Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Return of the Max

The end of summer is a funny, conflicting time. As a hangover from my school and university days, I'm filled with both new season hope and new term dread. I'm plagued by nightmares of school exams yet eager for crisp mornings and cosy evenings. Sartorially speaking, I mourn the loss of breezy summer outfits but excitedly welcome the return of layers and my favourite jackets. Unleashing your new season wardrobe has all the thrill of a shiny new uniform without the inevitable and depressing realisation that, shit, it's just that same old shapeless blue jumper again.

Autumn/Winter is the maximalist's time to shine. You can layer to your heart's content; piling on the prints and textures as the mercury drops. Warm weather is great but gingham against stripes against leopard print is far more exciting. Despite this summer's best attempts to hold on, losing just a few degrees to September's grasp has significantly broadened the horizons of my wardrobe. Double, and even triple, layers are on the cards again, satisfying my need to squeeze as much into any given outfit as possible.

L - Jeans (both): Monki, T-shirt: Vintage, Dress: & Other Stories via charity shop (customised), Boots: Zara, Scarf & Bag: Vintage | R - Shirt: Vintage via Depop, Halterneck: Charity shop, Necklace: Vintage via Depop, Shoes: Paul Smith

Defying custom and starting on the right, the halterneck over shirt combination was this season's first foray into layering. It may look like the height of summer in the photo - it was gloriously golden and perfect lounging on stairs weather - but the extra layer was perfect for the chills that tentatively loitered in the shadows and on the breeze. 

Moving on, the outfit on the left is my favourite thing I've worn in a long time. I lusted after the Memphis-esque graphic print dress when it was first available in & Other Stories but I was unspeakably poor at the time and so doomed to admire it from afar. Luckily, I happened upon it in my local Oxfam for only £8 a couple of weeks ago; a win for historical me. It was a slip dress but, as an irregular dress wearer, I decided to slice it up and turn it into the most perfect layering piece I have ever owned. Paired with my favourite vintage space t-shirt, my Marge Simpson does Chanel jacket and current go-to jeans, it made me briefly wish I was the type of person who interested the paparazzi just so that it was fully documented. (When they failed to show, I deployed my Instagram husband and reassessed my ego.)

So, yes the nights are drawing in and cold days are edging closer but the scope of my wardrobe is expanding by the day and that seems like a fair trade to me.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Do I Want a Hoodie?

I bought my first hoodie when I was 11 and entering my seminal grebo phase. I felt like a serious (albeit harmless, 11-year-old) rebel walking around in my black, oversized Linkin Park hoodie, probably paired with huge corduroy loons and a bandana in my hair. It was extremely fetching, especially when accented with the black eye shadow I later took to wearing. But hoodies soon became the mark of the type of teenagers that petrified the Tories and then soon after that they dissolved into ubiquity and I never rekindled my love for them. Until now.

Over the past few weeks I've found myself hankering after a hoodie. But do I actually want one or has their presence on the catwalk and the torsos of fashion's coolest just tricked me into thinking I do?

Images: Pop Sugar, The Telegraph

Images: Vogue

It's not a new trend. Kanye has rinsed the oversized hoodie with every passing Yeezy season, Vetements have had the audacity to charge £500 plus for theirs and it's become the uniform of choice for every off-duty model. From Lacoste to Marc Jacobs and Ashley Williams, they've been very much present on the SS17 catwalks and they are most definitely an established trend way beyond fashion's inner circle. But still, despite the fact that they may well be already 'done', there's something so appealing about a hood peaking over the collar of a trench or the slouchy proportions dressing down a pair of tailored flares.

The only thing is, I never wear sportswear. I used to wear trainers almost every day and had a growing selection of vintage Adidas but now trainers only make an appearance at the gym and the Adidas collection has become my lougewear. Surely, then, it's fashion working its magic. The same magic that makes us want to throw away our wardrobes and start again every season. (Either that or it's my predilection for all things cosy because don't they look so impossibly cosy when they're tucked up around someone's ears and pulled down over their hands?) 

So if I succumb to fashion's spell, how will I wear my hoodie? Well, definitely not on its own with bare legs for starters. That look is best left to Rihanna with her infinite confidence, seriously great legs and eternal close proximity to a warm, chauffeur driven car. As I alluded to before, it's the contrast that I like, so I won't be going full sportswear or full Yeezy, instead, I'll be layering mine over shirts or under blazers and tailored coats. And if I had an uncapped budget this is what that would look like...

L: Hoodie: Topshop, Shirt: Marni, Skirt: Gucci, Bag: Mark Cross, Boots: Alexandre Birman | R Suit: J Crew, Hoodie: Off-White, Bag & Shoes: Stella McCartney

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Curious Case of the Fashion Singular

The fashion lexicon is a thing all of its own. There's talk of diaphanous silks, jarring textures, theatrical silhouettes and unapologetic volume. I wholeheartedly indulge in this somewhat absurdly lyrical rhetoric because I think fashion can be genuinely magical, and slightly OTT write ups are my ode to all of those collections that make my heart stop for a split second. I think a beautifully crafted dress deserves to be described as 'striking in its fluidity' or 'a densely layered exercise in modern decadence'. Fashion is poetic and at times ridiculous and so too can be the language to describe and pay tribute to it.

That said, there is one element of the fashion vocabulary which I will not partake in and that is the fashion singular. For the unaware, when I say fashion singular, I'm talking about certain editors' and designers' propensity to refer to 'a boot' or 'a jean'. This particular linguistic quirk seems to be exclusive to the fashion and beauty industries. Never have I heard my dentist refer to 'a gum' or a chef say that 'a noodle' is the perfect foundation for a stir fry and yet it prevails in design studios and magazine offices throughout the style universe.  

What works with a cropped jean? An ankle boot. How do you dress up a casual trouser? A heel. Want a new stand out look? Try a statement sleeve. Want to look subtly sexy? How about an exposed shoulder? Need a flash of colour? Debut a bold lip.

So why do people insist on using this awful phraseology? Well, I have an unscientific theory, which I have taken precisely no steps to prove and here it is:

Almost everyone, on some level, partakes in fashion. Most people have an idea of what they like to put with what, and almost everyone can go to the high street and pull a trend-led outfit from the rails. In many ways, fashion belongs to everyone, so how do industry insiders set themselves apart from the 'amateurs'? They create a language to establish a sense of authority. 

Your mate might say she's going to wear some boots with her dress but an expert would suggest toughening up a simple dress with a chunky boot. You might stick on some trainers with a denim dress but an editor might prompt you to add a sports luxe edge with a fresh white trainer. A patent boot or a blouson sleeve sound more like tools of the trade and less like something anyone can get their hands on in Topshop. It conveys a sense of knowledge and credibility. Unfortunately, it also sounds completely ludicrous. Do we wear only one boot or a single trouser leg? Do we pop on only one sleeve or sport a solitary heel? No. So it needs to stop. Immediately.

Please, just let boots be boots.