Trends with staying power, from metallics to . . . Spongebob?

With a little judicious editing, summer styles can be made to last that little bit longer


There comes a time in every year when the ladies queueing in the post office, and distant family members searching for something to say at a christening, turn their thoughts to a new topic of awkward conversation. There’s a bit of a nip, isn’t there? The seasons are well and truly turning and, bar a possible respite of some back-to-school sun, autumn upon us.

While now would be a wise time to dig out the tights, boots and woollens to prepare for the months ahead, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a woman’s wardrobe needs to be totally overhauled. With a little judicious editing, summer can be made to last that little bit longer.

Those who have managed to escape the onslaught of cartoon graphics and loudly ironic fashion statements, we salute you for your non-capitulation. That said, we also salute those who embrace all things loud, crass and logo-heavy, because this trend is not going anywhere.

Expect forced, “fun” T-shirts and sweatshirts to trickle down to the high street and the rediscovery of a million 1990s cartoon T-shirts down the back of a million hot presses – the more retro, the better. An original Simpsons T-shirt is good, but a Ren and Stimpy offering would be better. Those with money to burn can invest in Moschino’s Spongebob Squarepants numbers; they’re not vintage now, but it will be when it’s passed on to the grandchildren. That’s what we call investing in the future.


Metal heads

On the opposite end of the wearability spectrum, metallics and monochromes are also, reassuringly, going nowhere. Metallic materials, provided they are in muted, non-brassy tones, are a mature counterpoint to the obnoxious bling of sequins and beads.

The classic pairing of black and white is great by itself, or as a foundation for shiny, reflective garments. Monochromes and metallics can be mixed easily, with varying levels of impact; a simple black suit with a white shirt can be offset with a silver shoe, or an entirely metallic dress can be brought down a peg or two with monochromatic accessories.

Pastels and pink, like florals, are not ground-breaking for spring. However, for autumn, they take on a cool, icy life of their own. In warm light, pastels can look a little insipid and washed out. Accompanied by a chill in the air and greying clouds in the sky, mint greens, lavenders and pale sky-blues start to show their edge. Accompany those tones with clean lines and the image of prissy pale shades is reversed into something very serene and modern – no frills allowed. Pastel pink, however, will always be warm and unabashedly feminine, but pay no mind to any false accusations of helpless girliness. As we can see at Chanel, pink can work with a tweedy tracksuit just as well as with a suit. It’s probably best to wear it in bursts, however, and not from head to toe.


A flat-footed season

The skyscraper heel will not be making a comeback this autumn. Arches will be getting lower, the strain on joints will reduce and we can all continue to wear our flat shoes and trainers for at least another few months. Nifty trainers will still make a high fashion impact, as will preppy loafers. Those who have a pair of pointed-toe flats languishing in the back of the wardrobe should whip them out, as the 1960s trend we saw starting to percolate this summer is about to reach a full-blown boil.

Clean and easy power-dressing is going to stay relevant into the winter and next spring, and with good reason. Unfussy tailoring, simple colours and quality fabrics will never truly go out of style, but now they are enjoying a fashion moment. The scion of this trend is Jil Sander, but those who want to get a slightly younger look at a fraction of the price should look to the effortless cool of Scandinavian brands such as Weekday; & Other Stories; and Ann- Sofie Back. The Scandinavians know what the story is – after all, it’s going to get very cold out there.

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