Friday, 19 September 2014

The Perfect Grey Jumper

I could talk wistfully about the marvels of grey jumpers for hours.  I could write so many blog posts.  I could write poetry (nothing too epic but possibly a short book of haikus).  I've optimistically titled this post "The Perfect Grey Jumper" but I'm kidding myself that there's only one.  There are hundreds.

A good grey jumper solves outfit troubles like nothing else.  A  crew neck knit with a breast pocket and layered over a button-down shirt is always preppy but chic.  A ribbed polo neck means you can wear skimpy stuff without freezing your tits off in winter.  A lovely cosy grey marl sweatshirt thrown over something glitzy makes sequins daytime appropriate.

I reckon I'm going to have to add this over-sized slouchy Zara v-neck to my collection.  Aiming for something that looks like you've borrowed it from a boy is normally a safe bet.  I would urge the trying on of knitwear before buying, because store sizing is basically obsolete here; if you want it baggier, buy a much bigger size than you would normally.  Equally, if it's drowning you and you'd rather it was a little bit cropped, don't hesitate to buy smaller.

This is the last in my mini-series of posts on interpreting the faux fur and woolly mammoth knitwear trend for IRL and I've come to the conclusion that my general rule is to go more relaxed with jumpers but keep jackets or coats structured to avoid looking like a pile of coats left on the bed at a party.  Such insight.

styling up a slouchy grey jumperLeather and transparent PU mini satchel: £65 & Other Stories  Deep V-neck grey jumper: £35.99 Zara  Laser-cut leather top: £79.99 Mango  Matte cut-out bangle:  £19 Cos  
Block heel leather boots: £135  Cos  Lime wool mini skirt: £25 Marks and Spencer

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Faux fur trim: Nineties style

The nineties revival has had its highs (chunky footwear, slip dresses, checked skirts, velvet, backpacks) and its lows (scrunchies, bandanas, spaghetti straps, camo print, handkerchief hems).  

I'm yet to decided which camp mood rings belong in because, somewhat ironically, those things are an emotional minefield.  Am I calm and loveable or honest and devoted?  I JUST DON'T KNOW.

The best nods to the nineties have been mainly tricks stolen from grunge, only this time with better hair.  But this winter's faux furs and fluffy jumpers are in-keeping with the preppy Americana end of the nineties spectrum.  Think Clueless, Empire Records and early seasons of Friends.  This look is the goody two shoes at her first keg party, not the cool stoner who likes Nirvana.

You don't want to look like you're wearing a costume - unless you're going to a Halloween party as dead Cher, in which case, KUDOS - so it's important not to go too over the top.  If Rachel Green would wear it, it's all good.  If Phoebe would, maybe re-think things.  Handy Pinterest board here for some more inspiration.

Fur trim is a good way to channel the vibe without overdoing it, and without over-heating under all that man-made fluff. Plus it's less bulky, which is helpful if you're petite.  Keeping everything else pared back is also a good call, but I couldn't resist these fluffy socks. 

This Antipodium fur trim cardigan is great - wear it zipped all the way up, or a little undone with only a bra underneath.  After all, Renée Zellweger as Gina wouldn't try to seduce Rex Manning whilst wearing a vest.

empire records 90s style
Chartreuse cardigan with faux fur collar: £165 Antipodium at ASOS 
Black pleated faux leather skirt: £135 Whistles  Gold choker: £55 Tarr and Fether  
Black textured socks:  £7.99 Zara  Blue snakeskin-print court shoes: £39.99 Zara

Monday, 15 September 2014

Why you need a bruise-coloured coat

If you can get your head around faux furs this autumn, brightly coloured ones might just be a step too far.  But I am making it my mission to find a wearable coat that isn't black or grey before winter hits us with an icy slap in the face.

The disadvantage of coats in non-neutral colours is that, in general,  they look much better against bare legs than black tights.  The alternatives are risky: skin-coloured tights are an abomination and sheerer black ones only really look good if you shell out on a few high-end pairs.

Luckily for everyone, I've come up with an definitive, absolutely bullet-proof way to reconcile coloured coats with black opaques.  The key is to veer away from straight-up pastel and towards something with a cold blue or green base.  In practical terms, this means buying a coat in a shade that could legitimately appear at some point during the life-cycle of a really spectacular bruise.  Amethyst, greyish-mauve, steely blue and deep plum, or the last bruise-y shadows of mossy chartreuse and creamy avocado are all flattering options.

My epiphany may or may not be related to the stunner I currently have accessorizing my right knee after not paying attention where I was going and sprawling over a payment in King's Cross, surrounded by the innards of my handbag and possibly suffering a mild concussion from when my head bounced off the kerb.  But I'm standing by it either way, head injury or no head injury.

The good news is that bluey-purples seem to be in this season. There are more shades to play with than last year's pink craze and there are definitely some more subtle options around.  If (like me) you already own a plethora of grey coats, a dusky lilac is a good way to mix it up without straying too far into cartoon territory.  The one I've picked from Whistles is a dead ringer for the morning after sustaining an injury: right when the general outline of the bruise is visible, but before that deep maroon has really blossomed.  

This is how I'd wear it for the next month or so, but come November, I'll stick a black polo-neck and opaques underneath.  And some sensible shoes - because bruise-coloured coats do not need to be accompanied by actual bruises.

bruise coloured coatMauve textured cocoon coat: £325 Whistles  Clear plastic  clutch: £40 Skinny Dip at ASOS  
Lilac sequinned top: £195 Whistles  Lilac suede A-line mini skirt: £50 (was £95) Topshop  Turquoise leather and silver watch: £75 Skagen at H Samuel

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Facing up to faux fur

My second post on autumnal textures includes a soft faux fur coat...even though I understand, particularly as a short person, that it's hard not to look like a rolled up rug while wearing one.  

A friend made me try on a spearmint coloured short faux fur jacket in Zara this week and shouted "ha ha ha Cookie Monster!" before giving me a cuddle that was frankly too enthusiastic for a public place. 

For this post, I've picked a bomber jacket shape to give the fur some structure, and mixed up the textures in the rest of the outfit for balance.  A leather skirt is great to offset a slightly silly coat.

Zara is a one-stop shop for black leather or pleather skirt options at the moment because the range is vast.  From mini to maxi and from pleats to pencil, they have it all covered and the prices aren't outrageous.  For a change from black, I love this dark green, petrol-y skirt from ASOS Premium. 

It was a black full midi skirt that came home with me from Zara in the end - namely because it bore an uncanny resemblance to one I'd fallen into a passionate but ultimately unrequited love affair with in Whistles.  I have since discovered that full skirts in heavier fabrics tend to set off both automatic sanitary towel disposal units, and automatic flushes in toilet cubicles.  Which has really made me consider what it'll be like when the computers take over.

When clothes are so soft it feels like you're wearing a giant cushion, I like to keep accessories sleek, shiny and hard (not like that).  Plastic or metal and clean lines should stop you looking like the WI knitted you.

black faux fur bomber jacketLong-line faux fur bomber jacket: £160 Atterley Road  Silver cracked leather 
clutch: £65 Whistles  Dark green leather skirt: £150 ASOS Premium  
Grey block-print mohair jumper: £89 Cos  Silver arch necklace: £60 Datter Industries

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Autumn: It's all about the textures

You'll struggle to flick through a glossy magazine this month without finding an editorial on faux fur clothes and hairy accessories.  They're all gorgeous luxurious spreads shot against stark backdrops with a lithe model swaddled in fluffy layers and huge knits.

The buzzwords are "texture", "bold" and "colourful".  Not everything is from Shrimps but the brand is definitely the starting point; wearing fur these days (real/fake/vintage/new) isn't about looking like you've just wrestled a poor critter to death in the woods.  Instead, it's about as realistic as Joan Rivers' ageing process.

The editorials look great but I'm definitely getting the feeling that it's a trend that doesn't translate as easily from catwalk to real life as the fashion editors think.  It's all very well for them to rock up to work looking like Furbies from the future but it's not a look that will be welcomed everywhere, nor is it very affordable.

Places it will not be welcome, for example, may include buses.  Or the Tube.  Or anywhere where you will be in close quarters with strangers who do not want to encounter your trendy-but-tickly outerwear during their commute.

But textures are fun to play with if you mix and match rather than overloading on the neon pelts.  The current bipolar weather is perfect for putting a brave face on bare legs but doing so with more durable fabrics:  leather, suede and jacquard, while adding something snuggly over the top.

I've interpreted the trend by picking picked some of the most wearable textured pieces in shops right now and putting together five different looks which shouldn't result in being laughed out of the office.  I''ll be posting them over the next week so everyone is nicely inspired for the first payday of Autumn.

autumn styleShearling coat: £75 ASOS  Lime green fine knit roll-neck jumper: £45 Cos  
Tortoiseshell resin necklace:  £55 Whistles  Pleated checked mini skirt: £39.50 Marks and Spencer  Grey and white striped thick socks: £5.99 Zara