TRAIL BLAZERS

Everyone needs a blazer or two. Instantly ‘posh up’ your jeans or add some slick chic to most outfits by throwing a tux over your shoulders. No, it’s nothing new or revolutionary, but Lady Diana’s go-to jacket is massive right now and if you buy well, you can be sure to have a wardrobe classic that you’ll be wearing for years.  

For a long time my city ‘uniform’ has been jeans, a shirt or t-shirt, cowboy boots, brogues or heels and a jacket with the sleeves scrunched up and loads of jewellery. Occasionally I alternate the jeans with shorts, or stick the jacket over a short dress, but unless I’m in the tropics and it’s baking hot, generally there’s a jacket involved.

Like stylish safety blankets, they can be flung on, over anything to smarten up jeans/hide some lumps/toughen up a girly dress/bring together a print mix/get an upgrade (not happened yet, but they do say… and I live in hope) and I have arsenal of them in plaids, grey linen, denim, raspberry, camel, tweed, boucle, velvet, cotton, seersucker, sequinned, ice cream seller candy stripes… and 12 black ones. There, I said it; I own 12 black jackets.  (coats and leather bikers not included).

Caroline de Maigret has a few jackets too…

If I were only allowed to keep three, I would have to choose my Hugo Boss Tuxedo (slightly oversized with a satin collar detail and the nearest I have come to Le Smoking thus far); the Skinny Fit Joseph Blazer (shiny black, shrunken fit, lightweight, good for any given day); my Emanuel Ungaro tweedy brocade (hip length, lined, warm, doubles as a coat in fall, looks like Chanel, brilliant with jeans, or with a slip dress); Vintage Armani (mannish, loose fit, hip length, two vintage moth holes, but if I keep my right arm down no one knows)… But oops that’s four – but I have mulled this over on a number of occasions and my selection often differs, and that’s why I can’t give any of them up and in fact usually end up acquiring another one, and why I’m not opposed to adding to my collection either, so I’m looking at 3 current Blazer trends to play with and maybe I can retire a few to storage for a while.   

 

BLAZER AND BRALETTE /CROP

The crop or brallete works well with both close fitted, or loose ‘Borrowed from your Dad’ sized blazers, but the key is in keeping your pants or skirt high waisted.

Above from left to right: Altuzarra Spring Summer; Red! (Flo Ruffle); Helena Bordon absolutely owning Blazer & Bralette; Sneakers, print and knotted tee (Grace f Victory, Instagram); Altuzarra; White tux and black lace (Lookastic blog); Young and cute grunge with a woven plaid blazer balanced just at the hem of her skirt (Wild and Vintage); Kendal Jenner working luxurious textures in Balmain x H&M; and Lourde, a couple of years ago (See.. classic!)

 

HERITAGE CHECKS AND PLAID

Heritage is still going strong, but pep up your plaids with some edgy styling, a big bang of colour, or some clashing print (see Lou Doillon above for details)

Above from left to right: skinnies and emerald boots (photo, Sandra Semburg); the cult Zara blazer; Lou Doillon mixing it up French girl style; thigh high white stocking-boots and flared twist on the Blazer at Vetements; Beautifully balanced checks (pardon the pun) with sexy little ankle boots at Tibi; and Equestrian meets Motorcross at Margiela

 

BELTED

Photos left to right from: Oversized Man’s tweed, cinched above the waist (by the super, super cool Maria Bernad on Instagram); Loving the turned up collar to expose the felting on this well fitted plaid jacket and red belt combo at Stockholm’s fashion week (Style du Monde blog); The Gucci belt everyone wants over their neutral separates – or anything else! (A Constellation) blog; Corseted grey plaid from LXUNYI; Kendal & Karl, another slash of fall/winter’s up and coming red with Louis Vuitton checks; Deconstructed tailoring at Monse

There’s definitely something in this belting business, especially with tailored jackets worn one size up, as it broadens the shoulders and draws the eye to the waist and it also brings the the exaggerated proportions together, creating a flattering silhouette. I’d suggest that this look works as an all-day or evening outfit, rather than for something like clothes shopping, as you don’t want to re-adjust the belt 100 times – or I know that I would abandon the belt after my second re-fastening!

Tips:   Don’t stress about the size label, just have the silhouette you want in mind and try every jacket until it looks best. If you are going for oversized, think ‘mannish’ ‘boyfriend jacket’ ‘boss lady’ and buy one, two, or even three times bigger than your usual size. (the same applies for coats) or if you are aiming for a tighter ‘punky’ shrugged jacket, don’t worry about fastening the buttons – as long as the fit is good across your shoulders and the seams aren’t straining that’s great (will you really fasten your jacket anyway?)

And if all else fails, ask yourself ‘what would Maria Bernad do?’

RED ALERT – CHERRY, BERRY, ROSE, CRIMSON…

GET READY FOR A RED HOT FALL

Red was the hottest colour on the Fall 2017 runways and in NY, Milan, London and Paris, the 2018 Spring Summer fashion week pack were already running with the fiery trend, and we saw buyers, journalists and bloggers rocking red patent boots, jackets, lips and accessories in a hint things to come this Fall and Winter.  The weather is pretty mild right now and we can enjoy light cottons, bare legs and pretty lemon sorbet lace dresses – but I still couldn’t resist buying an (Oh-so Fendi) coat yesterday in a vintage shop, because A) I’, obsessed with jackets and coats,  B) it’s good to be prepared for city trips and C) I just adore winter fashion and its cosy layers & textures, big coats, and boots, the glamourous dresses, jewel colours…  and this year we can expect all of the above in RED, as well as some powerful suiting, gothic and fairy tale heroines and a lot of leather, pleather, and patent – excellent!!

WORKING IT

RED Happening Right Now

Kendal Jenner working three big trends here with vinyl pants, red blazer style coat and branded Gucci hoodie;  flashes of red footwear at London Fashion week;  Patent ankle boots and pink socks from Emma Moldte’s instagram blog; Bella Hadid in red leather, Gucci suede and frayed denim; Sophie Turner in Louis Vuitton red dress at the SAG awards red carpet.

TEXTURE

Red Sweaters and Boots

Top to toe colour blocks in butter-soft, luxurious layers of, cashmere, chiffon and leather at Victoria Beckham; Chunky knits over feminine, grungy prints from Balenciaga; Head to toe in claret from Max Mara; Red leather, sheepskin and brocades at Fendi; Patchwork boots and fringed knits at Chanel Pre Fall.  Runway photographs from IMAXTREE

WEAR THE TROUSERS

Red Wear the Trousers

Androgyny and bold wo-mannish styling; Sporty at Marc Jacobs; Gucci jumpsuit with a military edge and tough, lace up boots; tom boy style leather from Tods; A strong textured look from Givenchy; 70’s style Lace suiting from Derek Lam; Feminine chiffon with a masculine blazer at Victoria Beckham; Ms Scarlet, Oscar De La Renta; Tailored Shakespearean velvet at Altuzarra; and show them you mean business with Jil Sander.

LADY IN RED

Red Dresses

Fendi’s gothic girl in light as air, translucent chiffon; Bella Italiana at Prada; Bright jammy red for Molly Goddard’s tea party dress, Slick, sleek and shiny, Oscar De la Renta; Vampy garnet velvet at Prabal Gurung; And a touch of Alice in Wonderland from Chloe.

UNDER WRAPS

I’m not sure if there’s any more glamorous a coat than a red one. Instantly feel elegant, swathed in a cashmere cocoon, whether it’s a crombie style, a lady like great-coat or a Red Riding Hood cape.

Red Coats

Elegance from Fendi; Layers of tweedy knit from  Chanel; 60’s space age, reminiscent of Paco Rabanne, over prints from Dolce and Gabbana;  More 60’s influenced style at Christopher Kane with patent and shearling;   I’m saying YES PLEASE! To this belted great coat, with it’s oversized belt buckle and cuff detail from Armani. Styled with a must have French Girl’s winter accessory, the beret – tres chic;

Jil Sander’s boyfriend style, double breasted Crombie coat would be equally perfect with jeans and sneakers, or over a feminine chiffon party dress. Note how it’s styled oversized here (which gives a slimming V shape from the shoulders to the waist) and as a general rule of thumb, is the way forward when coat buying.   

Max Mara’s full length cape couldn’t get more Red Riding Hood if it tried!; Altuzarra’s hip length jacket with midi skirt and boots has a 1940’s feel, but with a corseted cinched waist; and finally, a Stars and Stripes combination from House of Holland.

CAN’T WAIT UNTIL WINTER?

It’s easy to get involved now and be oh so fashion forward by adding a touch of red to your wardrobe with separates or accessories like a blazer or printed PJ bottoms, block red track pants, red jewellery or footwear of any description really!   

Red Get Involved

Asos Ruffle sleeved blouse; Printed PJ’s and sneakers (would look so great with an oversized and high necked red cashmere sweater for winter, a la Victoria Beckham); Louis Vuitton Supreme men’s wear; Brogued patent T Bar shoes from Chloe; jeans, bandeaux and fringed earrings, J Crew; Patent ankle boots, ribbon tied ballet pumps and patent mini skirt all from Topshop; simple red shirt from ASOS

COLOR BLOCKING

Red Accents

Red and white is a fresh, classic summer pairing, or you can block pinks with red and make a bright, on-trend color statement (see Miu Miu below). Here we see Valentino’s lilac ‘Rock Princess’, styled with  with oxblood boots, and berry red accessories; Then easing into fall, you can match red with neutrals, like this super cool pillar box red and camel leather at Tods; and it was all about textures for winter at Miu Miu, matching 2017’s pink, with winter’s red shoes. And what better hue to make your summer yellows pop?  

Red HOT

ACNE’s red shearling (if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, just make it in red); big flamboyant earring, Alibaba; Grey tailoring with soft yellow sleeve details and red pencil skirt, Calvin Klein; Wine and cigarettes – a Kate Moss favourite? Cigarette pants from Topshop; Serena Bute London’s red velvet, baggy track pants are perfect for dressing up or down with either sneakers, slides or heels. Nailing pink tones with red, from the Mums That Slay blog; Mannish skirt and pants, baby pink feathers and a red belt at Prabal Gurung; and wide legged pants in Tomato Ketchup red.

 

So let’s spice up spring & summer with a touch of Hot Sauce red, then hopefully by winter, we’ll all be looking RED HOT… 😉

FOUR ACCESSORIES TO COVET FOR SUMMER, THROUGH TO WINTER

BIG LOUD, UNAPOLOGETIC, ODD AND BEAUTIFUL EARRINGS

The designers have been styling their collections with anything but shy and retiring accessories this year and in particular, the earrings are certainly not for the faint hearted and that’s A-OK with me!    

From swishy, clavicle sweeping tassels that make you want to dance and toss your hair and pretty posies on the left and a rose bud on the right…to giant parrots and plastic fluorescent garlands. Wear one, two, or as many as your ears can carry.

 

Black and gold, Marni; khaki floral Johanna Ortiz; One oversized flower, Ellie Saab; asymmetrical mismatched hoops, Daniela Salcedo; Parrot from Stella Jean; Gold Tassels at Dsquared; Pink garlands, Delpozo; and white and gold odd floral posy from Marni.

 

ROCKSTAR SCARF

Make like Jimi Hendrix and throw on a long silky scarf like one of these these beauties from Rockins (already beloved of Kate Moss & Sienna Miller to mention but two) and you will instantly look, feel and make beautiful music like your rock n roll idols. OK that last bit probably isn’t true, but there’s no simpler way to channel Keith Richards, Patti Smith or Stevie Nicks than with a extra long, luxurious and completely superfluous scarf.     Pair one of these babies with a velvet blazer, Converse Chuck Taylors and some tight pants come fall and you’re ready to roll.

 

EMBELLISHED SHOES

Fur trimmed Crocs anyone? Be afraid, be very afraid – or, embrace the madness and while you wait until Winter for yours, dive feet first into some rock encrusted, totally bananas Christopher Kane Crocs!

What are they staring at Debbie? I’m not sure Marcia, do you think our side partings are a bit much?  Clockwise from left: Christopher Kane Crocs; Red Miu Miu cult pearl embellished pool slides that have had the editors going wild; Fun in the sun, beachy themed sandals from Dolce & Gabanna.

                                

STRUCTURED BASKET BAGS

Life’s a picnic! And no fashionista’s summer wardrobe is complete without a structured basket bag this year. And if it does actually get too hot for your rockstar scarf, tie a funky bow to your basket – they are a perfect pairing. Salvatore Ferragamo (Bottom left) may have started it, but there is no let up and seeming no rules on the size either. From mini football shapes on long chains, to giant french market bags which will serve you all year round and save on plastic shopping bags too – extra points!

 

HALF HOUR UPCYCLE – DIY TASSEL EARRINGS  

I realised that none of my earrings are quite big enough – so until my new internet shopping haul arrives, I made a quick pair myself and had my friend model them. Really they were so simple and took less that thirty minutes, so if you want to try yourself, just follow my instructions.

 

FOR TWO EARRINGS YOU WILL NEED

A length of fabric – I cut off the sleeve of an old Indian shirt (it’s much nicer now too)

Two large beads

Earring Hooks

Two buttons

Embroidery thread

Scissors to trim (if you like)

 

  1. Tear the fabric into strips of the same length and divide into two even piles, saving two strips for tying later. Don’t take too much time over this – the more frayed and shredded the better I think.
  2. Arrange each of the piles into a loose ‘star’ shape, overlapping each strip at the centre.
  3. Tie the thread to the button securely, then stitch through the button and star at the centre.
  4. Do this a few times, then feed the needle and thread all the way through the big bead, then the small loop on the earring hook and then all the way back through, to connect all of the pieces and tie a nice secure knot on the underside of the bundle.
  5. Hold the earring up and let the strips fall down over the button, then tie the spare strip around the whole bundle with a couple of double knots. I added a TINY bit of superglue to keep this in place.
  6. Trim off the bottom to neaten it up if you like (but in hindsight, I wish I’d made mine longer and messier).
  7. Wear it on it’s own or make a matching partner!

 

Nice big red bonkers earrings (so 2017!) and I’m already looking at other things to tear up to make longer ones!