Pack away the swimsuits: it's time to think boots, cardigans, and warmer fabrics. With luck, we may still have an Indian Summer, but just in case that doesn't happen…
I'm concentrating on smart casual this time. It's a look we all subscribe to and there are some treasures around this autumn. On the trouser scene, look for a denim cut but experiment with the fabric, and consider needlepoint, velvet or leather. If you are very slim, go for a straight leg for a smoother silhouette. To create a leg if you are curvy, opt for either a higher rise slim cut and team with a boot worn over the denim style trouser or even try for a skinnier fit, which coincidentally will make you appear slimmer.
On top, you can choose a tunic or cardigan or jacket but, whatever it is, be sure that it hits/finishes at your widest point on the hip or thigh. Team with a platform shoe, wedge or boot and it's up to you whether you wear the trouser in or outside the boot.
Whatever the trouser shape and fabric you select, you will find it will go with this season's most coveted style of jacket, the aviator. My favourite is the one from Warehouse which is a straight take-off of the classic Burberry Prorsum aviator jacket (£2,395) and at just £300, a fraction of the price. I note that Isabel Marant and Paul & Joe are also following this trend. I also like the military style jackets from Zara, which is another strong and lasting trend.
If you are not into denim-style trousers, you can still create a longer leg with a legging that has some control in it. Go to Joseph, Whistles and Nicole Farah for some of the best, or choose opaque tights.
Otherwise, you will see prints, on prints, on prints if not a dash of animal print on the high street. These are useful as well as decorative because they will camouflage any parts of the body you wish to draw attention away from. I find that a block colour tends to emphasise any problem areas. And prints bring in colour. Don’t forget, if you are trapped in black, you should go for a lift, be it black and white, black and grey, or black and red.
The maxi skirt is everywhere this season. Again, this will look good with an aviator jacket. If you are really keen to be right on trend, go for a midi skirt length, with opaque tights and a boot, wedge or platform. Pick a straight cut maxi if you have a hip, or a soft A-line if you are very slim.
If you want to go smart, think of a dress, a wrap or gently waisted style as they are on-trend and very flattering. Be careful with the length: ideally it should be to the knee unless you are going for a midi dress. Also, try a 10 or 20 denier tight for a fresher finish. There's a re-invention of Christian Dior’s new look a tiny waist and huge skirt but it is really for those under 30 unless you are super fit. Otherwise there's a chance you will wind up as Miss Marple on a bad day!
A perfect example of someone who has dressed well for both her height and proportion is Christine Hendrix from the TV series, Mad Men. She is 5’ 8” and a US size 10 which is size 14 in the UK. She has a good waist, with great boobs and hips (39, 30DD, 39) - the traditional hour-glass figure. What works on her are dresses that are not only waisted but also have the structure to play up her assets. The series has been a terrific inspiration of 60’s fashion, reinvented for 2010. And of course anyone over 5’ 8” should consider a trench-coat, maybe from London Fog (look for Christina exclusive version), Burberry or Max Mara, which not only has functionality but shows gives great presence.
As I have been following the Spring/Summer 2011 fashion shows I can clearly see these trends continuing and even Victoria Beckman’s collection is displaying a softer silhouette.
Lastly, a few words on men’s trends: look for slim cut chinos and for fabrics with a fleck, or a pinstripe, for jackets and suits.