2013 May 3

Mantis_World_Ladies_Hoody_36_758It’s the time of year when many women end up questing – new clothes, new summer shoes, the right accessories: the summer clothes we put away with such love and care last autumn look completely inadequate when we take them out again. It’s part celebration and part neurotic excursion into self-loathing, but it doesn’t have to be.

Few of us have the lifestyles to allow us to invest in haute couture, or to wear it all the time if we can afford it, so casual style needs to work for us, and while we want to look unique and have our own style, few of us want to be ‘out there’ in our personal look. Casual clothing has inbuilt versatility, it can be dressed up or down, and that’s invaluable in our changeable climate.

Casual wear has other advantages too: it tends to be kinder to real bodies and real shapes that high fashion and it costs less to maintain. Even so, knowing how to make it work with the year’s fashion trends can be difficult.

One example is the metallic finish leather that was seen on all the catwalks this spring, notably Burberry, Nina Ricci and Diane von Furstenberg – but finding the right balance between high fashion and high street can be difficult. Gunmetal, bronze, silver and gold leather all have their individual appeal, and work well with certain colours: denim, all shades of blue and white, for example. But they can look too much like evening wear if paired with black – so if you’ve got a metallic leather belt, one of this year’s embossed leather bags, or the metal finish leather high-tops that are a fashion rage, pair them with a pure white hoody and a long, draped white cotton skirt, or for a hot day, wrap the belt around a peach or cream coloured vest, worn over oyster leggings or white jog pants, for a summery relaxed feel.

Metallic leather flowers on grips or hairbands are a key feature and easy for most of us to wear, so if you’re updating your wardrobe, it’s good to get rid of things you don’t wear and replace them with a key new piece that is classic in style, and then add some accessories to make it work for this year – new T-shirts teamed with plaited metallic leather bracelets will work for next year too, if you invest in key accessories to bring them up to date.