I’ve Been Collared!

I feel like I’ve been harping on about sheer shirts, so it seems only right for me to finally write about this trend. Last year we did the boyfriend and ‘oh so comfy’ flannel but, as you’ll probably have noticed, this year fashion got frumpy. In A/W 2010 the only way to wear your shirt is buttoned up.

I have many style icons, past and present, but no matter how hard I’ve tried I can’t help

Alexa buttons up nicely...

but look to Alexa Chung for trendspiration. I have a girl crush. There, I said it. And she definitely pops her collar.

The best thing about being buttoned up (apart from keeping out those winter chills) is that you don’t really need anything new; ideal if, like me, you’ve been saving your pennies for Christmas presents. A crisp white shirt is surely a wardrobe staple and all you need to do, is do it up. It really is that simple. If you don’t have one handy, a wee trick I learned from a stylist a few years back: go to a charity shop get any white shirt and cut the collar off. Then you have a ‘collar necklace’ that can be teemed with high-necked jumpers and dresses to cheat the look.

Jill Sander for Uniqlo

At first this ‘look’ might seem matronly or even slightly schoolgirl but paired with the right elements (a little bit like over the knee socks) there’s no reason for this trend to look contrived. And a shirt goes with everything, from carrot pants to shorts and mini shirts. Wear your buttoned-up-shirt tucked into high-waisters or go floaty and romantic and a little less well behaved… I’ve been wearing mine with some leather shorts and last year’s black with gold bobble jumper from Topshop (A/W 09) or with a black ribbon as a tie to add detail to the neckline.

I’ve a feeling that this trend might well run into the Spring (and Summer, given the British weather) so I reckon it’s probably worth buttoning down for the long haul!

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Camel Couture

I keep hearing that Camel is the new black. It’s almost as though all the big designers got together over a skinny, extra tall, double shot latte and thought mmmm let’s re-name beige ‘Camel’ and everyone will just LOVE it.

In the past, when talking fashion the word ‘Camel’ didn’t tend to have such great

A/W 10 at Chloe

connotations, it could usually be found followed by the word toe. Not a good look. Once you manage to put that thought out of your head, however, there is something luxurious about this trend: a kind of retro elegance that conjures images of beautiful, wealthy Italian women in long wool coats. Or is that just me? Better that than used-car salesman, given there is a lot of shearling around too!

The buzz about it being the new black has to do with the fact that you can wear it top totoe as seen at Chloe (pictured) or keep to specific wardrobe staples like coats, bags and shoes. And it goes with everything.

I fancy this long-line cardy from ASOS (£30)

Camel can feel grown up (didn’t your Granny tell you ‘to invest in a good camel coat’?) although, it’s not for everyone. I think there are probably two key factors in making Camel couture work for you:

  • The first is to choose a shade that works with your skin tone.  I prefer the warmer hues because I’m blonde, whereas brunettes can get away with some of the lighter shades (think Jackie Onnasis).
  • The second is to play around with textures and proportions. It is a colour that needs a good fabric and looks best in silks, wools and cashmere.

Camel is clearly having a fashion moment but don’t take the hump Black, it will probably all be over by next year!

Sock it to Me

I know I should love lingerie (what with being a girl and everything) but knickers are what get men hot under the collar, for me the undergarment to get excited about is the sock. I’m delighted, therefore, that this winters the world has gone hosiery crazy; with knee high and thigh high socks being the latest leg attire of choice for the fashion forward.

I'm so excited OTN socks are back in, I'm practically doing cartwheels..

Last year, the king of shoes ‘the thigh boot’ made a brief appearance, but the trend didn’t really catch on. I think it was partly practical: it looked hot (and felt it too) but a leg clad entirely in leather made walking a little difficult. Fashion laughing in the face of pedantics or podiatry isn’t anything new. Thankfully, though, this winter it’s all about a softer take on the trend; keeping the lanky silhouette but with the more flattering approach of long socks, heels or boots. So, grab you yourself a pair, pull ‘em high and wiggle your tootsies in delight.

Now, I’m not a big fan of being told how to do something (it’s true, I was a nightmare teenager) mainly because it is usually those that break the fashion rules that say the most about style. However, given that it is a trend that can be associated with schoolgirls, football socks and those things people wear on planes to stop DVT… I thought it might be helpful to give a few small steps towards the hows and wear’s of this season’s socks:

Pick the length wisely: in the same way you would with skirts. Over the knee socks are a focal point and draw attention to your (gorgeous) pins!

Well heeled? Knee socks look girly with heels, strong with knee-high boots and cute with flats.

Beware the bulge… fold down the top of the socks if they are at all tight around your thigh or knees, high socks are slimming but a thigh squeeze can be as unsightly as a muffin top.

Shorter hemlines are best. If you can, be daring, as they expose more leg and imply greater height.

Avoid big knitted socks: not only are they so 2007 (seriously) but I never really liked them anyway; big chunky knits make legs look like sausages. Not so tasty.

Don’t be afraid to layer: it’s really in this year, it keeps you cosy and knee socks worn over sheer, patterned tights can add a whole new dimension to an outfit.  (There’s also some fab ‘fake’ over the knee tights kicking around like these by Henry Holland at Topshop http://www.topshop.com/tights)

Say no to the Schoolgirl look, unless you are. Over the knee and short kilts might work for Gossip Girl but you’ll barely be able to get down the street without wolf whistles, salacious remarks and people presuming you’re in fancy dress.