Unless you have the confidence, care and attention that true ladylike dressing deserves – full on Chanel-style chic should not be attempted. It is not practical for the bus and you will no doubt snag your jacket the minute you leave the door. Many solve this problem by mixing in some denim or sticking to monochrome but there is another way: play eccentric young lady in clashing prints and amazing textured fabrics in classic shapes.
The Most Peculiar Mademoiselle trend showed up at Vivienne Westwood (of course), Marc Jacobs, Jean Paul Gaultier and Comme des Garcons for Autumn/ Winter 2011 whereas Chanel this season played rebel and went for androgynous slouchy trousers, cardigans and arm-warmers instead.
I loved Tomas Maier’s collection for Bottega Veneta in Milan – it reminded me of past seasons of Luella dressing the eccentric British aristocratic lady. Psychadelic dresses you could only wear if you were important enough to be throwing a fancy garden party and if you were completely in control of the dress code. Bottega Veneta, the luxury Italian label, obviously offered a toned down version of this but the playful attitude was still there in mohair jackets, opaque white tights and trompe l’oeil “lace” detailing.
Lets face it summer is for simple brights and sandals, not half as interesting as covering up in wonderfully mismatched layers. So if you are already planning your first workwear buying session of the autumn, here’s what to rummage for: The aforementioned white tights, a neutral blouse, a single-breasted knitted jacket in as daring a colour as you can and a selection of just above the knee shift dresses and pencil skirts.