Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Marc Jacobs Fall 2011

  It is a simple four-letter word: lady - one we're all going to be hearing a lot more about that in the next few months. Just when you thought you were finally grasping the concept of "casual dress," along comes the latest ladylike look, with a figure-friendly trend that harks back to an age of grown up glamour. 

The recent New York Fashion Week was full of sleek collections inspired by the roaring Forties and glamorous Seventies. Autumn 2011 will be a seriously chic affair, judging by the latest round of shows..

Rodarte showed a collection of exquisite, flowing dresses, beaded, draped in a subtle colour pallette of cream and grey. There were were coats, for the first time, high-waisted trousers and elegant evening gowns that will be on every fashion follower's wish list next season.

Marc Jacobs, on the other hand,  went for vintage ladylike silhouettes and modern shapes for his fall collection."I thought it was great," said Virginia Smith, the Vogue fashion market director. "It was a mad mix of futuristic '40s."The spectacular show featured: pencil skirts, high-neck blouses, sheer tops, pillbox hats and more lace and towering heels than most people could digest.

Donna  Karen 2011

Victoria Beckham - known for her highly groomed , sophisticated look - certainly reflected personal style in her most recent show. This latest collection moved her silhouette on from structured dresses - of which there were still plenty - to include a relaxed, looser outline.

Victoria Beckham spring 2011

So why has fashion suddenly gone all prim and proper? In a word, wearability. Given how much the fashion industry has struggled in the past few years as a result of the economic downturn, trends that women actually want to buy and wear just seems to make sense. But there's more to the new lady-like trend than pure nostalgia. There's the figure-flattering style of the clothes for a start, designed to make women look and feel better.

While the style bible Vogue may have championed the ladylike trend in its recent issues with heavyweight labels such as Dior and Chanel it is possible to get the look on the high street for a fraction of the cost. Zara and Wallis are brimming with catwalk-inspired skirt suits, jackets with nipped-in waists, tailored trousers and pencil skirts. Blouses can be found in delicate chiffon, accessorised with statement neck-ties, frills or feminine embroidery.And Coast and Karen Millen also cut fine figures with directional suits and ultra- ladylike silk blouses and tops.
To be fair, the clothes as imagined by Marc Jacobs are extremely appealing on Gisele Bundchen (who wouldn't be seen dead in a tweed skirt suit or a pussy-bow blouse in her normal life) and certainly seem desirable on glossy paper, but when mere mortals, such as myself, emulate the look we can look more frumpy than fabulous - especially over the age of 25.

To avoid the frump factor - a tweed jacket or coat must be fitted to the waist or have a belt, otherwise you will look fat. Don't wear a full skirt that flares from the hips - it's unflattering; make sure it flares out from the mid thigh and is smoothed over the hips. To really work the look - invest in a pencil skirt because there's simply nothing like a well-cut skirt to make a girl feel like a lady. High on the waist and tailored neatly over the hips and thighs - the perfect pencil can transform you from ordinary girl to supermodel in an instant.

 Think of accessorising as the finishing school of ladylike fashion. Pick up the highest of heels,an elegant clutch, dress gloves and hairpieces with veils.
Just resist the urge to wear them with an apron and ask "How was your day, darling?"


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