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iStyle: Just a slip of a thing

Spaghetti straps and slip dresses shouldn’t just be  relegated to summer-holiday dressing - but beware what you wear underneath

Much maligned, spaghetti straps and slip dresses seem the ultimate in summer-holiday dressing – thrown on over a bikini for day or accessorised with high heels and hair that will instantly fluff and frizz in the humidity by night. But instead of just relegating these styles to the occasional sojourn overseas, they can be adapted into use on home turf too.

In the early Nineties, Calvin Klein was somewhat synonymous with the style when he sent the look down his catwalks on waif-like Kate Moss and glamazonian supermodels alike. Klein was joined in this aesthetic by Donna Karan and later Marc Jacobs’ era-defining “grunge” collection for Perry Ellis in 1994. Later still, spaghetti-strap dresses would be worn over T-shirts, paired with kitten heels or even clumpy platform trainers as inspired by those Spice Girls.

As the penchant for all things Nineties shows no sign of waning – and indeed Hedi Slimane’s second, divisive collection for Saint Laurent, all Hole-era Courtney Love babydolls and ripped fishnets, bets on it staying strong – this look is sure to stick around. But for those of us who don’t have a personal trainer on hand, this trend can seem scary without the safety net of tanned arms, lithe from daily swimming, and just enough local hooch to not care.

The authentic grunge look is all about layering. Instead of the tight T-shirt of yesteryear though, a sporty Lycra crop top adds a modern edge to more bohemian or jazzy styles: black is the most versatile, but those  attending a festival this year might understandably be tempted by a punchy neon hue. A good strapless bra is a seriously worthwhile investment – it’s amazing what you can achieve when you don’t spend most of your time grappling with  gravity. And if all else fails – including the weather – you can always accessorise with a cardie.