Ready to Wear: The pitfalls of at least some of the season’s main players are clear

By Susannah Frankel
Monday 10 February 2014 16:31

The joys of summer dressing. So relaxed, so easy and, with a little wisdom, so much lighter on the wallet than the more serious wardrobe of the autumn season. Be not lulled into any sense of security, however. A few months in and the pitfalls of at least some of the season's main players are becoming all too clear.

Take, as prime example, harem pants, the trouser shape to see and be seen wearing. Much has been written about their unflattering nature, most of it unwarranted unless, that is, the wind happens to blow. Experience decrees that, in this instance, any wearer will look like she's got a balloon in her knickers from behind; from in front, meanwhile, she will appear hung like the proverbial horse and that, for a woman, is clearly never a good look.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are the ubiquitous wet-look leggings (worn by Lindsay Lohan, below). It's safe to say that there hasn't been so much stretch and shine around since the mid to late Eighties. Be warned that the less than stick like will be shown no mercy should they choose to wear these, particularly around the knee area and in bright sunlight. More importantly, there are wet-look leggings in Primark. Enough said.

Animal print, we know, has undergone something of a makeover. Now more naturalistic than caricature exotic in flavour – Charles Darwin-inspired not provincial barmaid is the look to aspire to. That is all well and good at designer prices. Simplified elsewhere, however, lurid leopard/zebra/tiger print is still more working girl than style maven.

Citrus shades are equally challenging although they do look good in pictures. In reality, without just the right skin tone – basically, very pale or dark – they are draining. The pragmatic way to embrace such hues is to compromise and wear them muted to the point where they are almost neutral (pale primrose, apricot, pistachio/jade) or to find a spriggy floral print (small yellow flowers on a principally dark dress, say).

Ah, florals. There's another one. The high street has opted for this particular summer staple in only its most exuberant incarnation. The big, blousy flowers that dominate have the not entirely pleasing effect of making a woman look either (stating the obvious) big and blousy or like a curtain. Search – and this may be a challenge – for small blooms. They're prettier by a long shot.

Finally, the English rose wears her vintage-inspired tea dress this season with nothing more overtly feminine than a leather jacket which, the fashion glossies decree, should be big, stiff and biker-related. Those with a narrow back and draped front – thank you Rick Owens, the designer brain behind many more reasonably priced spin offs – are considerably more flattering, however, unless, you happen to be Kate Moss.

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