There are lots of different designer ideas to explore this spring and summer. A splash of creativity from the new generation of designers with a very different take on the world. A younger generation has emerged – less obsessed with conformity and more into alternative dressing. Fortunately, we are reaping the fringe benefits for both men and women who want to be more wardrobe warrior than wardrobe weary.
This makes a change, as some seasonal fashion trends are often so subtle it’s hard to decipher any major changes from one year to the other. There are so many cases of the Emperor’s New Clothes on the catwalk masquerading as futuristic designs when most were clearly nicked out of granny’s attic.
Every spring, we hear fervent fashionistas rave about counter-culture styles from the frontline – but at a closer glance they seem to be celebrating nothing more than a case of designer déjà vu. Things have changed dramatically this season though, and there has been a noticeable shift in the overall 2020 vision.
For women, there is a significant shift in waistbands and hemlines. A collective sigh of relief can be heard as skirt lengths descend to midi-length teamed with striking splits and flattering A-line shapes. Waistbands, in contrast, have risen upwards, with high-waisted skirts and trousers topped off with wide, big belts and eye-catching buckles.
The new range of relaxed long-line skirts are ideal for office or cocktail wear and dispense with the extra hassle of nylons or copious amounts of false tan. They look great with strappy sandals or sling-back sandals too.
Marks & Spencer has a quality range of longer leather skirts teamed with smaller cashmere knits and cute Mary Jane sandals. It’s a big change from the boots and tighter bodycon skirts we had to shimmy into over the last few years.
Once the weather gets a bit warmer, the wedged espadrille will be one of the top purchases, with distinctive criss-cross design topping the trends.
Boxy boyfriend blazers are worn with fingertip hemlines by day, delivering a looser silhouette for workwear. Award-winning designer Joanne Hynes has an eclectic line of nautical trouser suits in dynamic shades of electric blue and white exclusive to Dunnes Stores.
They are trimmed with a black and gold ribbon trim. The trousers have dramatic wide flares with handy side pockets. The jacket has a nipped-in waistband for a sharp silhouette.
Zara has a strong selection of utilitarian trousers and shirts for that Ellen DeGeneres metrosexual statement, along with draped blouses with puffed sleeves. Dressy denim is also back in the workplace, especially tailored wing-collared jackets teamed with white shirts that suit the laissez faire dressing in the current climate.
Designers are ringing the changes in menswear too. This a season of tartan and 50 shades of tan and taupe. The high street shops reveal a selection of lighter suits from Burton, River Island and Next that can be ordered online while social distancing remains in place.
Waistcoats add the third element to tailored Gatsby suits worn over crisp Travolta-style shirts, although this may be overkill for those home-desking right now.
Drawstring cotton cargo pants are also a hit as leisure wear and workwear unite and take a stroll in docksider boating shoes in the evening.
Nautical is another theme in menswear, with navy and white stripes in every shipshape wardrobe.
Now that the tie has become optional if not redundant for office wear – the grandad-collared shirt pops back into the picture in muslin and organic cotton. Sustainable cotton Reiss shirts and Paul Smith suits are taking precedence over the shapeless hoodies and shorts that loitered around the Google Archipelago for too long.
Tan, brown, ginger and taupe deliver a fresh, warm colour base to co-ordinate suede camel jackets, linen pocket shirts and slip-on loafers for a simple and chic finish.
Evening wear will hopefully revive when the current curfew is lifted from our confinement. Snap up a smart M&S tuxedo jacket and trousers at reasonable prices.
Another strikingly different trend for men are the high-waisted 1950s' style trousers. Play it again Sam! They are not everyone's cup of espresso as they tend to shrink the upper torso and add extra focus on the midriff – but some may like the rebalance. At best, think Harry Styles for inspiration and at worst it's a look reminiscent of Danny DeVito. Remember, men can wear Spanx too! If all else fails, add a nice roomy jacket to cover all the spare tyres.
Floral half-sleeved shirts with co-ordinating trimmed edging are going to be hot summer buys along with drawstring shorts.
There are some more challenging trends too, in other parlance known as mad stuff, like the long knee-length tee-shirt for men. This looks uncannily like a dress and can have the unwanted effect of making legs look like they start at the knees. Blame Kanye West for kicking it off and let him keep the look to himself.
The other maddest look on the ramp, which had a lot of people rolling in the aisles with laughter, is the male all-in-one romper suit. Similar to the “onesies” that babies wear – they come mainly with shorts and a connected shirt top. Perfect for men who never want to grow up. There are also oversized towelling hoodies for men in blanket material, called Oodies! They double up as a blanket in bed as well, cutting down on heating costs due to their cosy fit.
Finally, socks are running riot with mad colours and vibrant shades. Think funky colours and cartoon concepts. Leo Varadkar is a top trend-setter in the sock department, proving he is a politician who thinks on his feet. Instead of last year's suede loafers, there are leather docksiders and sliders for a sock-loose and fancy-free footsie guide.