merely to keep us warm,” she wrote. “They change our view of the world, and the world’s view of us.”
Getting back to practicalities, what does that mean for autumn/winter? What’s in the shops for us? Well, the best news is that these days almost anything goes in fashion. Whatever your thing, they are in the shops countless ways that you can channel it. However, there are a few stand-out trends that will give a fresh edge to your wardrobe.
If there’s a colour of the season, it’s scarlet. And it was one of the stand-outs on the spring/summer catwalk too, so if you invest now it will last you. On the catwalks it was head-to-toe in the form of coats and dresses.
The Statement Coat
If there’s one way to change up your look it’s by going outré with your outerwear. There’s the red route, as discussed. Yet there’s also embellishment, such as Tara Jarmon’s emerald and diamanté swoon (£825, tarajarmon.com) or Boden’s tweed take (£350, boden.co.uk). Fake fur is another option, such as Zara’s pale blush style (£95.99, zara.com) or J Crew’s leopard (£328, jcrew.com).
If you would like a less boldface approach for days when you find it hard enough to string a sentence together, never mind make a statement — or is that just me? — try a detachable fake-fur collar (Topshop’s take comes in black, camel or burgundy with sandy-hued fun-fur, £65, topshop.com).
Think floral dresses are for summer? Think again. During a chilly Paris Fashion Week the front row were wearing the same dresses they had been in a few weeks earlier in a hot New York, but layered over polo-necks.
Horrible word, brilliant concept, and it’s not going anywhere. Done well it’s comfortable, cool, youthful, flattering. Done badly..Chav! Enough said. Go for good-quality drapey fabrics, with subtle sporty references (side stripes, zips, an elasticated waist that flatters rather than adding bulk). My two go-to brands are Hush and Me + Em. I love the former’s Amie joggers, available in assorted colours – I own a pair! (£49.50, hush-uk.com), and the latter’s cream or khaki zip-front knit (£149, meandem.com).
Some more pretty cheesy nomenclature that pertains to another superlative — and permanent — revolution in dressing. Indeed, there’s an overlap. Comfort luxe can come in the guise of athleisure, or vice versa. Either way the radical notion is: buy the most delicious versions you can of the clothes you spend most of your time in. So jeans pimped with pearls perhaps (£88, uterque.com), or a khaki jacket with brocade trim (£69.95, gap.co.uk).
And if you don’t have a shearling gilet, you should. Yes, they are expensive, but price per wear they turn out to be anything but, not least because they are just as good layered over a summer dress as over a winter sweater.
Cue more of the same, namely really comfortable warm clothes that have now — praise be — been declared fashionable. What makes a sweater super? It’s probably oversized, and probably has something about it that makes it that little bit special
The Power Suit
Until recently a two-piece, be it a trouser or skirt suit, seemed boring, old hat. Now it feels anything but. Why? Because there are so many strong suits (forgive me) in terms of fabrics, colours and cuts. And because the attention to detail being lavished by designers elsewhere — on shoes, bags, jewellery — means that you can use the add-ons to provide interest, leaving your suit to get on with the business of making you look effortlessly pulled together. Which, if you choose wisely, it will.
The Sparkle Factor
Obviously it’s nonsensical, a grown woman wearing anything blingy. Which is precisely why we should all do it. As far as my wardrobe is concerned, all that glitters is absolutely gold, or maybe bronze. Every time I wear something sparkly I feel, well, sparkly. By and large I would say that, rather than top-to-tailing it, less is more. So my pick might be any of the following silver beauties: Jimmy Choo’s silver Romy flats (£375, jimmychoo.com); LK Bennett’s ankle boots (£395, lkbennett.com); Reiss’s pleat skirt (£150, reiss.com). Then there’s Baum und Pferdgarten’s gold brocade skirt (£159, baumundpferdgarten.com) and Zara’s bejewelled black culottes (£39.99, zara.com).
Shoes-wise, it’s all about flats and kitten heels, and possibly — depending on how brave or foolish you feel platform heels!
For me this is the secret to looking and feeling fresh with minimum effort and expense, the odd choice item that says “look at me” and, by extension, “ignore the fact that everything else this woman is wearing is two years old and navy blue”. Not sure about a statement coat? How about a statement collar? Like one of Charlotte Simone’s candy-coloured fur styles (£200, charlottesimone.com). Fighting shy of a sparkly skirt? Pick up a glitter-ball brooch from Marc Jacobs (£35, harveynichols.com).
For a Style Update in your Wardrobe – please contact me for a consultation on 07825 509318