There’s nothing like a new season – and new year – to inspire and start you off as you mean to go on. Before you read up on the trends (1970s, bright colours), silhouettes (long and lean/short and sharp) and fads (fruit and florals) of 2011, it’s vital to examine what’s already lurking in your wardrobe.
Marc Jacobs SS 11
The mood right now is not so much fast fashion detox as reinvention. It’s OK to give a nod to personal style and classic pieces you’ve been clever enough to invest in along the way. Make this the year you finally get around to repairing any that still have a bit of life left in them. You can and should recycle anything romantic and with a 1970s feel (maxi dress, fringed leather jacket, macramé bag) or coveted items that give a nod to 1960s tailoring.
Team these with new functional, wearable pieces such as a blouse or even something as simple as a white T-shirt, which can be paired with a longer-length skirt in – and this is very new – a shade of neon to bring it bang up to date.
Be prepared to part with last year’s looks (including leggings and jackets with “fierce” shoulders) and be restrained when it comes to designer purchases.
Finally, start from inside out. A great designer foundation garment is the first step towards a new you – and having a fashionable new year.
1. I will not wear pointy shoulders
Big shoulders of any kind are not just so last year, they’re last decade.
This season, moving on from the cape, the shoulder line is natural to the point of being an afterthought. All focus is on sleeves, prints and fabric. Tailoring is soft and fluid.
By February, any jacket with scary epaulettes/shoulder pads will be a distant memory.
2. I will get round to repairing my clothes
There’s nothing wrong with thinking like a “recessionista”, unless the item you are repairing is so old
The best advice: try on everything to establish if you would still wear it, then for those items worth keeping employ tricks such as putting a new silk lining in a jacket. Instant rejuvenation.
This season is very much about wearing clean, bright whites juxtaposed with vivid pops of colour. Anything faded, stained or tired-looking won’t do – ESPECIALLY SHOES!
Re-sole or re-heel scuffed pairs. If they won’t shine to a polish or look box-fresh ditch them. Finding a good cobbler in Dubai or Abu Dhabi is near impossible so remember to take any favourites with you on holiday and get repairs done abroad.
3. I will reduce, re-use and recycle
“Fashion doesn’t change as drastically as it used to,” said H&M’s head of design, Ann-Sofie Johansson, “so last season’s favourites can work easily with new additional updates to the wardrobe.”
Johansson’s tips for spring include maxi dresses and anything in nude or white. Having a wardrobe de-tox at the start of the year means you can re-acquaint yourself with old pieces, which can be re-styled to feel completely new. Ditch pieces you haven’t worn in years unless it’s: palazzo pants; finely tooled leather gilets or belts; broderie anglaise shell tops; lace; horizontal candy stripes; Americana “conversation” prints – including Hawaiian shirts; plain white T-shirts; and vintage-looking accessories.
Striped Blouse & Palazzo Pants
4. I will buy only one designer piece this season
If you are going to invest in something from a designer brand, make sure it’s collectable, ensuring you a return for your money.
If you choose shoes, make sure they are platforms. This season’s are mini works of art – from Prada’s zingy neon patent platforms to John Galliano for Christian Dior’s stonking stack-heeled espadrilles inspired by the 1949 movie South Pacific.
Galliano for Dior SS 11
Designer shoes, even if they capture the zeitgeist of the moment, are collectable, not to mention more comfortable than copies. Think of them as being heirloom pieces some lucky daughter/niece will eventually wear. (Good karma bounces back).
5. I will be adventurous but not slavish to trends
Even fashion academics such as Miuccia Prada are having a bit of fun with colour, print and easy-to-wear pieces this season. This means you can easily dip your toe in key trends without looking like a Carrie-Bradshaw fashion victim.
Ditch black or gothic shades and embrace light, bright colours from canary yellow and pimento red to buttermilk or the sort of pastel shades you find in those delicious Laduree macaroons (pistachio, mustard, palest lilac, frosty pink). Even eye shadows are about mint-green, and nails denim blue.
Although high fashion gives a nod to retro, there’s a functional, modern twist to classic shapes that boomerangs it back to the present.
6. I must learn to love the big girl’s blouse
Dolce and Gabbana SS 11
The blouse ticks all the seasonal trends from romantic 1970s to military-minimal.
Its newest guise is collarless with either a frill down the front, prissy bow or off-shoulder style. It can come in lace or a printed floral, sometimes swooping into an A-line tunic, cropped at the waist or even tied.
Tucked into wide-legged trousers or a long, lean skirt, ideally in matching voile, chiffon or fine jersey crepe, sleeves are often the focal point – Geisha or billowing, then tapered to tiny cuffs at the wrist.
For a couture look, try adding expensive buttons or cinch in the waist with a ribbon tied in a bow. If it’s sheer, slip a camisole in a contrasting colour underneath as Richard Nicoll did on his London catwalk.
7. I will renew my underwear
And with all the white chiffon blouses, strappy tops, sheer billowing dresses, clinging pencil skirts and palazzo pants around, there’s no time like the present.
Plus, there are so many brands offering inexpensive yet effective underwear – from “nude” seamless pants that eliminate VPL to push-up bras that give you the perfect bust, there’s no excuse. Gap, Next, New Look, Asos.com and M&S are particularly good.
Also, it’s sale time! Make a beeline for brands such as La Perla, Elle Macpherson Intimates, Damaris, Carine Gilson, Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein and (the secret of every female celebrity) Spanx.
Know that there is no substitute for expensive lingerie – don’t think of it as frivolous. Renew your underwear for the New Year and it will make you feel like a new you.
8. I will salute the 1960s
Spring/summer 2011 fashions are not entirely dominated by the 1970s – there are 1960s inspirations in there too.
From short A-line dresses like the ones Mia Farrow wore in the 1968 movie Rosemary’s Baby, to the metal-plated 1960s-meets-Byzantine dresses of Chanel’s recent Métier d’Arts pre-collection. When even the future-looking stalwart Karl Lagerfeld admits his spring/summer 2011 collection was inspired by a 1961 movie (Last Year at Marienbad) you take note.
Chanel SS 11
Meanwhile, the handbag of 2011 is tipped to be the iconic Paco Rabanne classic “Le69”, famously carried by Brigitte Bardot. Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo has created three limited-edition bags to add to a reissue of nine (including suede, horn and stingray), which puts a luxurious twist on the chain-mail classic (available from mid-February from If Boutique, Umm al Sheif Street, Dubai. 04 394 7260.
9. I am going to wear more fruit
Fashion designers have picked at the fruit bowl for inspiration this season. There’s everything from juicy strawberries and bananas to zesty lemons and oranges.
Miuccia Prada is already wearing the banana earrings (inspired by Josephine Baker) she put on her catwalk – which also featured banana-print shirts and skirts. Anna Sui offered a bowl of cherries. Stella McCartney also did citrus prints.
The fruit trend has a lot to do with the 1970s vibe poised to hit stores any day. This was the last time it was trendy to wear (fake) cherries on your shoes or head.
Look out for Charlotte Olympia‘s banana clutch and tutti-frutti platforms inspired by Carmen Miranda.
Charlotte Olympia’s banana clutch & tutti-frutti platforms
Does wearing fruit count towards your five-a-day, I wonder?
10. A corsage to spark the flower-power mood
Marc Jacobs SS 11
One easy way to embrace the brighter-than-bright colours Marc Jacobs and Miuccia Prada championed on their catwalks and give a nod to the 1970s is by wearing a corsage.
Tie one around the neck, waist or wrist (the latter is how Bianca Jagger – the poster girl of the 1970s – wore hers to marry Mick in St Tropez in 1971).
River Island has pounced upon the retro favourite, putting it on belts and bags. Stella McCartney stitched tiny corsages together for her frocks. Erdem created a 3D effect putting them in layers.
River Island pink corsage platform shoes
From delicate to hyper-surreal, this season we will sprout meadows of florals. Wearing a corsage is a subtle way to join in without feeling overgrown.