Pump up the volume

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This season big is beautiful, with labels from high-end Balenciaga to high-street Zara putting the emphasis on oversized fashion. Gemma Hayward reports

This season, size matters. In fact, the bigger the better when it comes the sheer volume of clothes.

Of course, there are some designers still paying lip service to the skin-tight, leave-nothing-to-the-imagination school of dressing, but the most daring way of dressing this season is actually to do quite the opposite: put on more clothes, and make them as big as possible.

Mix up your silhouette with skinnier separates to bring the look right up to date; if you go for an oversized coat, team it with a pair of slim-fitting trousers; or if you fancy yourself in some extreme wide-leg trousers, go for a cropped bomber jacket or a tight sweater. Belt a big jumper or coat with a wide-waist belt, which will exaggerate hip shape and make your waist look smaller. And if you're feeling really adventurous, doubling up volume works – just make sure you mix up your clothes lengths. So, with an extra-long coat, wear trousers cropped or push up the sleeves of a jacket. This sort of total look needs a bit of styling help to bring it all together.

It's a look that has dripped down from the catwalk: at Balenciaga, Nicolas Ghesquiere showed jumpers with voluminous sleeves for autumn, while Marc Jacobs gave his models large hats at both his own label and at Louis Vuitton, blending Jamiroquai-esque headgear and Thirties-style cloches respectively. Rei Kawakubo too, at Comme des Garçons, is no stranger to volume and this season showed dresses and coats of such extreme scales, they made the wearer look basically flat. Lady Gaga chose to wear one recently, in response to negativity she received after speculation she had put on weight.

At the more humble end of the price scale, the scale of proportions isn't any more modest. Whistles, Reiss and Zara have welcomed alternatives to body-con in the form of tulle maxi-skirts, pea-coats and wide-leg printed trousers.

And this Thursday, when H&M launch their latest collaboration with Maison Martin Margiela, there will be even more roomy fashion for you to wear: re-issues from the label's archive include XL styles of jeans and coats.

So remember, this season, big really is beautiful.

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