Tag Archive for 'style'

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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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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Oohs, aahs (and a little ‘eh?’) from Milan

Just back from the first part of my buying trip to Milan for the coming Autumn/Winter season.

Colours are super-sophisticated – greys with hints of amethyst. I’m really pleased that there are more of the new kinds of jersey fabrics which came in this year and which have been flying out of the shop.

Shapes are sophisticated too.  Beautifully cut; still structured, but oozing tactile luxury.

I haven’t seen the prototypes for our Sfera range yet, that will happen on my next trip in a couple of weeks.  But there have been lots of Italian ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s coming from our factory.

A couple of designer highlights: Malo has a new designer who we’ve worked with before and their knitwear is really promising again after a few disappointing seasons.  One of our recent finds, Santoni shoes, are gorgeous – many with the new shaped wedge heel so we can walk comfortably again but still look great.

Bizarrely (but happily for us, I guess), while everyone is talking about the kind of glamourous and edgy tailoring with which we’ve been successful, there is still very little evidence of it becoming more prevalent in the showrooms – you really have to search it out.  Which means we need to both heavily edit the collections and continue to build our Sfera collection.

I’ve even started to find that other buyers I meet are commenting on the clothes I’m wearing and asking where they can buy them.  So it’s probably not surprising that while fashion magazine editors are all talking about tailoring in their leader articles, it’s hard to find any examples pictured on their other pages.  

Rest assured you will continue to find them on Confidence Tricks and on the Wardrobe website.

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