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iStyle: Anyone for crochet?

Keep your cool in the heat of summer with a simple shift dress in this feminine fabric, says Naomi Attwood

For anyone sick to the back teeth of hearing how a certain  member of the Royal Family is boosting the fortunes of particular fashion items – bad luck. For it must be pointed out that during its centuries-long history, crochet was once enthusiastically promoted by Queen Victoria, who not only liked to wear this knitted version of lace – but create it, too.

There is even a photograph of her laboriously toiling away on a “muffler” for some lucky serviceman in the Boer war. Crochet has been around, in various forms, for a very long time. But even back in the day, one gets the impression it had a granny-ish image.

A cheaper alternative to lace, French or Irish crochets were preferred by connoisseurs of the material. This crafty cloth enjoyed a revival in the Swinging Sixties – a decade much referenced in current catwalk trends and thus to be found all over the British high street – both premium and bargain ends of the spectrum – this summer. There can be few more outfits that flatter on so many shapes and sizes than a simple crochet shift dress. Whether you go for above or below the knee – and plump for a design with sleeves, either elbow-length or capped, or without – doesn’t matter.

Other variations include a Seventies- style kaftan shape with a V-neck or a wide-strapped sundress. Cream and white are the obvious choices for purists, but for those who like a bit of colour it’s nice to keep the Sixties theme going in a navy blue, black or mustardy yellow or green.

They go with any type of summer footwear you care to name –  from sandals to pumps to espadrilles, or if you’re a fashionably “Nineties” festival-goer then by all means team one with clumpy black ankle boots. From royalty to rockers in two easy steps – just like granny, crochet shouldn’t be underestimated.