Tag Archive for 'new season'

Here comes summer – how to buy dresses

One of the best things about fashion in recent years is the resurgence of dresses (and I’m talking here about upmarket tailored ones that you can wear in the office or in the evening, rather than the short, frilly varieties available on the high street).  And it’s a trend that has continued this Summer.

Quite apart from anything else, dresses are easy as you don’t need to worry about putting a top under them – but because of this, they need to fit properly – the cut, as well as the cloth, has to be exactly right.

Here’s what to look out for:

I’ve written recently that lengths of dresses and skirts – unless you’re very young – are to the knee (or even tapered and just below). This is a bit longer than in recent seasons and, now that I’m back from buying trips for next season, I can tell you it will continue into the Autumn/Winter season.

Interesting necklines feature strongly and I personally will always try to buy dresses with back zips as it involves less creasing and a lot less effort when putting them on.

     

A little tip with dresses with straight skirts is to always look from the side view as sometimes women with a flatter bottom may need an adjustment involving lifting the back of the dress at waist level which will improve the overall appearance.

Remember to make sure there is a triple mirror available so you can see the back of you and ensure the fit is perfect.

Although the magazines are showing bright colours, I think it’s really short sighted at times like this to invest in brightly coloured clothes that will be dead in six months – colour, particularly bright colour is the most fleeting of fashion trends. However, you might want to invest in a bright coloured handbag, cardigan or shirt/top to get the feeling of the season in a way that complements your own longer term style.

There are varieties of muted colours around (blues, greens and even summer greys) that flatter most women so much more than the flashy ones.

Also, if you want a bit more colour, there are some geometric prints around, but be careful they don’t look too girly.

     

Age has to be an issue with colour – if you really want the brights, save them for the beach as most of our continental peers do.

Aside from dresses, jackets remain tailored – and will continue to do so into Autumn/Winter with a lot of detailing (often tone on tone) and the last vestiges of bling barely visible.

Chunky necklaces and bangles are still strong this season – I’ve found some very beautiful leather necklaces which look a little bit different. Belts feature quite strongly this season as an accessory to the dress. Finding a good quality buckle is very important, which is why I’ve developed a close collaboration with one of the best Italian belt manufacturers to ensure that we can always provide simple but high quality buckles that complement our dresses.

      

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Camel? That ship (of the desert) has sailed

I was really surprised to see in a national press fashion page this week that “camel” is back. True, camel had a bit of a revival last season, but things have moved on.

This season, instead of the yellowy tones of camel and similar colours, we’re seeing more pinky and grey tones.  There are some wonderful blush coloured wools and cashmeres and all kinds of shades of grey. You’ll even find boots and shoes in grey.

Alongside these there are varying shades of “grape” from deep raisin to powdery amethyst – and a touch of winter red.

Check out the new season Wardrobe website where there are lots of examples of these wonderful winter colours from our collection.

Other trends to look out for this season are dresses that are curvy and sophisticated in style; jackets that have gone shorter, so that suits have taken on a slightly different silhouette; and the appearance of hats as a more visible everyday accessory.

And not a camel in sight.

www.wardrobe.co.uk

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Italian style may just be re-finding its heritage and soul

I have bitched and moaned for several years about how the Italian style scene, increasingly dominated by big brand names, had moved away from its heritage, chasing fashion and bling, and increasingly manufacturing outside Italy.

It has made it hard for us to find the kind of clothes that we know our customers want; and it led to us launching the Sfera collection to – very successfully – fill the void.

However, I’m very happy to see that there is a real sign that some of the names that didn’t sell out to the big brands are increasingly allowing their soul to start to show through again.

           

Italy seems to be returning to what it was always known for – fine fabrics, fine tailoring, with that special edginess in the cut; and this season a lot of research and time has been put into the fabrics, the trimmings and the general design of the garment.

There is also a really optimistic feel to their collections for next season (which I’ve been buying over the past weeks) because they were returning to what they knew best. 

Most reassuringly, they tell me that the change is driven by demand.  Women are, they say, fed up with cheap and cheaply made clothes – they know they don’t look good in them; and now – above all – they want to feel good and look fabulous. 

           

Even the magazines are being educated that it’s not just about clothes for 20 year olds any more. There have been a number of articles recently suggesting that big brands are passé – that women don’t want disposable branded clothes anymore – that they are increasingly buying just one or two really good pieces each season.

So what can you expect for the coming season?

The look is simple and minimal but the cut isn’t – the experience of the designers that we stock have really used all their expertise in putting together clothes that are quite special – an extra dart here – an extra seam there that makes the garment fit superbly.

           

There are lots of lovely luxury fabrics and an interesting colour palette which focuses a lot around greys, browns and grape colours, all of which, unless they are in good fabrics, can look hard against skin; but once you put them in the more luxurious fabrics they become really glamourous.  I’ve honestly never heard so many ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s as from Stylists at Wardrobe as they’ve opened boxes as stock has come in over the past few weeks.

What’s also interesting is that the styles span the generations – we’re finding that 30 year old and 50 year olds can wear same things, just differently accessorised. I see this as a sign of true luxury in the clothes.

I really hope the trend continues so we’re not the only people doing it.

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What has happened to Italian fashion and why I started Sfera – part 3

This is the third in a three part post on why I started Sfera. 
Read part 1 here
Read part 2 here

The pictures in this final part are from the Sfera Spring-Summer collection; and you can see a wider selection in the Sfera section of the new season Wardrobe website which went live yesterday.

Why has Sfera been successful? 

Sfera is the product of all the experience I’ve gained over 36 years of what women in our market want.  In my experience, women want to look as sexy as possible, but in a stylish way – not in an ostentatious way.

They want to stand out and look successful, but they want to do it elegantly.

        

That’s what our “edgily classic” approach tries to do.  We create many new jacket and dress shapes each season – all made by craftspeople with the highest quality fabrics, beautiful lining and top-quality buttons in what I believe to be one of Italy’s best factories.

It’s only available at Wardrobe, it’s designed with our customers in mind, and we only make a few pieces of each garment, so they’re properly exclusive.  As there is no publicity cost, all of the money spent on them is in the clothes.

       

An equally good question is why, if there’s such a big gap in the supply side of the market, has Sfera not been more successful and not sold elsewhere.  Possibly it will be in the future – if we can figure out a distribution model that allows us to keep our important values in place.

At times it feels like we’re rowing against the industry tide; but our boat is increasingly full of people who want to go in our direction.  So for the moment Douglas and I are happy focusing on developing a collection which delivers what Wardrobe customers tell me and my stylists they want.

       

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Previewing winter in Milan

Hot-footing around Milan looking at what we’re going to be wearing for next summer, it’s always crucial to see what is on show for this coming winter.  So I’ve decided to interrupt the capsule wardrobe series with this little preview.

One thing stands out: fabrics for Autumn/Winter are denser because in general the styling is more tailored and structured – it needs the weight of the fabric to make it work.

Structured, tailored styling needs the heavier fabrics used this season

Although the look can sometimes be chunkier, the actual composition of the fabrics and the way they’re used will still be very comfortable and a well put-together look will be stunning. 

However, this season more than ever, the proportions need to be carefully thought-out because otherwise you may find yourself with purchases which are not particularly versatile. There were some heavier fabrics around last winter (at Wardrobe, for example, we anticipated this year’s fashions to ensure continuity for customers using the capsule wardrobe approach). But if you’re not used to planning your wardrobe, be sure to pay particular attention to what’s in there now (and seek advice from shop stylists).

The really good news is that this is a season for everybody. Styles have become much more sophisticated, more elegant, more modernly classic, so women of all ages, shapes and sizes will be able to look up-to-date and fashionable.

Typical fabrics next season are stretch flannel jersey, tweeds and textured wools, such as black and white dog-tooth checks.  Look out for interesting detailing like seaming and beautiful buttons.

                    Stretch jersey is a popular fabric this season    Interesting seaming

                    Dogtooth pattern jacket    Beautiful buttons

There are lots of dresses and skirt suits – and, of course, the jacket is the most important item if you’re not wearing a dress.

        There are some really stylish dresses available this season    Skirt suits are going to be very popular this season

Boots are very important this winter and the ones in stretch leather and stretch suede, although expensive, are really worth the outlay particularly if you have less than thin calves.  Many have some interesting detailing, a thicker sole, and a spat design including buckles.

Shoes have a heavier feel to them and are not dainty this season. With clothes fabrics being heavier, soles need to be thicker to balance the look. Consequently the heel of the shoe is important as a very thin heel is going to look out of place except for evening wear.

         boot    shoe

To accessorise, look for good belts with good buckles (I know they’re hard to find, but we’ve found them); a small clutch bag to carry with a bigger work bag.  Important jewellery is ear rings, gold or silver bangle, important rings and a larger sized watch (but not too big or it will look cheap).  Large necklaces, for example, could be a bit overpowering with the shoulder and collar detailing on this season’s clothes; however with a skirt suit with a plain white shirt underneath a chunky necklace can still look good.

The best advice for this season is to seek out a professional who is knowledgeable.  Get it right and the look will be unbelievably beautiful; get it wrong and…

 

(ps: the photos above (apart from the footwear) are all from Wardrobe’s new website which will be live with the Autumn/Winter collection very soon at www.wardrobe.co.uk)

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