The attitude of consumers is changing again. Investment dressing is on the way back.
The economic recession
is biting the purse strings at every level. People are
waking up to consuming too much of not just clothes, but of everything. Individuals have become
aware of over-estimating their real need for consumables, whether it be food, fuel or
fashion items. This past year many of us have realised we
have to slow down on purchasing or we will drive ourselves mad.
Ask yourself do you
really need to move to larger accommodation, or do you really
need to buy less and get rid of existing excess consumables,
especially poor quality fashion goods.
The solution is to buy less clothing, but
to buy better quality items that fit perfectly, and the garment
is finished smoothly.
Become a fussy shopper in the way women did years ago.
Don't consider returning goods, buy only with the attitude that
it won't be going back. That self imposed lack of a
'return me within 28 days' safety valve, will
really stop and make you ask yourself if the purchase really is the right
We need to adopt investment dressing strategies now.
Everyone needs to understand the real meaning of a trend in
fashion rather than use it to indulge in every fad on the
dress rails. The time has come to slow down, ignore the
hype, and think slow fashion and investment dressing.
The silhouette is changing again and, a more architectural,
sculptured contour is developing. What we are seeing is
folded fabric with geometric cutting, flared squared corner panels,
and high proud or wide
collars. The resulting look is an
exaggerated three dimensional style. Fabric wraps about
the body creating a cocoon and this redefines the body contours
creating the current fashion
silhouette. Observe this trend in the four coats below:
Far left - Aquascutum Anahita coat in blue contrast.
Centre left - Aquascutum Hine coat in dark brown.
Centre right - Aquascutum Hera coat in indigo.
Far right - Aquascutum Enki coat in blue.
More here on the
fashion trends page.
The above photo line-up displays coats from the British
company Aquascutum; they have been renowned for superb coat designs for 155
years. These coat images are from the
Aquascutum collections. Aquascutum outerwear was worn by
royalty and film stars long before the
celebrity cult, as we know
it today, even existed. For over a century the Aquascutum brand
has been a byword for beautifully made, quality garments of
understated British elegance.
For autumn 2008, Aquascutum created a silhouette that was
balanced superbly with innovative womanly shaping, but with
control over loose volume creating a soft roundness.
Sculptured collars and hemlines, shapely sleeves are all the
features note to help select instant updated coat looks.
Let me remind you again about investment dressing. Quality lasts, quality shows, quality feels good. Think
quality investment dressing.
When shopping for new clothes, whether, coats, jackets dresses
or knitwear, think about this sculptured
approach. Look for the little edgy details that say: 'forward and
new in cut', but still have classic appeal. Seek only garments
that are both statement
making and investment dressing.
One of the strong trends in looser silhouettes this autumn is that of the
pyramid coat. In this example near right Aquascutum uses
the pyramid trapeze to create a youthful looking coat with a
hint of vintage.
Near right - Aquascutum Vintage Collection - Diplomatic coat in
pink, Fall 2008. NB. Please note that the Vintage Collection is only
available in the Aquascutum, 100 Regent Street,
UK and Marunouchi, Japan store. Go to the Aquascutum website if
you wish to order from their waiting list. Other ranges
are sold at select venues globally.
Far right - Aquascutum Colli coat in purple from the Aquascutum
London collection Autumn 2008.
Another indication that this is an important trend is the number of collar variations.
Look out for flat, wide, large collars, also shawl or cowl collars, all
are important fashion statements in autumn coats, dresses and
When designers want to add a touch of luxury to dresses, they
collars, whether fake or real to create an eye-catching fashion. Mongolian fur and collars made from
feathers, also add a contrasting looser Boho texture.
Near right - Debenhams Autumn/Winter 2008 Womenswear from Betty
Jackson. Black fur collar jacket £85/132.
Far right - Hobbs Autumn Winter 2008 - Keeler cocktail dress in
winter cream with feather neck detail. Read more
winter white for AW 2008/9 here.
The first three coats here have an easy straight line.
Each is trimmed with a flat fur collar, and the coat on the
right has deep fur
cuffs. You may also begin to notice coats with really deep fur
arm-warmers that creep to at least elbow level. Read and
see more coat styles in
Above far left - Fur collar check coat by Michale Kors.
Above centre left -
Lilac felted boucle balmacaan with dyed mink collar by Michael
Above centre right - Wallis Autumn/ Winter 2008 - Stone fur collar
cocoon coat £90/115.
Above far right - Fabulous fur trims on this Aquascutum Reaburn coat
in grey. From Aquascutum's Autumn 2008 Vintage Collection. NB. Please note that the Vintage Collection is only available for
collection in the Aquascutum, 100 Regent Street, UK and Marunouchi, Japan store.
you want to get more wear out of an existing coat or dress in
your wardrobe, then tune into this fashion trend by updating the
garment with a tie-on, button-on fur collar, or buy a tippet fashion
This fur collar detachable accessory, is from Wallis and also comes in a blonde tone.
Right - Wallis Autumn 2008 Collection -
Black faux fur ribbon tie stole £12/20. See more
fur looks here in winter coats.
Coats also sport ties at the neck. The ties are versatile and can
become scarves or bows if you wish to adjust the look. This
characteristic is used on many knitwear pieces as well as
blouses. This is a classic look that goes in and out of fashion
Far left - Wallis purple scarf wool coat £75/95 from Wallis.
Near left - Wallis grey chunky knit tie cardigan knitwear from Wallis Autumn 2008
Womenswear Collection - £45/70.
After years in the wilderness the tie neck blouse has come back
into fashion, and at last they
don't look too granny-like especially when made in luxury satins
and worn with skinny leather trousers. The ties can either become bows, or left
trailing as a scarf. Several trends are running at
once in this dressy blouse right. Notice the full blouson
Bishop style sleeves, which are a perfect foil beneath a bell coat, cropped coat,
or jacket outerwear sleeves. Observe the deep sheen of the
rich satin fabric; also note the extra long and shaped cuffs. Very 1970s.
Above right - Wallis Autumn/ Winter 2008AW - W:Limited Edition
mink satin neck-tie blouse £35/45. This
blouse left hits all the right style notes with its beautiful bloused sleeves with deep cuffs.
A few years ago volume frightened most women, even in sleeves,
but now sleeves have developed some very pretty feminine fullness.
As always happens in costume history, sleeve fullness is
best highlighted when the cuff is deep. So now we find
that cuffs are lengthened and shaped to the forearm, as a result that blouson
fullness can be displayed both attractively and practically as a
true Bishop sleeve.
the Autumn of 2008, cowl necklines have grown into even larger
sculptural forms. Find cowl and 'stand' necklines on knitwear, jackets and
Far left - Catwalk show cream fringed long line sweater with cowl neckline
Observe the elongated sleeves and
see that the jumper is hip length.
Near left - Catwalk inspired Aran style cowl knit from Oasis Autumn
Note how winter white, creamy white and natural tones from the catwalk shows
have made an impact on high street knitwear.
By now many of you will own more than one jacket, or coat with
cropped three quarter sleeves. For that reason, to get more wear
out of it, and make it pay for itself through this autumn at least,
invest in the black body sweater shown below.
Trend Alert Wardrobe Tip - Seek tops with high
With so many sleeves being cropped on coats and jackets, you
will need a warm basic layer underneath for the winter months.
most useful layering basic must-have will be the polo neck
slim-fit polo neck is also a perfect garment to team with a biker
Buy from any source - from the mall or
online. Wallis, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, NEXT to Dolce & Gabbana all
have these slim fit layering sweaters in stock. This is
the no-brainer must-have garment, otherwise buy long gloves now!
Note those hand covering extra long sleeves.
Right - Wallis Autumn/Winter 2008 - Black knitted polo neck
Far right - Coat with cropped cape sleeves by Principles for
The polo roll-neck, extra long, sleeved sweater is a staple
must-have for Autumn 2008 and Winter 2009. Make sure you
buy a quality garment to add to your wardrobe.
The short-cropped jacket has been popular now for several
Heavier hip length coats perfect for wearing with jeans or pants still have
that swing feel. They can easily be made to look more
fitted with a belt.
There are two fitted jacket styles that look like winter winners
- opt for either a
military tunic, or a leather biker jacket. Both have a
design rather than the more swingy look of recent seasons.
Scores of jackets for autumn winter show military styling,
either with button placement, Hussar decoration, majorette
trims, piping and stand collars. Military is still a
black jackets show how a trend develops. This old
favourite remains classic yet manages to achieve new distinctions
Left - Designer Vanessa Bruno cropped military jacket.
Centre - Dorothy Perkins AW 08 - Tailcoat military jacket £40
65, Lace-edged skirt £40 65, Strappy sandals £30 45. Far right - Military coat
from Dorothy Perkins is exactly the same jacket as above, but
shown flat and also from Autumn/Winter 2008/9.
You may already have a military line jacket from last winter, if
so, with a bit of tweaking it could be swiftly updated.
You could change the buttons or
add a bit of military ribbon braid. With the resulting
savings, you could do a bit of investment dressing and forget
military and spend instead on a biker jacket. You can also read
more about the full length
military coat style in winter coats.
TOP WARDROBE TIP
Trend Alert Wardrobe Tip - The leather biker jacket is the most
talked about new fashion trend for Autumn 2008. Buy
it now and it will soon pay for itself since a short jacket is
perfect for keeping you warm while looking good in the months leading up to Christmas.
If a new jacket is on your must-have list, then browse the racks
of leather biker
jackets, because already this is shaping up to be the hottest fashion trend of
If your choice of biker jacket is a leather version then do
think of its as an investment. A tan, taupe, soft brown,
inky blue, grey or coloured leather bike jacket will see you through more seasonal
options than the heaviness of darkest black leather.
grey leather zipped biker jacket near left, is by design house
Balenciaga and is available online from Matches at £1275.
This black leather zipped biker jacket right, and also modelled
far left, is by high street Dorothy Perkins Autumn/Winter 2008
collection leather jacket £100/160.
In my own search for a jacket I have been browsing online to get
a feel for what is available.
This autumn make sure you check out Oasis, either online or in
their nearest shop. When I visited they had 6 different leather biker styles on offer,
moreover, each style had different colour options. Older
complexions look better in softer tones of leather. Shiny
black leather can look harsh and hard. Which
ever price range you are looking at, just be sure that the leather feels
good and soft, furthermore because there is so much choice, be
sure that this is the jacket you really want.
jacket is one item
you may wear to death this winter, therefore, consider spending more than
usual and put it in the category of investment dressing.
There are alternatives to a biker jacket in the form of gilets in fur, Mongolian fur, velvet, leather, knit, sheepskin,
denim. These styles fit seamlessly
into Russian Doll/Boho/Folkloric fads.
Read more about folkloric
fashion trends on the Folk page.
The leather biker jacket and the fur gilet shown left are both from the
Oasis autumn 2008 collection. Prices TBC.
I love this butter colour gilet shown right, it's also from Oasis Autumn
2008/9 range. This particular garment is made from Mongolian fur including the curly
trim. The shapely silhouette means you will stay shapely too.
However, gilets can make you look as roly-poly as a Michelin man if you don't choose
This gilet is in Oasis stores now and costs £75, UK
sizes 8 to 16. Oasis fashion stores also have 2 reversible fur gilets in
lovely tone of cocoa and a lighter creamy tone of butter, at just £50
each and to fit a similar size range.
A gilet is great for keeping you warm outdoors, but
indoors it may easily become too hot. Consider the knitted alternatives
this season has to offer. Knitwear is back on track and the fashion
selection is huge.
Knitwear for autumn falls into
an attractive, but mixed bag, with some knits made up in
silky fibres or mohair. There are also intricate textured lacy knits,
cobweb fine knits or superfine classic fully fashioned finer
Styles drift from extra long asymmetric cardigans, through to hip
length longer tunics and useful cropped styles. The latter style
is especially good at helping women cover up the bare gap at shoulder level
and real life bingo-wing arms.
Far left - Knitwear from Rodarte.
Near left and right - Catwalk knitwear.
Chunky knitwear takes on texture through the use of garter stitch.
Also, cable style
knitwear and rich complex patterns that we have not seen for a
decade re-emerged in the Autumn of 2008.
Grey is a strong trend in knitwear, and the high street has good
range of grey cardigans. Many are made more interesting by their
texture of cables, rib patterns and interesting collars in
both short cropped and longer length styles.
See more examples in the shops now on the fabrics/knits page. There are also long
or short cardigans with full collar trims, cowls and fringe as
shown further up this
Right - Plumo Autumn 2008 Longer line lacy knit tunic.
Autumn and winter is a good season for trousers with several
styles on offer.
If you want 70s style, then flares are for you. If you
fancy 80s, then try carrot top fuller looser pants. For
eveningwear, it is possible to go the whole hog and adopt
sequin pants, brocade or gold lamι looks. But keep that trend just
for the month of December. Christmas is the time to put on
Leather skinnies will team will with that biker jacket, but if
casual is more your personality, then loose jeans are just fine too. Find them
The contrast between the over-the-foot flowing flares, and cropped at-the-ankle shorter lengths could
not be greater. See these cropped jeans to the right
Ahhh... choice... wonderful.
I'll just be getting the
trousers that suit my body shape best. If we are not
careful some of the pants on offer may well be destined for that fancy dress
box we keep for Halloween.
Right - Skinny ankle jeans and jacket from House of Fraser.
Left - Clothes by Warehouse from the Autumn 2008 Gentry
Coat £90/140, Waistcoat £40/62, Trousers £45/70, Shirt
£40/62, Scarf £16/25, Beanie £12/19, Bag £30/45, Boots
Mannish trousers in the style of Marlene Dietrich or Katharine
Hepburn, with deep wide flares, suit many working women,
and all the main stores are stocking such lines. Soft
loose tunics team well with the flared trousers, as a result the whole
outfit flows. Wide flares are particularly attractive when used
in evening jumpsuits.
The newest lines in the stores right now are these peg-top narrow ankle
cropped trousers shown above left and right. The really fashion aware will
be heading straight for these slim line pants that taper to the
ankle. Narrow line trousers which show the ankle will need
an attention grabbing shoe-boot to seal that gap.
What an excuse
to buy new footwear like these neutral trouser boots, or shoe boots
in patent greyed taupe. The punched work is a decorative
feature on a
great deal of autumn footwear.
Far right - Hobbs Autumn Winter 2008 - Sara Shoe boot - Brogue
Style Shoe boot - Grey - £ 159.
Wardrobe Tip Trend Alert - If you have abandoned pants in
favour of skirts, autumn sees a change which fits in with the
season, and as result skirts are getting longer. Start to think skirts below the
Other winter options for the bottom half of the body, rest with
variations of the
skirt. Younger looks do include minis, but there were
fewer of this length than some years.
Really the shortest skirts around are prom slouch skirts,
which work well with trends such as Russian Boho.
The key trend with skirts is that they are now more ladylike.
Tulip skirts with reigned in fullness offer potential to add
variety to your clothing. The line is straight, but not straight.
Right - Taupe tulip shape skirt from Principles Autumn/Winter
2008 Key Items - Mocha belted tulip skirt £55/85.
Far right - The tulip wrap prom puff skirt in this tartan check wrap dress
is from Primark. It costs just £14.00 and is shown worn
with platform town shoes £12.00, with
opaque tights. All from the Primark
Autumn/Winter 2008 Collection.
The dress has firmly re-established itself as winner with
women and girls worldwide. It's such simple all-in-one ready to
go dressing. There is a variety of bodice styles, raised
true waistlines, with perpendicular or fuller skirts.
You will see straighter silhouette styles vie with blouson drop
waist Boho folksy shapes. Whilst puffy full skirt prom dresses are all
perfect for the party season ahead.
The newest looks have more ladylike, longer skirts
which rest on, or below the knee.
investment dressing terms, opt now for longer skirt lengths.
mind, the prom style on younger girls does look better with a shorter skirt. This
look is easy to lengthen if you are happy to style your dress with a
visible net petticoat. Many prom dresses are also being sold
this way, hence many are of indeterminate length.
Far left - Black dress from Wallis Autumn Winter 2008/9.
Centre - Royal purple dress by L. K. Bennett and stocked at
selected John Lewis stores.
Right - Debenhams Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2008 - Betty
Jackson. Black red cowl neck belted dress £55/85.
The popularity of maxi lengths this summer, means we are
likely to see a return to full evening gowns for formal evening
wear. Since dresses have become more usual, a cocktail
dress is no longer always dressy enough for the most
formal of events. See more formal gowns on the evening
page. See a straight gold printed
dress teamed with a fur coat in the winter coats page..
Colour is always important to any season. Even dusty or subdued
hues can add to the impact of a season. This autumn invest in the strongest colour trends of tomato red, teal
blue, and purple.
Popular prints include the Paisley pattern of the folkloric fashion
trend. This exotic and mythical pattern was even
incorporated into rich bold damask materials.
Ornate tapestry patterns were all
part of the
Gucci show and the hysteria bag collection.
In mass market and higher end terms the animal fashion trend is set to continue through the Autumn
2008/Winter 2009 fashion season. You, like me probably already have some animal print items, or
possibly clothes with
animal lining. I have a small cute leather leopard print handbag I bought
in Russell and Bromley in Autumn 2006. So far the bag has
occasional wear, but now I'm going to wear it out, as this is the trend
for this autumn.
if I buy anything new in animal print, it will most likely be an
accessory. Since I already have a leopard handbag I may well
select a black and white zebra print
bag. But I am duty bound to tell you that the leopard
print blends with no end of outfits, in just the same way that a tan
handbag is versatile. Leopard print is a fashion trend that wafts
in and out of fashion with regularity. I have a leopard umbrella
that I was given one Christmas as a jokey gift about 10 years
ago. It has not dated! Leopard is now a classic print, so
classic that Dolce and Gabbana and Prada both have Animalier
Left - Jaeger Tilly style leopard handbag. Price to be
confirmed, but other bags in the Jaeger Tilly range are
£299-399. See more
Footwear is a good buy for animal print products. See lots of
shoe styles on the
page. I have found
animal print accessories have a knack of going with numerous
outfits, and leopard print in particular looks terrific with black or camel
clothing. Zebra zig-zag stripes are smart with strong bright colours as well as
teaming zebra print with the more obvious black.
If you are new to animal prints, then learn more about the
different types of animal skin on my
animal trends page. See small pictures showing the
differences between ocelot, leopard, jaguar, snow leopard and
giraffe and tiger markings. Read more about
At last, scarves are clearly making a comeback, but this time
they are regal heritage silk head squares covered with classic
motifs and equestrian styling.
Now is the time to search through your over flowing drawers to
find a classic scarf you have had many years.
How you wear your scarf is up to you. You can be queenly and
wear a silk head square like a countrywoman.
it cowboy style, draped around the neck, or simply tied at the
front like a large shawl collar.
With the folkloric fashion trend so strong this autumn you
can drape a scarf how you prefer. Make sure longer scarves have
lots of fringing to keep that Boho vibe. You could kill
three fashion trends in one go with this cashmere scarf.
Choose from the soft cashmere red
and black animal print, or the luxurious green snakeskin print scarf
with its long fringe.
Both scarves are from Jaeger. Quality lasts, quality shows, quality feels good.
At last, women on a tight,
or reduced budget are resisting purchasing fashion out of line
with their immediate needs. Now women are thinking twice
about buying the latest fashion trend months ahead of the
Experience has taught many of
us that all too often clothes for a season not fully arrived are
part of retailing 'keep them interested' bridging lines. Many such
garments are on final sale a mere 4 or 5 weeks later, before
even the real climatic seasonal change has arrived. Even
more galling is our noticing that fresh stock always seems
prettier, more attractive and less dull than the item bought on
an earlier visit. All this is frustrating women who are
ultimately waiting longer and longer to buy not only in season,
but at 50% the original price.
So for this Wardrobe Tips page I decided to see
what we really do need to own in fashion trend terms to stay
within current fashion trends for Autumn 2008 and Winter 2009.
I hope you have found an idea here for your own perfect piece of
investment dressing when you
plan your new
wardrobe this season. Check out the
Special thanks to prshots
with images courtesy of Aquascutum London, Debenhams, Hobbs,
Wallis, John Lewis, Oasis , Principles, Dorothy Perkins, River
Island, Jaeger London, Swarovski, Warehouse, House of Fraser,
Primark, IFTF and Plumo.
Header image Aquascutum Colli coat in purple from the Aquascutum
London collection Autumn 2008.
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