Every year we are forced into packing away our summer clothes in a flash, the seasons change almost overnight! Umbrellas and coats literally take over our lives for months on end. Is this the year that we get to experience Autumn? Imagine, long walks crunching leaves in woolly jumpers and ever-so-cute hats; sitting outside a café with a few friends, having a natter, sipping a hot coffee in October…luxuries we often can only dream about or enjoy when we take a mini break outside of Ireland. Fingers and toes very definitely crossed in the hope that we get to experience the ‘Fall’ in all its glory! I know that it is never easy to say goodbye to anything, especially our glorious summer, but do not be dismayed – perhaps you can take comfort in the fact that there are so many fresh and beautiful trends to try this autumn.
Feminine glamour and the empowerment of women is glaringly obvious in almost every item of clothing for the season upon us. That jacket or coat that you bought in a size too big…well, this is the season to take control and wear it as oversized coats and jackets appear to be topping the list of must-haves! Lots of embellishment, fuller skirts, tweeds and colourful prints all mixed into a 1980s feel is what Autumn/Winter 2018 is all about. You might not necessarily like all of it but there are some gorgeous eye-catching pieces that will be worth investing in and will inevitably stand the test of time…that is if you prioritise style over fashion. Getting it right is about remaining true to your signature style, while also incorporating some new key pieces. If you like tweed (it’s everywhere) but worry that you will never get it right, start with something small. This year’s key ‘buy of the season’ is a tailored suit but consider instead investing in a solid colour suit and shopping around for a tweed print top or blouse to wear inside. Business attire tailoring is key but don’t be surprised if you see an impeccably stylish fitted suit jacket teemed with a full plaid skirt! Of course this is not a ‘look’ for everyone but I must admit it is a joy to look at on the right person. How about a tailored slim fit trouser with an oversized jumper, huge beads and flat shoes? This is a striking look on someone blessed with long legs; I believe that’s the only way to balance the look!
Over-sized cardigans – what do I think? In theory they always look great, but practically, when do you wear one? You can’t wear it when it’s raining or if you are hopping in and out of the car you end up with a ‘bum inprint’ on it (and that never looks well). I love the very casual look with jeans and a top and an oversized cardigan – it’s funky, relaxed and can be worn anytime, anywhere. I love cheetah print but it can be overdone and there is a very thin line between looking good and looking ‘tacky’ with cheetah print. I found a cute oversized cardi that has a big cheetah print on it, so easy to pair up with a white tshirt, blue skinny jeans and boots ( but I will continue to wear flip flops, as long as I possibly can!) It really is subtle cheetah, the caramel colour with black design, so any age can wear it. I’m determined to wear it any dry mild day that our climate bestows upon us, so if you invest in a long cardi, wear it as much as you can until it simply has to be replaced by a coat.
There is a lot of colour about…yippee…anything to shine out on a dark day is always a plus. Designers are mixing colour with an angular cut and an assortment of print including stripes and tartan. Girls, the young ones can carry it off but I’m afraid that as you get older, you need to be more definite in your style and add only a little ‘fashion’ to a wardrobe.
Fur collars are profoundly gorgeous, glamorous and add luxury to just about any look. The runways were full of tweed dresses trimmed with fake fur and oversized coats. For longevity purposes, check that the fur is detachable, that’s always a winning recipe! If you read my articles regularly, then you will know that if Dr. Dolittle was real, then I would be Mrs. Dolittle. As I am writing this, my blind dog, Poppy, is asleep half way across the laptop, Snoop, the boxer is across my feet ( so I never need slippers) and Sean (the white wolf) is standing at the open patio door with a rag in his mouth, waiting for me to go outside and play with him. I love all animals, even goats, who will regularly break your heart and eat your garden, so I am always very conscious of animal rights of course and very anti-real fur. Hence it might seem to be a complete contradiction that I wear my grandmother’s fur stoles on occasion. My attitude is that no amount of ‘not wearing’ those stoles will bring life back into the poor creatures that were sacrificed to make them and they remind me how much we have progressed (at least in some parts of the world) so please forgive me! I add them to coats or dresses for a tad of luxury – one is a caramel colour, the other is white-cream.
There is a wonderful amount of glitter and embellishment slowly making its way onto the racks; sequinned skirts and sparkly shoes and hints of black lace here and there. Amazingly, designers have teamed white shirts with sequinned skirts or tulle skirts – a new and a very different look.
Stella McCartney has created a line of knit dresses in abstract leopard print while Gucci has taken a light hearted approach to Autumn/Winter by bringing out some floral print mini dresses – just enough to brighten any dark days that might come.
I’m always on the lookout for something new and fresh and vibrant!! If you haven’t some across Sharon Rose Designs yet then you are most sincerely missing out. She is based in Baltimore and if you love knitwear, then even in your wildest dreams, you will not find anything more beautiful. She recently ‘showed’ her collection in Cork during Culture Week, hosted by Lockdown Model Agency where knitted dresses took on an entirely different level in the fashion world; striking, rich, hypnotising and very elegant springs to mind. Her hat and scarf combinations are breathtaking and exactly what you need for a coat that needs a lift. Next time you are in Skibbereen, have a look through her collection in West Cork Crafts or www.sharonrosedesigns.ie. This collection is full of investment pieces for the woman looking for something different.
As the seasons change, undoubtedly the colours that we reach for change quite dramatically too. This season, don’t be afraid to layer lots of colours on top of each other, always start with the lightest shade on the inside and work your way out. More than ever before prints do not need to match up; I like it. It’s a casual funky look, not to everyone’s taste but, as an avid style-watcher, there is nothing more refreshing than seeing relaxed new trends that are ‘do-able’. It’s very definitely time to have a good look through your wardrobe, try to pair some of your clothes with different bits and move away from wearing the same things together all of the time. Be creative and adventurous. Black can be your best friend but you don’t need to wear it everyday. Do lots of window shopping. Rummage through your jewellery box and pull out all the big flamboyant pieces that haven’t been worn for a time – this year they should make their comeback.
As always when it comes to shoes and boots, you have my absolute permission to buy as many as your heart desires. Have a loving look through your winter footwear and see which ones need a trip to the shoe repair shop – leather shoes/boots last for many years if they are taken care of. New heels or soles and a gentle rub with shoe cream can make a dramatic difference to a long-time favourite pair.
Have fun shopping; it’s time for me to don my wellies and run around the garden like a lunatic with my dogs – the simple pleasures in life are almost always free!