Is your style sizzling hot?

WARDROBE WATCH

Is your style sizzling hot?

RUFFLES
If you only buy one piece this season, buy something that’s ruffled. This season’s catwalks are some of the most romantic we’ve seen in a long while, and there’s nothing like a few ruffles to make sure you’re not alone next Valentine’s Day.

Ruffles are the perfect summer look and this season, they’re big, small, wild or stitched down and in any of these incarnations they work both day and night. Designers interpreted this style in different ways: Valentino’s Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri put frills all down their garments, Carolina Herrera expressed hers as tiny fluted details, while Giambattista Valli feels ballerina-style tutus are the way to go.
For maximum drama, go the flamenco route and get something that cascades down the length of your dress and make like actress Vera Farmiga at this year’s Oscar Awards. Or if subtlety’s more your thing, tiny ruffles at the neckline or cute ruffled sleeves will keep you looking trendy.

Top tip: Keep the look balanced by pairing ruffled garments with structured pieces and never forget that ruffles add volume, so if you aren’t skinny, make sure anything you buy highlights an area of your body you actually want to draw attention to, not one you’d rather minimise.

COVERALLS
Not just for children anymore, overalls and jumpsuits have crossed over into adult territory this season. Thankfully, though, the fash pack has updated them for this airing, with Chloé sending out stunning tan leather overalls and Ralph Lauren putting the ritz on in a mind-blowing formal cocktail-ready gown.

Whether long or short, jumpsuits or denim throwbacks, overalls are both easy to wear and promise a tremendous amount of action. For cocktail parties, keep the cut sharp and glam, perhaps rolled up with heels, while a hooded playsuit is perfect for a casual lunch with the girls.

As Viktor and Rolf showed by putting Lady Gaga in cutting-edge prison chains for her new outing with Beyoncé, Telephone, this is a garment that is great fun, and the adventurous can truly make it rock.

How do you wear them? One way to get the trend right is to make sure the look is updated: for evenings, choose fabrics such as silks that are embroidered or worked with metallic detail, or go with an exotic feel by choosing items that resemble harem pants.
Often seen as a garment for all occasions when paired with the right accessories, jumpsuits can also make the body look long and lean particularly if they’re slinkily cut.
And if you’re curvy or pear-shaped, opt for a halter playsuit that’s firmly belted at the waist, channelling a sixties’ movie star.


 
PRINTS AND FLORAL
We know you’re going to say that summer’s nothing without florals, but the hot-weather staple is bang on trend this season. In keeping with the return to femininity, floaty printed dresses are thriving on shop rails all over the planet.

Our favourites are Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs and Diane von Furstenberg, but several local designers have dug deep to produce some winning blooms.
Patterns of all kinds are haute this season, including polka dots, plaids, tribals and graphic prints, all mixed in and layered together in one riotous mess. No less than Gwyneth Paltrow recommends the look for spring on her goop.com newsletter. “Forget what everyone told you about mixing prints! And we don’t mean just plain black and white. All-over prints, stripes, textured zig-zags, tie-dye and embellished fabrics were remixed and refined by designers showing the playful side of fashion,” she blogged, having enlisted expert help, of course!

How do you wear these? Choose shades such as lemon yellow, blush pink, mint green or ice blue in styles that float light as a summer cloud — think butterfly sleeves, billowing dresses, kaftan tops.
Or as Gwyn suggests, mix delicate florals and prints with leather to give the sweetness some edge.

Leopard prints are also roaring ahead, but opt for a stylised look and remember to confine them to one garment in an ensemble.
Finally, you can take the florals into your hair, pinning fake blooms into a messy updo or above your ear.

ETHNIC CRAFTS
Handmade is hot this season, with designers sending out pieces that were imperfect, raw, textured, with seams turned inside-out and everything distressed. Carolina Herrera and Nicolas Ghesquière are particularly good at interpreting this trend, so look to them for inspiration.
Ethnics and tribal prints are also popping out of the woodwork, with Dries Van Noten and Marc Jacobs both putting sending them down their runways, so break out the batik and leap into leopard prints.

To get the look right, though, channel your inner Carine Roitfeld (if you don’t know who she is, put this paper down immediately and change into sackcloth right away). It’s a sexy laziness you want to express, not an outfit worthy of a dishevelled disaster-movie extra.

DENIM
Double denim is one of fashion’s all-time faux-pas, but when Stella McCartney, Jean Paul Gaultier and Ralph Lauren are all espousing it, perhaps this look is worth breaking out. Denim really does get extreme this season, so buy it in different colours and cuts this year. Denim jumpsuits are hot to trot and even denim dresses aren’t a labour too far.
Rock ‘n roll-style shredded jeans are big this season too (so you can happily recycle winter’s staple), and soft, stonewashed denim has made a comeback.
Skinny jeans or cap-sleeved jackets and waistcoats will work well with monochrome basics, but in keeping with the overall mood of spring, the dyeing is much lighter – think regulation blue jeans and anything up to three shades brighter, but not so bright they’re white.

LACE & LINGERIE
No one may be quite ready for a nineties revival, but with slip dresses spotted on catwalks everywhere (Dior and Dolce & Gabbana in particular) a full-blown return to minimalism can’t be very far away.
This season, however, it’s time to put the lingerie on display. Bra-dresses, rocket bras and bustiers from the likes of Christian Dior and Jean-Paul Gaultier offer key style directions for the season. Corsets are also popping up all over. So long as you don’t quite look like you’ve forgotten to wear a top, this is an easily adaptable trend.
For the truly avante-garde, Marc Jacobs makes a startling suggestion: bra over your T-shirt like an ironic superheroine.

How do you wear this? If you aren’t old enough to have a slip dress somewhere in the back of your closet, don’t fret, simply break out that special-occasion Victoria’s Secret set to cash in on this trend. Team it with a sheer top or kaftan (such as those from Anita Dongre) to hint at your sexy side. Dare to bare this season, it’ll win you fans and friends. If you’re not too comfortable showing too much skin, even baring your arms is cool.
Lace is also a key look this season, either full-blown in blouses and dresses or as an accent element on block colours. Dior, Ralph Lauren and Fendi are good places to go looking for this look, but rather than going for the I’ve-just-cut-up-my-curtains look, layer your lacy tank top with a tunic or some 80s dress pants.
Last word? Exposed thongs are still a no-no.

When it comes to finishing touches, look down at your feet and in the mirror, at your neck. Statement necklaces that layer and drape like a bib are big news and chunky grandma-style costume neckpieces are bang on trend for ladies in their prime. The more weight you’re carrying the better — provided it’s all costume jewellery, of course!
One micro-trend breaking out everywhere is silver jewellery, perhaps in reaction to the high price of gold. Silver works particularly well with Indian skin tones and most of us have kilos and kilos of it somewhere in our closets — if not, it’s an easy, relatively cheap look to acquire. Tribal and chunky is the look to aim for, not delicate wisps of metal.
On the feet, clogs make a comeback, with Chanel and Louis Vuitton both working the European farm girl look.
But if you think they’re too ugly, work a wedge heel instead. Sometimes as high as a stiletto, they have the advantage of making cankles — or fat ankles — look much slimmer, and are a great summer option when paired with a floaty dress.
Gladiator sandals continue to rock, too and kitten heels have finally put and end to the stiletto.
Other accessory trends are bumbags, rucksacks, cross-body messenger manbags and granny-style embroidered bags.
— UC

SHORTS
Last season’s knee-length fitted shorts give way to what were once called hot pants. This season, they’re called tap pants and boy shorts. Whatever name you want to use, shorts are super short, super tight and super fitted and if they can’t do double duty as bikini bottoms, you’re not on-trend enough.
Some stylists are recommending these for the office, but unless you work at Vogue, that really is a step too far. They’re perfect for evening wear, though. Shantanu and Nikhil have a great line for Adidas, in stores now.
Denim shorts are absolutely rocking this season, and in keeping with the recycling trend, you can simply crop last season’s jeggings at a suitably shameless length for the maximum chic.
Team them with sweet, tucked-in little blouses or a short, cropped jacket and some statement jewellery and you’re set.
Top tip: Thunder thighs must always stay covered, preferably in a skirt.


Neutrals, Colour blocks
When it comes to colour, Jenson & Nicholson would have a hard time this season. Black and white, together or separately, is a key trend. As is anything nude or neutral.
There’s some grey floating about, too and the odd dash of navy, a smattering of earth tones and lots of turquoise, which the Pantone Color Institute says is the shade of the year. The blue-green hue is considered to evoke calm and compassion, but its warm and cool shades mix well with all skin tones. Or take a cue from Marc Jacobs and team turquoise with nude.
And anything ombre – shaded – makes for a feminine, elegant choice, whether in evening gowns or scarves. Smoother and more sophisticated than tie-dye, ombre fashion is versatile enough to take you from a barbecue to the beach to a bar.
 — UC

If terms such as silhouettes (“sil-houts” in Indian designer speak) don’t mean anything to you, fret not, we’ll explain exactly where to put the emphasis this summer.
For those possessed with a truly killer bod, bare legs are where it’s at this summer. For everyone else, the emphasis this season is on shoulders and waists.
The exaggerated, space-age shoulders of yore have gotten bigger and more dramatic. Balmain’s Christophe Decarnin emphasised them with metallic epaulets, while several other designers chose to attract attention to your load-bearers with high-voltage ruffles. An easy way to reference this trend? Go asymmetric.
Waists, meanwhile, are cinched in, nipped to emphasise the classic hour-glass, not bared like a seventies’ sari-shedding screen siren. John Galliano cinched waists and flared hips at Christian Dior, while Miuccia Prada simply chose high-waisted pants for her Miu Miu summer line — which, of course, means our waists will be under our shoulders next season too!
Blazers that cinch your waist are a great way to stay on trend, but an easier option to draw attention to your waist is to wear a belt — but tone it down, flash is not fash for this little seasonal trend.
— UC

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