It’s that time of year again: spring on the inside; winter on the outside.
The new season collections may have officially dropped but the temperature doesn’t look set to rise anytime soon.
Luckily, the latest catwalk-to-closet trends offer a healthy balance of style and substance; a far cry from the abbreviated hems and diaphanous fabrics that offer little to those braving horizontal rain and easterly winds on a daily basis.
It’s as if the fashion gods took pity on those north of the equator; either that or they paid a visit to Ireland recently.
So, what trends can the sartorially-minded expect for spring?
1. TRENCH STYLE
First up, the summer trench: silky, loosely-tied and worn with laissez-faire ease.
This beauty is a no-brainer when it comes to a ‘grand soft day’ but equally, its elegant cut serves as a day-to-evening cover-up whether styling up a jeans and tee or dialling down a cocktail dress.
Top tip: ruche or roll the sleeves for a more unstudied look or opt for a sleeveless gilet style for would-be warmer days.
Best in show? COS, H&M and M&S lead the charge with Penneys scooping best value kudos at just €30.
2. EARNING YOUR STRIPES
Looking for a new pattern to follow? Cast a glance no further than the humble stripe.
Taking over from last season’s check obsession, style seekers can now make a more solid and sophisticated mark on the fashion terrain.
Think slimming and vertical on trouser lengths or flattering oblique lines zig-zagging across dresses.
Not so sure? Make like Victoria Beckham and use a singular bold stripe to colour block a skirt hem.
3. IN SILHOUETTE
And it’s not just prints that are packing a punch as silhouettes undergo their own 2.0 transformation.
Gone are the ‘second skin’ and ‘body conscious’ epithets that have haunted the style lexicon for so long.
Skinny and cigarette trousers have been swapped out for their wider leg sisters evoking images of Grace Kelly and Katharine Hepburn.
Whether high-waisted sailor styles, 70s-inspired flares or billowy and beachy, the mood is one of modern retro.
Handy hack? Belt a jacket, cinch a waist or undo a few shirt buttons for a more subtly suggestive interpretation.
4. GETTING SHIRTY
Equally versatile is the shirt dress — a seasonal must-have if not a hardy perennial.
Such is the functionality of this hot hybrid, you’ll wonder what you ever did without one.
Gucci’s suede button down beauties captured the imagination of high street cousins like River Island and Asos.com who’ve rolled out their own price-savvy homage.
Pair with a thin polo neck, knee boots and tights now; bare leg and platforms later.
Better yet, layer over a skinny flare as a nod to retro icons like Ali McGrath and Lauren Hutton.
Add round sunglasses, a neck scarf or a cross body bag and you’ve got your 70s style sussed.
5. FRINGE BENEFITS
There are definitely fringe benefits to stepping back in time. Take this season’s salute to the ‘summer of love’.
Beatnik in inspiration; modernist in interpretation, the humble tassel has more of a front-row feel thanks to designers like Dries Van Noten and Proenza Schouler.
The trick is all in the execution.
Temper the free-wheeling spirit of the era with a discrete distressed hem, work a fringed knee boot with a simple tunic dress or add a low-commitment fringe bag (Accessorize, Dorothy Perkins and Zara are best) to a shirt and trousers.
6. DENIM DELIGHTS
If none of these ignite your interest, rest in the knowledge that denim continues its trend dominance in multiple incarnations.
Pin tuck tunics, button- down skirts, patchwork and stitch-free hems make dressing down part of the fabric of our daily lives.
Consider the humble weave a modern classic.
Double denim, as proved by Chloé, is no longer taboo; not least the denim suit made oh-so-fresh by Ralph Lauren and the ineffable ease of Alberta Ferretti.
And there we have it. Not a pastel, chiffon or flash-baring midriff in sight; just some timely fashion nous.
The next time you’re forced to wait out an inclement April shower, rest assured your legs won’t turn blue or that your best undies won’t be showing through those rain-soaked shorts.
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