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The unfashionable calendar

Fashion is oft described as the embodiment of all things glamorous, luxurious, frivolous, superficial and the unattainable. Those not familiar with the industry are apt to think it is not much of a job; whisking to fashion shows, attending parties, looking glamorous, caring about clothes and trends when the rest of the world is seemingly in disarray. To some extent this is all true. The by now infamous “The Devil Wears Prada' film doesn't do much for the already tarnished reputation of fashion editors and feeding the notion of gratuitous undertakings, perpetuated by a group of self-obsessed people who's common goal is nothing more than surface appeal.

Of course this a very negative and vague description of an industry that employs millions, generates billions, and, when broken down, is one of the world's leading businesses that, in whatever way one cares to analyse fashion's relevance. Somewhere down the line, fashion, in whatever form, will affect you. But this is not a rant about those who care not for fashion. Rather, it is to show those not in the know that working in fashion; be it design, editing, manufacturing, sales, publishing or public relations, isn't all about a frivolous, glamorous lifestyle, it is in fact hard, bloody work.

Take for example a designer's job. The major fashion houses these days have between 6 and 9 collections per annum. Whoever thought it was a two-season job, is living in fashions' dark ages. Holiday , resort, swimwear, early spring, late summer, early fall and sportswear are extra collections a designer has to design in addition to the seasonal ready-to-wear. Add to that secondary and diffusion lines, casualwear, tailoring, accessories (these days as diverse as pet collections, homeware and babywear) and you start to get an idea. Why so many collections, you ask? Because consumers want new clothes, on trend, all year round.

Have you even thought about buying your winter coat in 2008? How about the colour palette for spring in the same year? What about cuts and styles and trends forecasting until the end of the decade? Probably not. For most of us, we can't decide between skinny jeans and straight legs in the morning, let alone the type of wash we'll be buying in denim in 2007. But designers are already thinking about fashion in 2008.

And then we have fashion editors. Filling the pages of glossy magazines with beautiful clothes, forever attending glamorous events, jetsetting to idyllic parts of the world photographing Kate Moss. Hardly. Try keeping your sanity during global fashion week, with shows taking place in practically every country and continent. Ever heard of Bali Fashion Week? Moscow or Istanbul ? They all exist, as do Amsterdam , Berlin , Copenhagen , and Toronto . Getting up at 6 am to file the latest news, attending a breakfast launch by 8, seeing the first show by 9, continuing until 10pm is fashion week routine. Then it's usually a dinner, an aftershow party or 3, compiling feature news back in the hotel room to send at 2am just before bed. Surviving on minimal sleep, in different hotels, different time zones for 10 weeks of the year.

But thankfully there are perks to the job. There is the undisputed glamour element, working with creative, visionary people. Being part of an industry which thrives on innovation, creativity and cutting edge design. Finding the next big talent at a graduate fashion show, or the next face to adorn a campaign. Fashion is about taking risks, translating the zeitgeist into how we express and present ourselves. It challenges consumers about what is traditionally beautiful, wearable and desirable. Translating a vision into what you'll ultimately want to buy and wear.

So even if you're only prone to wearing the same white T-shirt and jeans, day after day, you may want to remember that someone – a designer – has thought up the design, fitted a model, made changes to the fit, send it off to manufacturers, tested the fabric, approved production, and the list goes on. All this before you've even seen it in store to buy and wear it. So next time you see a white T-shirt modelled in a magazine, try and imagine it's been through a 1.5 year process of one of the most hectic and unfashionable calendars possible.

4 November 2006


Back to the future

It's official, 80s-inspired fashion is the trend for next season. Mixed up with futuristic styling and a dash of utility sportswear and you are on the mark. Christopher Kane said it best with his SS07 homage to early Gianni Versace, using bright colours infused with tighter than tight dresses. But 80s dressing (thankfully) is more rounded than just tight silhouettes – as seen at Preen and Marios Schwab – or graffiti prints on denim at Ashish.

Think too of off-the-shoulder tops, geometric prints and simple shift dresses. Acid wash jeans will surely be making an appearance in London 's east-end, still the borough of choice for the capital's cool kids. Waisted jeans and trousers are back, as are rising hems. Mini skirts and dresses made an appearance on many catwalks, a trend picked up by Stella McCartney, Dolce & Gabbana, and Prada. The latter showed them in jewel tones in flowy fabrics.

So where does the future lie, as Suzie Menkes of the Herald Tribune questioned designers backstage at the SS07 shows? In terms of fashion, galactic colours, shimmering fabrics and sci-fi styling are what is hot. You may not be partial to Hussein Chalayann's plastic panelled skirts, for example, however he captured the zeitgeist when worn over delicate chiffon pieces. If you don't want to venture too far into the future, try patent leather, high-gloss finishing and dramatic fabric juxtapositions.

20 October 2006


Welcome to Autumn 2006

September is literally just around the corner and the shift in trends that gave the autumn/winter catwalks a real buzz are in-store now, ready to become the new wardrobe staples. Designers have replaced the hippy chic of the last few seasons with an uptown tailored look (and downtown layered look) that is refreshingly modern.

Daytime wardrobes are rife with chic dresses and masculine suits while other key silhouettes such as fabulous oversized knits and more structured voluminous shapes for those more fashion-forward. Individualistic accessories add the finishing touch but, if nothing else, take note – there's a new black in town. Grey is the colour and, from dove to charcoal, any shade will do.

30 August 2006


Flower power

Spring has sprung and this season floral prints are everywhere. Oversized blooms – think peonies, roses and freesias – are found on dresses, summer coats, flirty, puff-sleeved blouses. Accessories have blossomed too; be inspired by Marni bags, Missoni Sport skirts and Biba platforms.

But be careful, too much print doesn't work. Be bold yet wear florals sparingly. The general rule is to only wear one piece of floral print in your outfit. For those of you who prefer the minimalist look can opt for flower-print shoes or a rosy tote.

1 June 2006


Short stories

Is it just us or has every fashion publication known to man written about shorts and how they are the perfect outfit for a fashionable spring? We are told they look beautiful with flats or platforms, teamed with a girlie blouse or a cute little cropped jacket you really are looking the business.

But nobody seems to acknowledge that it's too cold to even think about wearing shorts. The magazines have dedicated page after page of glorious summer outfits and beautiful models in city shorts (in this season's white, not less) but the reality is, we are still wearing macs and scarves as it has been raining non-stop and temperatures are close to being arctic. We agree that fashion should be directional, but what about it being relevant? Perhaps a story on Wellington boots and fashionable umbrellas would be more apt.

29 May 2006


What to buy for fall

With a myriad of fashion magazines and websites proclaiming the many new looks for fall, shopping for new items becomes a daunting prospect. How do we differentiate between what is truly fashionable and will actually look good on us? How do we keep ourselves from spending to much money on ‘silly' clothes that will be relegated to the back of our closets without ever being worn? Thankfully there are a few fashion journalists who have made it their business to show us through the jungle that is fashion and recommend a few key pieces to add to our wardrobes without breaking the bank.

Clare Coulson of the Daily Telegraph has reduced the new looks to eight key pieces for fall. The first purchase to make is the military coat or jacket. It shows the fashion savvy of the wearer and looks cool and timeless, without looking like you're trying too hard. Hurry to TopShop or Primark for brilliant high street prices and fashionable versions. Next on the list is velvet. Any sort, in deep rich hues, will do. Whether it's a coat, dress, skirt or scarf, velvet dresses up your look in an instant. Paired with a pair of jeans, a velvet jacket can look great for either day or evening.

Also a must-have for fall is delicate knitwear. A fine cashmere cardigan or v-neck looks great when paired with a pencil skirt and worn with an elegant belt around the waist, reminiscent of the Prada look. Gap does great, simple v-necks if you're on a budget.

The print, empire-waist dress carries effortlessly from summer to fall. To update the look, wear it with a chunky knit cardigan, velvet jacket or military coat and with a pair of stacked-heel boots. Speaking of boots, Chloe does a fabulous pair, but if the budget doesn't suffice, rush to the high street for a pair. According to Coulson it really doesn't matter what type of boot you buy, as long as you invest in a pair rather than in pumps or loafers.

After all the hoopla about structured bags, what are we to do? Coulson recommends investing in shoulder bag and not paying too much heed to frame bags. She suggests Jigsaw's washed leather versions or Miu Miu's saddle bag. Finally, fall is all about the skinny scarf, which will add cool to your look. Whether made of wool, chiffon or fur, skinny scarves look great in rich, jewel colours. Pair them with a jaunty looking cap, and make people's heads turn. Now you can shop your way to a hipper you!

29 August 2005

Fall Trends

As the new season's clothes are decorating shop windows everywhere, it's time to look at the key trends for fall and plan ahead for a fashionable winter. The summer sales have almost finished, and directional boutiques such as Matches, Browns and Liberty are luring customers back into their stores with the much anticipated new AW05 collections.

The Indian-inspired looks of summer have been replaced by a distinctly more South American feel, adding a little more cohesion to the popular boho look. While you may not be looking forward to cooling temperatures (have you noticed the nights are getting longer) it's not a bad investment to snap up a sheepskin coat for winter, while they're still around, as they are supremely wearable and the new must-have trend in coats. There's a vintage feel to fabric this autumn, with appliqué and texture screened over wool and velvet. Look out for pieces with an old-fashioned appearance and antique-style detailing such as jet beading.

And don't forget that for winter black is back. It's been conspicuous by its absence, but with every major designer heralding black in the season's collections, it can't be ignored. To break the head-to-toe look, contrast matte and shiny fabrics and play with intricate lace, crochet and beadwork detailing. For those a little more fashionably adventurous, the rolled under hem was a major trend at designers such as Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Marc Jacobs. At first, the dynamics may look a bit odd, but the more wearable distillation of the puffball appears on skirts, tops and jackets and gives clothes a modern, feminine feel.

Another trend for winter is velvet, a fabric mostly associated with American prom ceremonies and elderly ladies. Forget these thoughts, as designers such as Louis Vuitton, Armani and Bottega Veneta all featured velvet in their winter collections. It's officially ok to wear crushed velvet again, and designers are using it for daywear as well as the usual evening pieces. Velvet shoes and bags are a fast, easy way to buy into the trend.

And lastly, according to Easy Living, 2005 is the year of the sweater. Never before has knitwear become so important in fashion as this season. Take homage from designers such as Christian Dior, Missoni and Marc Jacobs to get the feel. Opt for oversized jerseys, offbeat styles and eccentric necklines as key pieces to see you through the summer to fall transition.

10 August 2005



Fall Gal

The weather's finally improving and we've finally donned our sexy new gladiator sandals and empire-line sundresses. But here come fashionista's planning for colder and rainier weather again. And yet, it's always smart to plan ahead - and fun, too.

To lend us a helping hand, has come up with a selection of great buys for fall. And remember, if your budget doesn't suffice, there will be plenty of alternatives on the high street.

Feminine tweed is back in. Fitted jackets and fluted skirts are back on the hit list, but wide skirts are still popular for fall as well. Alessandro dell'Aqua does a delicious silver brocade version, which is paired with a deep V-necked blouse and black leather jacket with fur trim collar, also by the designer. Skirts should be worn with opaque tights and knee high boots in butter-soft leather or suede or with chunky, high-heeled MiuMiu sandals.

Earth tones are back and so is black, as dictated by the ever-stylish Miuccia Prada. Black is everywhere and anyone who feels colour-challenged is going to rejoice. Mornings spent pondering the day's outfit, are cut short. Simply choose a fitted black jacket, a goddess-dress in jersey and a pair of high-heeled boots and you'll be on your way.

Also on the agenda was fall is the return of romance. Welcome back the Russian Cossack look. Think fur trims, brocade and great detailing. Lace detailing is hot as is chiffon. So enjoy your summer but look forward to the next season. See you in the shops.

26 May 2005


How To Dress For A Yachting Holiday

Your best friends have hired a yacht somewhere in the Pacific, and you have to pack a capsule wardrobe that will see you through sun-filled days on deck, chilly evenings under the stars, potential stormy weather, and high-octane glamour when at port.

You are limited for space (the cabins on board simply cannot cater to your extensive luggage requirements) and the variety in weather, temperature, ports, and days on deck will not make it easy to refrain from taking your entire summer wardrobe.

On the other hand, those who prefer to take minimal belongings on a boat trip should be reminded that a certain amount of modesty is needed when holidaying and boating with friends - nude runs on deck are simply not the norm even by Baywatch standards. Careful wardrobeplanning, therefore, is essential to enjoying your 'breaking the waves.'

The first rule on deck is to forget about high heels. However much you are addicted to wearing them on land, they are useless - and even dangerous - on a boat. The deck itself is sensitive to the sharpness of the heel and you could easily ruin the finishing and damage the wood. Not a good way to start of with your host or yacht-owner. Instead, wear comfy flipflops or plimsoles, or alternatively opt for something with a rubber sole. Flipflops come in a variety of colours and decorations and as they are good value for money, you can invest in an ocean of colours to match your outfits. If you are finding it difficult to stray from the season's must haves, bring along your platform wedge sandals. Still, you'll probably find yourself walking about barefoot most of the time running to grab a cocktail, or for paddling in the sea.

The second rule on deck has to do with the choice of swimwear. This is your chance to work on your tanlines and show off your figure so find a bikini or onepiece to suit your shape. The first rule of thumb as that one size doesn't fit all. Be pragmatic about patterns and cuts that suit your body shape. Also, go for something that has spandex. This may sound scary, but lycra-based fabrics can smooth out lumps and bumps and are generally more flattering.

Other on-deck must-haves include kaftan tunics, tiered gipsy-style skirts, smock tops and white cotton trousers. Don't forget a cardigan or warm jumper for breezy nights under the stars. And, seeing as boating and yachting are marine activities, you'll need something stripey. Navy, white and red can be very sexy, if worn a la Yves Saint Laurent.

And lastly, a yacht holiday offers great escapes from reality. You tend to forget about your mortgage, your dog, and everything else that isn't sur la mer, so enjoy it while it lasts.

14 May 2005


Winter Trend Summary

It may be difficult to get your head around the new trends for fall/winter 2005/6, especially with spring and summer still to get through. But it's always a good idea to be one step ahead of the rest. For one, it makes bagging the best items so much easier if you know what to look for.The most crucial winter purchases have been lined up by Vogue, following this seasons shows.

Number one on the list is the coat, which should be a striking long, belted affair. There should be no limit - except perhaps a monetary one - to the amount of cocktail dresses you stock up on, as well as stack-heeled boots, skinny trousers and velvet and metallic brocade galore.

According to Sue Patneaude, executive vice president of designer apparel at US luxury department store Nordstrom, there is "no predominant theme" for the coming winter season. As she said to WWD: " The season is refined and glamorous with with lace embroidery and sequins usedi n subtle, couture-like ways. It's very pretty."

If you want to define yourself as a real connaisseur, the experts recommend aquiring a pretty cropped jacket, a full skirt that falls below the knee, a minute mini for those with the legs and the chutzpah, a sweater dress (think Galliano at Dior, Stella McCartney, McQueen or Giles Deacon), an edgy jacket, cropped trousers and heels that tie around the ankle with a thick coloured ribbon.

The biggest trend is the new volume in clothes. Skirts are wide, pleated or folded to add ever-increasing volume. This type of style can be incredibly unforgiving on real women's bodies. The trick is, if it doesn't make a skinny catwalk model look thin, imagine what it will do to you. Always remember: pleats and folds in strict moderation. And if you want to avoid this trend altogether, you can go for the skinny as provided for by Balenciaga.

10 March 2005


Inspiration for fall

The 'what's hot list' for next winter continues the romantic looks we saw this season, albeit more structured and less boho. Think Russian tsarinas (a la Giles), romantic gothic, military, forties couture and all things flamenco. Colours are rich browns, forest greens and purply reds. Argyle, plaids and tartan will replace checks & stripes and herringbone is favoured over tweed.

As for trends, shorts and cropped trousers are the new casual look. Puff-ball skirts are the new lady, as are ruffled, gipsy or voluminous skirts. Fur jackets, stoles and trims were seen on most designer runways and the bolero jacket or cardigan will no doubt be the fashion must-have piece for next season.

Better start saving up now!

19 February 2005


Hot Couture!

This Spring, haute couture has taken a different direction on the Parisian catwalks. Certainly the references to days of yonder from Marie Antoinette to Queen Victoria are always present, as are the furbelows of the past. Better yet, though, this season you will actually be able to wear Couture.

From Armani's debut to Chanel to Dior, skirts, coats and dresses have been shredded of dramatic opulence, to make room for beautiful boxy jackets and low-waisted slung skirts at (Chanel) and outrageous costumes and mask-like makeup was replaced with minidresses, pea coats and mod hats (Dior). Time to recapture the romance of Spring!

26 January 2005


The Big Chill

It may not seem fashionable to dress according to meteorological forecasts, but the cold is upon us and keeping snug in luxurious jackets, knits and gilets is a lot cooler then getting frostbitten ears and walking around with beige bare blotchy legs.

For one, try investing in a sheepskin jacket. Being cosy and hardwearing, sheepskin has come into the fashion limelight this winter. The ideal chic winter warmer, though, is its twin brother, the shearling gilet. Worn with jeans or over dresses, it adds instant boho style. Details such as buckles, large collars and zips are key to keeping the look modern. Balance the bulky look with slim-fitting trousers or skinny jeans.

For comfort in the most fashionable sense, this season sees strong knitwear pieces in every shape and form from chunky or sleek, plain or patterned, in most high street stores. As natural fibres are among the warmest you can wear, wool and cashmere pieces are wardrobe essentials. This winter, it's best to be bold with your choices, whether you opt for chunky, complex-knitted cardigans a la Missoni, or sleek merino jumpers from Madeleine Press.

For the more colourful types, patterned knots are back, with Fair Isle the most popular style. Metallic, vivid or muted, the choice is vast.

And for those who are bound to hit the slopes, the majority of designers now have collections to make you look your best both on and off piste. Skiwear is becoming increasingly stylish, with Pucci, Prada and Tommy Hilfiger all producing their own lines that are perfect fusion of function and fashion.

18 January 2005

What to do with unwanted gifts

Christmas may be over, but the lingering of unwanted gifts will be ringing in the new year. A scene from the first Brigit Jones film springs to mind, where, at a family Christmas gathering, Colin Firth was wearing a horrid deer-pattern knit given to him by his mother, feeling obliged to wear it to the party. The ultimate fashion faux-pas!

But what to do with unwanted presents? They don't need to go to the back of the wardrobe or to the charity shop in the nearest high street. Thanks to the latest trend from the United States, you can exchange those undesirable jumpers at special fashion parties. Swapping, it seems, is the new shopping. At "bitch'n'swap" parties women get together in one of their own homes, drink, gossip and swap their cast-offs. Not a bad way to get rid of clothes that neither suit your taste nor size.

Perhaps an idea for a new internet site…

28 December 2004


A contemporary Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all and don't forget to don your gas mask. The latest in specialist Christmas shops can be found in The Aquarium, also known as The No Glory Gallery in London's W1. The shop is called Blackstuff.

According to owner Jimmy Cauty the shop's theme is government-induced terror. The products are inspired by government leaflets delivered to British homes this year. The leaflets informed home owners on how to behave in the case of a terrorist attack. Products include the Bunker Buster Jigsaw Puzzle (a limited edition of 100, signed and numbered where each of the puzzles has a piece missing), terror aware tea towels, ties and handkerchiefs for use in case of attack, Christmas cards, fridge magnets, stickers, emergency food, batteries and candles. Also included are numerous images of the queen wearing a gas mask.

29 November 2004


Sparkle At Christmas

The time to think about Christmas, office parties and glamorous nights out is not far away. Think of key pieces that will keep you sexy and stylish throughout the day and night. As it's the season for shopping, socialising and stress, there's no need to wait until Santa's arrival to get your wardrobe organised. Whatever you've arranged for Christmas, though, it's the perfect time of year to wear something sparkly, so investing in a sequinned top and teaming it with great jeans, high heels, funky belt and classic leather bag will see you through whatever occasion.

Throw on a gilet, sheepskin boots and a chunky scarf for a post-indulgence walk or a sneaky stroll to the pub.Go glam in the evening with a chiffon dress and pearls, then see out the day with a cocktail - or two. Add a feminine touch with this season's elegant silk and satin accessories in berry or mauve colours and confidently step into a fashionable 2005.

27 October 2004


Green With Envy

Update your winter wardrobe with all things green. From juicy lime to elegant olive, autumn's coolest colour will turn you into a green goddess.

For the most sumptuous green, head to Chloe for beautiful silk chiffon floaty dresses. Luisa Beccaria encapsulates the 50s look with green velvets and bowtie blouses. Top Shop does a great wool tweed double breasted jacket for a mere GBP45.

7 September 2004



A new season has arrived. The quintessential time of year where the new trends are set and the highstreet is doing its best to meet the catwalk criteria. This doesn't mean, however, that you have to throw out last year's wardrobe and start over. FashionUnited's insider's guide will show you the trends that are ongoing and those that need to be put on hold.

New this season are chunky knits, tweed and everything fur-trimmed. Neutral shades of wool cardigans are worn peasant-style over dresses or pretty tops. Belted high in the waist, they are perfect for the lady-like looks this season. Designers flooded the catwalk with tweed this winter, but it was anything but bland or old-fashioned. The brighter and funkier they are, the better. Opt for a coat or wide-leg trousers.

Bring back round-toe shoes, skinny belts and corsages. Mary-Jane shoes are great for day-to-night shoes and you probably have a pair or two that you didn't wear last year. Skinny belts are back too, except this time they are worn in an empire-line style, as seen at Miu Miu. Flower corsages are in fashion for yet another season. Wear them on jackets or on jeans. Vintage and rustic looks are still on trend. Crocheted cardigans with ribbon detailing are very now.

The summer's trend for bright, patent accessories is finally over and should be pushed to the back of the wardrobe. Vivid bags and patent shoes don't fit with the ladylike mood as looks are more muted and natural. Marc Jacobs' retro looks of last season and anything too sporty or 60s is over this season. Forget, too, bold geometric prints, and go for something softer and more feminine.

11 August 2004


New Mood, New Fashion

The catwalk collections from autumn/winter 2004 will soon be hitting the shops and next season's trends are the talk of the town. There is a new mood in fashion that is moving away from the girlie looks that have dominated the London shows for the last few seasons, making for an exciting shift in fashion dynamics.

The national press seem to be no less obsessed that designers such as Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and John Galliano have defected London Fashion Week to show in Paris, but reports from the catwalks show that London is very much on the map when it comes to fashion and is a seedbed of creativity. International buyers and press still flock to the capital to as it is still the dominant city where new talent emanates from.

The autumn/winter catwalks showed that the key looks for winter are definitely polished and grown-up. Be inspired by elegant film-star tailoring with a serious attitude. Think military-inspired shapes but with feminine detailing.

The silhouette is definitely about figure-hugging shapes, sometimes layered with sheer chiffon for a fluid look, with the base tailored or fitted. Masculine versus feminine - such as a tailored pant suit with a sheer ruffled shirt will be a treat for evening. Hourglass jackets, wrap coats, capes and ponchos and drainpipe trousers are key pieces for the winter season. Dresses have added texture such as layers, draping or irregular hemlines.

For colours think rich autumn shades. Pumpkin and yellow, copper and antique gold, plum and prune, and rich emerald green-tones.

For the ultimate Brit look choose fabrics in tweed, tartan or fabrics that wrap twist and drape.

It is evident that the girlie look of past seasons is being replaced by a slicker, neater silhouette. Next season is very 1940s; elegant and classy, totally different from this summer's freer look.

30 June 2004


Spring Coat Trend

The antidote to winter's humdrum and boring colours, the spring coat trend could not be better timed. From the polka-dot nouveau vintage coat at Marc by Marc Jacobs to the psychedelia print by Eley kishimoto, there are plenty of choices for colour and patterns this season. Even Hermes and Burberry have gotten on the fashion bandwagon with tangerine and candyfloss pink macs. Let's just pray it will rain.

1 April 2004


Next Big Thing

Next season is all about tweed. A classic winter fabric that can look very sexy when it's beautifully cut. Shown on both the catwalks in New York and London, get your Harris Tweed coat before they are destined to sell out!

20 February 2004


Perfect Spring Outfit

With spring just around the corner, it is time to wean off those chunky cashmere knits and restyle to a light and breezy wardrobe. The skirt for spring is a flippy, flirty mini best teamed with cool tanks and halter-neck tops. Jackets are super-smart blazers worn with jeans and bright-coloured shoes. Trousers are wide-legged and low-waisted and can be turned up when worn with heels and chunky belt. Avoid them if you're vertically challenged, as a wide leg will make you look even shorter.

10 February 2004


Spring Fashion Tips

The next six months may offer some of the prettiest clothes we've seen in ages, making scope for dressing to suit individual shapes: full skirts, pencil skirts, flares, drainpipes, 1930s, 1920s, elements of punk - its all there. But beware; some trends are meant to be avoided (i.e. tie-dye, prom dresses and luxe sports suits).

You can't go wrong, however, with a printed dress, skirt or top. The bolder the print the better. Look out for kitsch 1950s tourist-souvenir prints a la Prada.

Wear them with round-toed, suede shoes, possibly gilt trimmed. Great with vintage-y dresses or jeans.

If you didn't buy a trench coat last year, do so this year. Especially one with a warm (and preferably detachable) lining, such as Burberry's. Pricey perhaps, but definitely a long-term investment. Otherwise a cropped jacket with three-quarter length sleeves.

Almost every colour is big this spring, from café au lait to yellow, with lots of murky Prada colours - saffron, bronze and brown - making pastels look horribly madame-esque. Still, if pastels look best on you, those Prada shades might be chic, but do not go well with pale skin. Something leaf or green - probably a bag or shoes - will prove versatile, colour-wise.

9 January 2003


Summer in the City

Deciding what to wear on holiday is easy. If you are travelling to a warm and exotic climate, you pack accordingly: sandals, summer dresses and sexy beach gear. Similarly, if you book a ski holiday, out come the cashmere polonecks and long-johns. But as not all of us have the privilege of jetting off to Capri or Cape Town, it takes a lot more effort to dress in a city where summer translates into high humidity and warm, volatile temperatures.

With the weather as predictable as next season's trends, feeling comfortable is of utmost importance. Silk dresses are great for those humid days, and, worn with a pair of Patrick Cox sandals, you can leave the office for your evening soiree without having to change. For a more formal look, try Louis Vuitton's raw silk jacket in pale grey. Whilst the fabric doesn't constrict your breathing, you can keep your cool at work and still look chic. John Smedley sea-island cotton tops are sexy casual when teamed with a twill skirt, but look smart when worn with narrow trousers from All Saints.

Men should opt for lightweight suits or cotton shirts. A short sleeve shirt is probably too wishy-washy for the office, so a long sleeve t-shirt by Hedi Slimane for Dior worn with a Dries van Noten blue linen jacket will look smarter. For the classic look try Ralph Lauren's navy blazer and faded antique floral shirts. After a stuffy day in your air-conditioned office, evening's looks can be more playful, like the sheer and panelled tops from Helmut Lang and Calvin Klein - or for the more adventurous - Gucci's lush satin kimono.
<Don-Alvin Adegeest>

18 June 2002