So…last time we looked at what the high street is trying to flog us this Summer – mainly it seems, gingham (Hilly billy, hipster or horrendous for the over 40’s? Discuss). This time, mes chers, we need to talk about other Summer trends.
The first, is yellow. This Summer it is everywhere, in every hue from sunflower to sucked sherbet lemon. It must be one of those psychological glitches that happen when the economic conditions are grim, like the rise in red lipstick during the Second World War. The future is so dark, we want sunshine where we can get it.
Yellow works really well with that other hot trend, gingham. But beware of putting it with yet another on-trend colour, pink. It can come across a bit….well, Mr Kipling.
Finding the right yellow, that makes you look radiant and not bilious, is easier said than done. Yellow is a difficult colour to pull off, especially if it has a hint of the highlighter pen about it. I love a strong colour, but since my style lexicon does not include looking as if I’ve stepped off a tin of Fisherman’s Friends, I’m going to have to be careful how I wear it.
First port of call has to be yellow accessories. I am hankering after a sunshine yellow bag this Summer. This Kate Spade number is well-nigh perfect, but it is £300 plus and I’m Northern. This Boden bag is a much more affordable £63 (on sale). Although it’s no longer possible to talk about good value in a bag, since they seem to have followed some alternative inflationary trajectory of their own and are now preposterously priced, Boden’s are not.
Kate Spade Hayes Street bag, large, £358, BUY ME HERE
Boden small tassel bag, now on sale, £63 BUY ME HERE
Yellow shoes are much more versatile than you think. They bring a pop of Summer to most outfits. I had some yellow wedge sandals for a few years and I mourn their passing whenever the sun shines. I’m attached to trainers at the moment, due to tripping over a carrier bag and ending with two sprained toes like baby boudin blancs.
These are from Stella McCartney for Adidas. I’m a down-the-line Nike gal when it comes to trainers but these, these could make me smile even in one of those hideous HIIT classes.Adidas by Stella, ‘Crazy’ Trainers, also in grey £129.95, BUY ME HERE
TopShop, yellow 80’s courts, £59, BUY ME HERE
These 80’s style leather courts from Topshop kill a couple of trends in one shoe.
Topshop Limited Edition, ‘Fran’ sandals, £42, BUY ME HERE
If you like flats, then these hassled canvas slides will cheer up even the most overcast Bank Holiday weekend.
Beyond accessories, I tend to tread cautiously. Being a greyish complexioned Brit, I feel I look better at the lemon sorbet end of the spectrum. But I can always be tempted by something more sunny. Here are my favourite yellow fashion pieces at the moment.
Goat, Eloise Tunic dress, also in navy, £480, BUY ME HERE
If anyone I know is thoughtful enough to think of getting married this Summer but thoughtless enough not to invite me, get your skates on with that invitation. This little beauty from Goat would be perfect. Be honest, wouldn’t you want this at your wedding breakfast?
Mango open knit cardigan, £59.99, BUY ME HERE
This Mango cardigan just appeals to me. It’s probably some Proustian thing. My Mum once had us all ponchos made from those crocheted squares and I picked orange, brown and cream for mine. (It was the SEVENTIES, okay?!). I thought it looked gorgeous and this brings back those happy memories of thinking it was so cool (until my sisters’ blue and red one arrived and looked even cooler).
Zara, yellow bell sleeved jacket, also in other colours, £69.99, BUY ME HERE
Whenever there’s one of those big seasonal shifts in colour, you can bet your bottom dollar that Zara will be on it like a bonnet. This flared sleeve jacket is a good way to pull together the old jeans and t-shirt combo.
Zara yellow coat, £99.99, BUY ME HERE
For the more understated out there, this subtle custard coat is another Zara special. It looks far more expensive than it is. I have it in duck egg blue and every time I wear it people ask me about it.
TEXT ON YOUR TOPS
The next trend which has been bothering me for a while is clothes with writing on them. Oh, I do love a font, Helvetica, baptismal, you name it. But everything at the moment has something or other scrawled on it. Sometimes, in order to trap the short sighted, it’s in places you’d never normally look. Like some jeans I spotted in H&M. If I hadn’t noticed, I could have ended up having “Rebel” and “Youth” written all over my knees – hashtag, inappropriate.
Unlike the Katherine Hamnett or Frankie Says generation of slogan tops, this years are either sanctimoniously meme-ish, like the top in Zara emblazoned with the legend “Inspire Others”; kittenishly flirty ( “Candy Girl”, “Sweetie Pie”) or just plain embarrassing. I think it’s safe to predict I probably won’t be wearing the “Slayer” t shirt from Topshop. I doubt I can get away with Hush’s “Happy Days” t-shirt in my current mood. What a promise. It would be so much better with a question mark.
If you have money to burn, the Queen of this trend is Bella Freud. Her slogan sweaters in cashmere or lambswool come in upwards of £290, unless you can find them on sale. But they are lovely. You will see them driving Lexus 4 x 4’s into a Waitrose car park, or at the school gates in the more expensive metropolitan postal codes. But it is always worth checking what the well-heeled have grown bored with. I have one bought on eBay for considerably less.
Bella Freud “Rapture” sweater in pink cashmere, £390, BUY ME HERE
A less well known purveyors of slogan tops are Hades knitwear. They are less Yummy Mummy and more ex-punk than the Bella Freud collection. A couple of years ago I was desperate to get hold of one of their “The Smiths” or “The Slits” jumpers, but they sold fast and the copyright lawyers stamped all over my dreams. This year they have gone all psychological on us (probably after the trauma of all those legal bills). I have this season’s “Bonjour Tristesse” sweater in pink and red, but this “Anxiety” sweater also speaks to me (if our size is out of stock, try the Trouva website which trawls little independent shops and finds what you’d like n your size.)
“Anxiety” sweater in pale blue from Hades, £160 BUY ME HERE
If sweats and t-shirts are more your vibe, the elegant and subtle Maison Labiche is a good place to look and they will even customise their sweatshirts for you. Their sales, by the way, are worth looking out for.
Maison Labiche women’s sweatshirt, customisable, £93, BUY ME HERE
Finally, my Mastermind specialist subject, shoes. Two developments here – those awful stripper heels everyone was tottering around on are so several years ago and the mid-heel is firmly back on the map. By far the easiest to wear is that square little 1 1/2 to 2 inch heel, much beloved of “Our Dear Queen” who, while not someone I look to as a beacon of the footwear avant garde, does know what it’s like to spend a lot of time on her pins.
What I don’t get is why the shoes have to look so much like hers? If the high street had its way, we’d all look like we are official Wearers In of HRM’s shoes. If you’re of an age where people expect you to be frumpy, then there’s only so far you can go without over-heating the frumpometer. I’m not keen on these from &Other Stories
Pink soft leather mid heel pumps, £69 & Other Stories BUY ME HERE
But I do like this similar boot version from Mango, possibly because I can’t ever imagine a member of the royal family giving it house room. Also, without a pair of white heels this Summer, I am assured by detailed study of the magazines I read when having my nails done, you will be nobody…NOBODY, do you hear?
Mango, white mid heeled boot shoe £69.99 BUY ME HERE
A shoe you will see a lot of is the 80’s v fronted court shoe. Again I wasn’t so sure about how flattering this looks, but then I saw it on my sister, in a fuchsia suede Kurt Geiger and my mind was changed.
Kurt Geiger fuchsia suede 80’s court, now on sale £89 BUY ME HERE
Finally, a moment on my preferred mid heel shoe, the heeled loafer. My current favourite is a straight rip off, er… reinterpretation of the Gucci mid heel loafer which this season was available in swoon, mayonnaise-droppable on suedes or in leather with pearl trimmed heels for catching in the pavement. I tease, but I do love them.
Gucci loafers, £750 with pearl trim heels, £465 in suede BUY ME HERE
One of my colleagues has the plainer loafer in black leather, which puts me in mind of a school uniform shoe. Sadly, I don’t have this in any form. But I do have this & Other Stories gold rip off…er..reinterpretation but I’m kicking myself I didn’t wait and buy this Uterque version in pewter.
Gold loafers, & Other Stories, £69, BUY ME HERE
Silver loafers, Uterque, £95, BUY ME HERE
Ah well, c’est la vie. No woman died from a lack of rip offs of 500 quid Gucci mid heeled loafers, now did she? But I can’t help but comfort myself with noticing that on my colleagues Gucci version, the fringes have curled up something rotten.