Now, all industries have their foibles and this isn’t meant to be a criticism of the fashion industry. However, have you ever noticed how, as soon as the February edition of Vogue is out, all of those in “the know” in fashion start sporting summer attire, even though it’s still minus three outside? I see pictures of them in the magazines, bare legged, peep toed shoe boots and thin blazers thinking that they must be in the tropics at least, and then I look closer and notice the snow on the ground and wonder just, exactly, how they manage to do it. How do they stop their teeth from chattering and how do they avoid that corned beef look on their legs? Aren’t they permanently miserable, being that cold? None of them carry much extra weight so it can’t be their high bmi keeping them warm. As one who is permanently cold, I cannot imagine anything worse than stripping off when it’s still that cold outside. I wonder whether there is some mini competition going on in the fashion world, possibly a competition to see who can wear the least appropriate clothing for the weather whilst at the same time wearing the most impractical trend from the following season: maybe a low cut, low back, mini body con dress, minus a coat with high heels in the snow in February – you get my drift. You see not only can you freeze but you can fall flat on your bottom at the same time. Genuis. The thing is, none of them would do it wearing a trend from the previous season. Oh no, that would be positively frowned upon (darling) but to wear a trend from the following season, despite it being utterly inappropriate, well, that’s just inspired.
Then the September issue of Vogue arrives and we are warned how we need to buy our winter coats now as some of the stores sell out in September. September? How ridiculous. September can be really beautiful – I recall it being particularly hot when I was at school and had wear a winter uniform when it was still 20 degrees – but to have to buy a winter coat now, before they sell out seems vaguely farcical to me. Having said that, as one who errs on the chilly side, I can identify with stocking up on winter clothes well in advance-at least more so than buying summer clothes in February.
And so here we arrive at the point of today’s discussion. What about Spring and Autumn – the seasons that fashion forgot? Oh of course, there is a reference to Spring and Autumn in the titles “S/S ’10” and “A/W ’10” but that is about the sum total of it apart from a further few oblique references in catalogues. The only obvious reference to clothes for autumn is to the school uniform which is to be worn in September – the start of Autumn – but which goes on sale now in June – the height of the summer. Bizarre. According to what we are told in the magazines, and to what we can buy in the shops, from February onwards we are either in one of two places: the height of summer or the middle of winter – summer holidays or Christmas. You only have to take a look at the summer clothes in the shops from February or the Christmas decorations in the shops from September to know that this is true. So, in an effort to remind us all that autumn is a season in its own right, and to help you to make the transition from summer clothing to winter clothing without having to cast aside those summer dresses in September in favour of thermals and winter coats, here are some tips:
- Layering is key: either under or over (or both) if particularly chilly. Long sleeved white tops with a scoop neck are invaluable as the weather gets colder. They can be layered under T-shirts, dresses and shirts to increase their life span well into the colder months;
- Cardigans – boyfriend, cropped or whatever you can find that has some shape to it. Cardigans work particuarly well over dresses. Button for extra warmth or leave undone but add detail with a skinny belt around your waist to add definition. Anything in leopard print is particularly on trend right now;
- Vests – Don’t laugh, they can increase the longevity of your favourite tops by a few weeks. Top shop always has a good range of colours and because they have wide straps, the bra issue is kept simple;
- A denim shirt – Not necessarily overly on trend for next season but if you have one from the spring, you might find it very handy again now. Lighter than a jacket, warmer than a thin cotton shirt, again use it to layer over vests or silk tops and belt for definition;
- Look to your maxi dresses to keep your legs from feeling the chill and layer up on the top half;
- Take a peek at next season’s maxi skirts for the same reason. If you get one in the right fabric you will be able to wear it layered with tights underneath for the winter;
- It may seem a little early but start investigating the options for all the tights that are going to be out there. There is so much to choose from with colours and patterns but just be aware of those that can make the legs look heavy;
- Have a gin – my favourite tip, particularly when the children are at home in the summer holidays. Not only does it keep you warm but it blurs the edges.
Have fun and keep warm. In the spring, just reverse the advice given above and add more ice to the gin to cool you down.