Fashion swings full circle

PUBLISHED: 08:44 08 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:02 20 February 2013

Molten jacket by Gil Bret.

Molten jacket by Gil Bret.

That's the thing about fashion... Women can be wary of something totally different - think how long it took for brown really to become 'the new black'? Conversely, anything that rings bells from past decades provokes a similar level of reluctance.

That's the thing about fashion... Women can be wary of something totally different - think how long it took for brown really to become 'the new black'? Conversely, anything that rings bells from past decades provokes a similar level of reluctance.




The older you are, the more fashion cycles you've lived through. They do say that if you keep all your clothes and accessories long enough, eventually they'll come back into fashion. And with designers' current love affair with retro anything, a trip to the attic might be in order?


Ladies who remember wearing leggings (they were called footless tights in the old days), kaftans and babydoll tops were more than likely teenagers at the time. The swirling psychedelic prints, shiny bomber jackets and jumpsuits favoured this spring might bring back too many memories...


But while these past joys (or disasters) might be the first to have caught your eye as new collections hit the headlines, don't despair, there's plenty more new looks, shapes and prints that are very much of 2008.


Plus perennial favourites really are given a facelift or a full-scale makeover for this season. Think safari in neutrals and shades of brown instead of classic khaki, or nautical red erring towards scarlet or coral along with white or cream, and all the blues from wedgwood via teal to navy are very now. More Salcombe casual than yachtsman smart.


Both looks are of course dependent on the right trouser cut. And though summer is round the corner, pants are popular - wide legged cuts with high waists, drainpipe-slim bootleg jeans, masculine preppy trews topped with a waistcoat or casual parallel legs (the latest interpretation of boxy cargo pants, often in slinky satin rather than matt cotton).


In the case of trousers especially, but also shirts and dresses, white is most definitely right. If you dare, stick with pure white for an entire outfit, or add fresh apple green, keep it subtle with your favourite blue, or go wild with lipstick-bright shades of red, pink or orange.


Whatever your style, there is almost too much choice. Dresses keep their high profile, with knee and maxi lengths battling for attention. The longer the style, the more the past emerges in tie and dip-dyed fabrics, tiers and handkerchief layers. The antidote to retro is gorgeously glamour inspired by evening gowns but worn for day.


Leg exposure is essential in the season's great new skirts, which manage to emphasise or create a waist and combine volume with softness.


Here the story is all about femininity. Fifties shapeliness. Full, fun skirts built in swooshy layers. Draping, pleats, texture, superslim pencils, even petticoat effects, particularly in vintage or complex peasant looks.


Teamed with skirts, or pants, are cute blouses with ruffled fronts or collars, puffed sleeves and tiny cuffs, or a delicate take on the collarless granddad in pristine white or candy stripes.


Along the way, there are a few delightful surprises. Smocks are reworked and more wearable in brilliant fabrics, tunic knits are less clingy, and waistcoats add individuality. Shorts are scarily minuscule as hotpants (don't you call them that, though, it shows your age) but easier when cut more generously and halting mid-thigh.


And don't miss the fun to be had with accessories. Bags are big and squishy or neat and boxy, sunglasses are an essential addition to virtually any outfit, and this spring's floral theme extends into fabulous oversized jewellery.



Stuck for stockists? Please note this editorial is a guide only and we cannot guarantee what is pictured will be in specific stores. All collections featured are stocked in or around your county. Need more information? Write to Fashion Editor Jane Garner, PO Box 608, Shrewsbury SY1 IWQ, call her on 01743 271615 or email lifemagazines@janegarner.co.uk

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