So, London Fashion Week (the bi-annual February edition from Valentine’s Day til the 18th) is almost upon us…. Having been born and raised in London I’ve passed through a LFW or two. As normal it’s being held at Somerset House, the place for records on births, deaths and marriages but also housing exhibition spaces, cafe terrace and famously known for its seasonal ice rink. The building forms a square shape with an an open air centre and the ground is a mass of cobble stones, so watch those heels!
The hypothetical question is; if I were going to a show at LFW (and you can go to many) what would I wear? Well usually it would depend on the show(s) I was visiting on the day, however a general, all purpose, solid outfit I’d choose is something to think about.
Points to take into consideration
1) Should I wear something on trend, in season?
Pragmatic Answer: There’s always a pressure to be in step with trends and not be out of season but unless you’re in the fashion business or a celeb it’s easier to pick pieces that you’d be proud of wearing more than once and regardless of season. That said it’s best not to choose last season’s ‘big thing’ to wear this season whilst watching next season’s show(s), if you get my drift. My ethos is: “if you put together clothes/accessories that look good on you, you like and are comfortable in then you will pretty much always be stylish – maybe not fashionable but definitely stylish.”
In my case I’m a big fan of beautiful African inspired prints or just generally international tribal themes so luckily for me prints are massively on trend and look set to stay that way, big & bold prints in particular and many geometric which suits my preference for symmetry.
Colours are tougher because they change per season however I’d go with what suited and complimented me best out of the desired prints, and/or what suited my mood.
2) The weather and wearability.
This might sound unfashionable, but comfort is very important and especially in the Winter many are seeing it’s a good idea to mix warmth with style, either with warm pieces and/or layering. It does of course depend on one’s own tolerance to cold though remember that what you wear should be comfortable for both sitting and standing (particularly on cobble stones). It’s more than possible to be comfortable and stylish 🙂
3) What is the image you are trying to portray?
Are you trying to stand out, mix in, dress youthfully/maturely, conservatively/fashion forward? Confident? Interesting? Demure? I’m not one for first impressions but in such an atmosphere they do count, particularly before mingling. Though good conversation will always be the staple (and hopefully sincerity), it’s safe to say that what you wear will stay in people’s minds as well. This is almost as important as who you’re seen with and what they’re wearing…
4) Dressing down or dressing up?
It’s easy to get away with being a face in the crowd, though being too casual could get you the cold shoulder but being over dressed without a particular reason for being so can be akin to the wearing The Emperor’s New Clothes. Everyone is on display it’s true, and of course the designers/clothes take centre stage but there’s a lot of business going on and celebrities swanning about – so standing out like a peacock can be a faux pas aka stepping on toes. Dress well, dress up but say no if you find yourself reaching for the ball gown or tux.
Note: – It doesn’t matter too much if you’re wearing the same thing as someone else present especially if you’re never going to see them again, unless it makes you feel self conscious. The best way to get around that is through your layers/accessories. Any main piece garment can be made to look different depending on what it’s worn with, even if the main item is a statement piece. So if you’re wearing something bold and/or bright, wear a few complimentary accessories whether it be jewellery, a scarf or small hat and gloves to prevent any doppleganger embarrassment. The shoes and/or bag won’t be enough to separate you from someone else wearing the same main piece(s).
5) There’s a lot of photography going on around here?
Yep, cameras abound. When choosing from colours, prints and cuts (overall fit/structure of a garment) try to go for what you won’t mind accidentally ending up in a photograph wearing; both in daylight and artificial lighting. This really isn’t the place to experiment with new looks, tried and tested is true, sure have fun with your outfit but don’t stray from what you know will look good on you. Why not? a) You might not be comfortable and b) you don’t know how the styles will look on you in candid photos. The camera can add or take away pounds, highlight or smoothen lumps and bumps as well as cause you blink a fair bit or check your teeth for food particles more often than normal. – Note: if you wear makeup try not to overdo the foundation and remember to wear it evenly over your face and neck if the neck is exposed. The difference can show up on camera.
Wow sounds like a lot to think about huh? Well it’s hard for me to say not to take it too seriously after that but if you have an instinct for your own style it should be easier. If you’re not too sure, window shopping and trying on a few things can help. It’s better to have a choice than have second thoughts about a pre-detemined outfit on the day.
Ok so back to what I would wear.
Well I like I push myself a bit, wear something that I feel confident in and depending on my mood either strong or bold. I wouldn’t go for flamboyant here because I wouldn’t be interested in head hunters.
First and foremost: choice.
It’s a print, made bold with the angular and unusual lines which might seem awkward but that is offset by the classic and feminine floral prints. The colour is muted but overall it’s a statement dress due to the contrast of light and dark – monochrome is sleek, chic and bold. I also like that the neck is high as that makes it smart as well as interesting.
Wow. It probably wouldn’t appeal to me if it were on a hanger, but on a model it shows – this print was made for a woman. Curves and angles in all the right places in a very strong, powerfully feminine way. The colours are just right, had the been bright it would have clashed with the print and made it too youthful/fun for me. I’m an ancient woman at heart and I like to know that somewhere out there, there are drums pounding and fire roaring. This also has good coverage.
Second skin? Something about this says body art to me and the Pink/Black combo never fails to feel good and impress. This print isn’t as bold as the last but is just as complimentary and less colours make it more wearable. This one has the same coverage but is easier to accessorize as well and says to me ‘slinky yet appropriate – a little danger, a little mystery’.
Which dress am I leaning towards?
No: 2. It just speaks to me and that’s the root of what fashion’s about is it not? Plus it’d be for a special occasion and artistic no less so I’d be quite happy in that snazzy number. Of course I’d keep the other two as backup just in case 😉
Why did I choose this when it’s so tailored/suit looking? For me this would go with any of the above dresses because it’s so smart, bloc dark colour and long line – the contrast in style helps frame the stunning prints and focus them. The colour sets them off and the long line not only matches their lengths well but slims and adds a high fashion look with the cuffs adding a touch of something different. Sophisticated and glam on the outside of the outfit – va va voom on the inside.
I’ve never been comfortable in stilettos, open toe, open back or strappy shoes. I prefer wedges, platforms and flatforms that don’t go above 4 inches or chunky heels in general, and the softer the fabric/sole and bouncier the base the better. I personally believe that whether plain and versatile or detailed and dressy, such shoes can still be glamorous and/or elegant. Depending on the on the main outfit piece(s) the shoes can be statement pieces in themselves or backup. With my dress options being so vibrant, and my outerwear classic I feel that shoes matching the jacket help pull the look together and keep the dark line going without cutting up sections of the visible body outside of the dress. These are also comfortable and practical for standing and walking on cobble stones. Plus, they’d be jazzed up with the next item…
Ha Ha! Not totally making the outfit boring eh 😉 Keeping the print going but in balance with the solid colours and smart style.
With the outerwear and shoes matching I’d have the innerwear and accessories flattering each other and would extend the ‘ethnic’ theme with chunky, bloc style jewellery. Intricate jewellery is just as ‘ethnic’ but as the dress and tights are intricately printed I feel that these pieces wouldn’t get lost with it and both would highlight each other in a complimentary fashion as well as help me (along with the tights) to stand out against potential ‘she’s wearing the same dress’ fashionistas.
I think overall the blend of smart and funky, tailoring and print gives this outfit an 80’s/early 90’s retro feel; a time which hailed ‘boho’ jewellery, long tops or jumper dresses with belts and/or waistcoats over leggings/skinnies all topped off with oversized jackets or blazers. That was a look which inspired the later and very popular ‘boyfriend’ blazers and jeans. Both looks make the most of conservative and stylized and remind me of one of my favourite outfits of last year (shown below) which can only be a good portend!
To see what others are thinking of wearing from Next search this hashtag on Twitter #NextLFWoutfit