With the phased relaxation of lockdown taking place you, like me, will probably be wondering how we will adjust to the new normal and what will the new ways of shopping look like? One thing’s for sure, if we have learnt anything from this stressful time, it’s that we all need to stick together and shop local.
Retailers are trying to put their best foot forward, albeit from behind screened counters. Still, they will be under severe pressure to shift some of their fabulous summer stock so with massive sales expected, now is your opportunity to pick up a real bargain and help your local retailer while you’re at it.
Even if shopping may have been the furthest thing from your mind, by now the novelty of working in tracksuit bottoms and elasticated loungewear – or as it’s now called WFH (Working From Home wear) is well worn off, and you’re bound to crave something fresh and something different. Something new! What we need now are careful buys that answer all our wardrobe needs– useful, comfortable, low maintenance, but also transforming.
Waves in the fashion industry
I can’t help but notice that the whole fashion industry is changing. Firstly, the boundaries between seasons are becoming much less defined. Designers are creating clothes that you can wear twelve months a year. Even the classic trench coat is front and centre for summer 2020. And second of all, behind the desire for more classic timeless pieces there is no doubt, the topic on sustainability and the challenge in finding new ways to produce and create clothes is pushing ahead the whole conversation on conscious dressing.
The focus right now might be on sensible dressing, but that doesn’t mean we’re not ready for a bit of retail therapy and yes, clothes that ‘sparks joy’ is a totally valid need. Clothes are an outward way of saying who we are, by changing how you dress can be a way of portraying how you see yourself and your new life out of COVID-19. Our shopping habits will have changed. We will want to buy things that nobody else has, that are more special and personal to us. Here are some ideas to help you on your way. My mantra is “keep it simple but never boring”.
The power of colour
Firstly, ditch the black. There is no better way to brighten the mood than adding a splash of colour. It is hugely important to how you feel and how others relate to you. Buttery yellow is my favourite colour – and it has been the bestselling shade during this global pandemic. It is the colour of optimism – when I put it on, it always cheers me up.
In Zoom calls you are more likely to be seen from the chest up so bring colour right up to the neckline be it a bright coloured top, a summer dress, or a piece of jewellery that will make you look confident and more productive. This Summer palette can sometimes resemble a tequila sunrise with bright pinks, yellows and warm tangerine orange. So let the sun shine in.
Our relationship with this formal two-piece is as strong as ever. This season it comes in relaxed tailoring, deconstructed, mannish – each brand did their take on the wardrobe classic. Shorts suits and skirt suits prove just as popular as the trouser suit.
The resurrection of the waistcoat – yes, you have heard correctly! Several designers, including Max Mara, layered them as part of their three-piece suit. So elegant and chic. It can be worn alone for a formal event or the most refreshing Seventies flair layer over a crepe de chine blouse with puff sleeves.
The right lacy blouse will add a fresh and glamorous touch to your tailored trousers or denim jeans. Wear under a jacket or cardigan or with the latest faux leather culotte style trousers.
Now that we are visible to the world from the waist-up only, why not make the most of it by wearing the 70s wide pointed collars on shirts an blazers and details such as puff Sleeves on everything from long sleeve dresses to blouses and shirts. The wide flared styles that end midway between the wrist and elbow will give the illusion of a slimmer waist and adds an instant feminine touch.
When it comes to necklines, off-the-shoulder is where it’s at. Show off the décolletage and as much of the shoulder area as possible. It could be as simple as a loose shouldered sweater or a wide V-neck dress in a slippery fabric. A good place to start is with a cardi or lightweight jumper with slip-off potential. A chunky necklace or oversized chains will also draw attention to the all-important collarbone area.
The Trench Coat
We aren’t done with reinventing the trench coat just yet either. It was hard to find a runaway that didn’t include some form of the classic summer staple, from trench style dresses to waistcoats to the blazer-meets-trench option.
The Logo T-shirt
To cheer yourself up logo T-shirts are very trendy, to be worn with peasant-style skirts and your favourite runners, sandals or high heels.
Impress with a Dress
Great dresses are the backbone of every wardrobe but finding the right one can become a minefield. The smock style with its loose draping fabric and slouchy fit, that typically hits the slimmest part of the calf is universally flattering and distracts from any lumps and bumps.
A cotton day dress or floral printed midi style that you can chuck in the wash should be top of your list. You’ll more than likely be wearing it while sitting on the grass out in the back garden or to a barbecue so choose styles in light, breathable fabrics that will keep you cool and comfortable, opt for soft colours or gingham print.
For a bohemian-inspired look team your tiered prairie styles or trapeze-shape with ankle boots.
Wrap styles (tied tighter or looser) are always chic and can be a smart office staple with their luxe fabrics and long sleeves.
The shirt dress works for all body types. It is well worth spending the money on good quality fabric with the option to add your own belt depending on your shape. For a laid-back look team with white sneakers – Yes, dresses with trainers is totally a thing this year! Forget your stilettos that sink into the grass, or strappy sandals that pinch your toes, a simple wedge espadrille is the ideal footwear for any summer gathering.
The Boiler Suit
We were already in boiler suit territory BC, so if dresses aren’t for you, the waist-skimming potential of a boiler suit or a loose-fit culotte style one-piece that can work both formal and casual is the ideal solution.
Spots or bold florals work the best, and a wide leg will bridge that gap between comfortable and stylish. If the boiler suit isn’t age-appropriate aim for the all-in-one jumpsuit in an easy fit. This versatile wonder is suitable for weddings, garden parties and with that all-essential blazer makes for a stylish office look as well.
High-waisted, loose trousers will have you sitting comfortably this summer, or the baggy tent-like styles in more relaxed fabrics like linen or crepe. The extra fabric provides breathability, and a three-quarter length crop will be perfect for showing off any new block heel shoes purchased in quarantine.