There's few outfits that look or feel more powerful than a suit. Is that a bit cliche?
For me, fashion has always been a sort of psychological escapism. Clothing has the power to transform you into whatever you really want to be. So cliche or not, I couldn't care less, because I always feel pretty badass when I'm wearing one.
Let's be real, but stereotypical: suits are a male dominated realm. If your face isn't pressed into someones armpit during the morning commute and you manage to get a glimpse around you, what do you see? Chances are you'll notice that it's mostly men doing the suit-wearing. But that's probably what makes wearing suits so much fun for us: it's something we're not that used to. Sure, most men might not get the same enjoyment when wearing a women's dress (apart from guys on stag do's dressed in drag) but that doesn't change anything. Slipping on a suit allows you to sink into a certain level of androgyny that so many designers can't seem to get enough of right now. It's dress up and it's fantasy, which is exactly what fashion should be.
As always with me, fashion and dressing is all about finding the right balance of pretty/ugly, masculine/feminine, sexy/casual. So rather than wear a full on shirt and suit combo (there's only so much androgyny a girl of my height and size can take before looking like a dumpy long-haired Charlie Chaplain) I decided to opt for something so quintessentially feminine and sexy: the low cut top.
Now I never wear low cut things. It leaves me feeling a little... exposed, and usually results in unwanted stares, glances, and whistles from builders and van men- classy. But when worn with a fundamentally masculine outfit you get the perfect contrast of mannishness and femininity (which surprising acts as a bit of a deterrent to these stares and whistles...) Cue a dainty heart charm bracelet from Thomas Sabo and a classic quilted handbag and you're almost good to go.
But the shoes? Well, it was always going to be classically cool converse. I love the ability trainers have to transform a pretty straightforward outfit into a slightly different dimension. The sexed up sheer panels and tailoring have to be dressed down somehow...
Zara Jumper | Choies Skirt * | DKNY Bag * | Zara Mules | ASOS Sunglasses
Autumn is my favourite time of year. Streets become littered with crisp leaves in colours of acidic yellows and burnt orange, and it's still warm enough to curl up in an oversized knit and mini skirt without the need for an extra cosy boyfriend coat and super thick woolly tights. With the fiery colours developing on the trees, what better colour to wear than a bright flaming orange-red jumper?
It's the kind of season where all of your romanticised fantasies of looking glamorous cosy knitwear, layered sweaters, mini skirts and over the knee boots really come to life, before it hits mid-November and we're plunged into four months of gail force winds and relentless rain, ensuring that our mohair-blend oversized coats go soggy like a disgruntled, rained on kitten. Make the most of it whilst you still can...
Tiny handbags are becoming one of my latest most impractical new loves. Their dinky little sizes mean you can only fit the essentials (mobile phone, oyster card, lipstick, and bank card) into them. This simple DKNY mini-bag was exactly what I had been after: teeny tiny, simple (just the classic DKNY logo and keychain) and black (my handbag and shoe collection is far more lacking in colour than my knitwear collection.) There's something a bit liberating about going all basic with the bare essentials, but if that's still just to small for you I suppose you can always stash the extra handbag contents under your oversized turtle neck jumper...
I've said it before and I'll say it again: culottes aren't really my kind of thing. There's something a bit matronly about them. Or in most cases (Topshop, I'm looking at you here) they just fit my body in a way that makes my legs resemble a tent. It's almost as if I wandered in and out of Glastonbury, drunk and blindfolded.
But the more I've played trial and error with them, the more I've come to find that it's a case of tailoring. Badly tailored culottes leads to accentuating the worst parts about you ("thighs thighs thighs!" my reflection screams back at me in horror.) Lavish Alice have taken a seriously modern, scandi-chic approach to the trend featuring a cross over section at the front. The high waisted fit hugs the body and the trousers slim over the hips without making you look like your attempting a Kim Kardashian fancy dress.
Lace trims: there's something so fundamentally sexy about them. Underwear as outerwear has always been one of those odd trends that can be difficult to make work. Too little lace or bra flashing and it's simply too vanilla. Too much lace or bra flashing and it's all a little bit red-light district. Even in an unprovocative colour like Khaki (military chic is always cool, but never really sexy, despite numerous attempts by freshers trying to make "sexy army girl" a genuinely hot thing) there's still a flirtatious element of sex appeal when hems are edged with delicate eyelash lace.
Essentially, to make it work without looking like a baby prostitute you have to tone down the sexiness. Cue the beloved turtle-neck jumper. My wardrobe currently consists of so many heavy knits that I no longer seem to own any big-night-out-with-the-girls attire or I'm-a-total-babe date clothing. Instead, I turn up to these things looking more like a dishevelled librarian. But at least they come in handy for the de-sexification of a racy lace dress. Throw that on top of a lace trimmed dress or playsuit and you're good to go hitting the perfect balance of cosy, knitted seduction.