Spring’s bold new trends — at any age! Don’t be put off by crop tops and miniskirts. This season there are staples for grown-ups too
- Is it true that the floral midi dress may have had its day? Ask the fashionistas
- READ MORE: John Lewis drops the item from its collection, saying it has ‘been around for too long’
You might have noticed the small outcry when news broke, back in February, that the floral midi dress may have had its day.
There were questions asked on Radio 4’s Today programme. Fashion editors rushed to reassure the public that the floral midi could yet survive, and others to gently explain that it has been around for a while and that’s fashion for you: it moves on and we have to move on too.
Or, alternatively, we make fashion work harder for us and give us more of what we want. The floral midi fightback proved that something has changed in fashion. Now women are quietly quitting chasing the latest fashion diktats and fashion brands are quietly providing more of the clothes — alongside the ultra minis, sheer nude tops and negligee dresses — that become forever wardrobe staples.
So this spring, for every teeny-weeny mini there’s an ankle-grazing skirt; for every multipocket cargo pant there’s a plain pair of khakis; and in place of those floral midi dresses, there’s a slightly bolder print alternative — all at the cutting edge of fashion. Here’s what you need to update your wardrobe for the new season without throwing away the things you love.
A crisp cotton shirt
Shirt, £65, and jeans, £59, johnlewis.com. Crisp cotton collars and cuffs on show under a jacket or a slim sweater look fresh and modern
Masculine and oversize, but shorter in front so it can be easily tucked into the waistband of your trousers or skirts, this shirt is now a wardrobe staple. Crisp cotton collars and cuffs on show under a jacket or a slim sweater look fresh and modern thanks to Miu Miu.
Pack away: High-neck, pie crust collars.
Keep: Comfortable striped boyfriend shirts.
Buy: A white shirt.
Trousers, £49.99, zara.com. A wide-legged pair of khaki trousers is the elegant and easy alternative
They’re new because they are wide (no surprise since wide-leg trousers are key to the new silhouette), and they’re important this season because a wide khaki is the ‘been there and don’t much fancy doing it again’ woman’s answer to the current revival of cargo pants.
Reserve judgement on this one. It’s very early days and there will be cargos in the shops that are not bristling with baggy pockets and slung low enough to reveal your thong. But for now a wide-legged pair of khaki trousers is the elegant and easy alternative. Wear them the way you would denim and look smarter, then add more khaki as we get into summer to look smarter still.
Pack away: Slim jeans in khaki.
Buy: Wider khaki trousers or cargos, a khaki shirt, jacket, sweater.
The midi dress
Dress, £85, oliver bonas.com. The floral midi is alive and kicking, so long as it’s not the spriggy twee sort
You may rest easy: the floral midi is alive and kicking, so long as it’s not the spriggy twee sort. This season’s florals are bold and graphic. Sleeves are much the same — fuller and long, or elbow length with a bit of puff at the shoulder.
The length could be midi, but it’s the long side of midi, or an ankle-grazing maxi. This time, look for more volume in the skirt, a high waist and a neat top.
If you were thinking of going for a frilly yoke detail or a lace insert, or anything that might be described as boho or prairie, think again.
This dress is your go-to, like the last one — but more — elegant and dramatic.
Pack away: Bias cut floral dresses.
Keep: Long shirt dresses.
Buy: A bold print dress.
Jacket, £119, shirt, £59, jeans, £89, and bag, £169, all hobbs.com. A crop jacket is what makes wider trousers look neat and uniform
For years, a roomy double-breasted blazer has been the jacket for slinging on with trousers or dresses. But what you need to ring the changes now is a jacket cropped on the hip. This could be a collarless, edge-to-edge style, a variation on a denim jacket or a cargo four-pocket. It’s what makes wider trousers look neat and uniform, and it neatly contains a fit and flow midi dress.
If you’re ready for a longer maxi skirt, this is the jacket that makes it look chic. If you’re not, this is the jacket you’re wearing to work with your mid to high-waisted trousers. It could be navy, it could be boucle, it could be a little black number with gold buttons or thick khaki cotton.
Pack away: Baggy linen jackets.
Keep: Big blazers.
Buy: A cropped jacket — you may need two.
Shirt, £75, skirt, £110, and sandals, £95, all boden.co.uk. There are long tiered skirts, too, but these need to be worn with a skinny top
Stranger things have happened, and providing it’s narrow with a bit of a split so you can walk in it, this is promising to be the unlikely trend that everyone can join in with.
The smart bet is to wear your hem just above the ankle, and make sure your slingbacks or sandals are worthy of being on show.
STYLES STILL GOING STRONG
- Seeveless sweaters
- White trainers with suede details
- Jumpsuits and boiler suits (the utilitarian sort)
- Denim shirts
- Masculine cotton shirts
- Bright colour
- Bold prints
- Block colour suits
The longer denim skirt is back, too. This time, wear it with a buttoned-up blouse. There are long tiered skirts, too, but these need to be worn with a skinny top.
Pack away: On and just-below the knee skirts.
Keep: Longer tiered skirts.
Buy: An ankle grazer with a manageable split.
It seems like every year is a big denim year, but some years are a ‘Change Up Your Jeans’ year, and this is one of them.
The wider leg gives you lots of new options. Wear dark jeans with a cropped boucle jacket, tucked-in boyfriend shirt or denim shirt. If the idea of wide alarms you, the bootcut is making a stealthy comeback. And if you are a denim fan — everything comes in denim from skirts to clogs.
Pack away: Skinny jeans.
Keep: Denim shirts.
Buy: Straight leg and wide leg or bootcut jeans.
Dress, £250, jasper conran.com. A bold block colour or a trim of something striking (think bright emerald green, tangerine, shocking pink) makes regular everyday clothes look modern
The colour experiment is going strong, and strong is the spring/summer palette.
A bold block colour or a trim of something striking (think bright emerald green, tangerine, shocking pink) makes regular everyday clothes look modern. The colour of Spring 2023 is allegedly pansy purple or bright lilac, but any bright colour in the mix, whether it’s a sleeveless sweater under a jacket or a bag under your arm, lifts the rest.
If you’re tired of pink, get into red or orange.
Pack away: Pale colours and black (until summer).
Buy: Colours close to each other on the spectrum.
Switch around the silhouette
Top, £85, and trousers, £195, meandem.com. Young Hollywood starlets will be showing off their abs in teeny crop tops with voluminous trousers
The big shift now is the switch in silhouette from big on top and skinny below, to small on top and baggier on the bottom.
Young Hollywood starlets will be showing off their abs in teeny crop tops with voluminous trousers; trendy mums will be wearing sleeveless dresses over loose fit trousers, and most of us — the fashion conscious grown-up majority — will be embracing the best of both worlds.
That’s wider trousers and a neat cropped jacket, or a midi dress that’s a little bit fitted on top and fluid and drapey below. These are all clothes that are easy to wear and versatile — and you probably own some of them already.
Pack Away: Skinny jeans and baggy sweaters.
Keep: Roomy blazers .
Buy: Neater tops and baggier bottoms.
Jacket, £225, tedbaker.com; belt, £22, johnlewis.com. The rule with leopard is to avoid the cocktail hour stuff and get a smart coat, a swing jacket a leopard belt or some calf hair slingbacks
Wearing the right print sharpens up your look this season, and graphic prints including the animal variety (especially leopard) are big news.
The rule with leopard is to avoid the cocktail hour stuff and get a smart coat, a swing jacket a leopard belt or some calf hair slingbacks.
Pack away: Sprigged floral prints.
Keep: Graphic patterns including florals.
Buy: Smart leopard print tailoring
The new shoes
Nude, £45.99, zara.com & Pink, £55, stories.com. Go for a pair of kitten heels — lowish and pointy — to wear with trousers and smart denim jeans
Not for a long time has a kitten heel looked like the shoe that could tip your trousers or jeans into spring/ summer, but this is one of those seasons when a shoe upgrade will make all the difference. Go for a pair of kitten heels — lowish and pointy — to wear with trousers and smart denim jeans; a solid heeled slingback to team with midi or maxi lengths; or a black, flat, strappy sandal to go with tailoring and long skirts.
Pack away: Courts.
Keep: Pretty trainers.
Buy: Mid-heel sling backs.
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