Wardrobe Warrior’s Guide to Autumn / Winter 2013 /14

It’s time to pack away your happy summer dresses and sandals and reluctantly bury yourself in baggy jumpers. Not this year, you can wear your favourite dresses all year round. But my dresses are strapless, some are very short,  you say. What about the cold? you cry.  Happily designers thought about those of us without access to round the clock town cars aka taxis, who may have to wait for train, tube and or bus or mayhap even gasp; walk!

Summer Dresses All Year Round. 

There is no secret here that I love dresses, my wardrobe is 80% dresses. Dresses stop that blind panic in the mornings of trying to match things, saving time allowing more time in bed, like sleep and a perhaps have a tastier unhurried breakfast. Hurrah!  I love dresses so much but can’t understand why designers refuse to give them sleeves. This is Britain. It’s a green and pleasant land because we have rain, which is cold, which means covering up our arms to keep warm; even in summer. Please stores, dresses with sleeves. Thank you.

Prada shows how to work cardigans under dresses.

Prada shows how to work cardigans under dresses.

But what do you do in the meantime. Miuccia Prada has the solution, wear your sleeveless dress with a cardigan as a top underneath. To be fair I used to do this all the time and people stared but now it’s officially fashion so people just nod approvingly.  Works a treat with oversized men’s cardigans and deep v necks, which give you that sexy off the shoulder look, yet you can still wear your bra under the summer dress. Genius. Air kisses to you MiuMiu.  This is the trend for you, if like myself have an hourglass shape or have dresses that are tailored to give the illusion of it. You will be warm because of the extra layer in the body and the sleeves, you will look sexy due to the off the shoulder top and hint of cleavage. All from items you have in your wardrobe allready. A winning look I say.

She’s a Man baby!

YSL Bad Girl Tartan Dress

The YSL Bad Girl in her lace dress and lumberjack coat.

Slip dresses are no friends of those of us who are remotely woman shaped but that doesn’t matter to the men who created them for it was featured heavily in the collections of male designers. This time around you could cover yourself up with a tartan shirt. I got mine from a well known sadly now defunct camping store.  Even better if it is short enough wear over your black leather leggings like a tunic. This was bad girl grunge, you could stop there but why would you, says Tom Ford.

Add a clashing cardigan or shirt and atop of that the mannish oversized coat. Too

The least headache look from Tom Fords collection A/W 2013

The least headache inducing look from Tom Fords collection A/W 2013

sensible with the grey coat why not pile on some fake fur or go the whole hog in fun fur.  This is a great trend if you feel the cold but you do need to be slender, as all the layers will bulk you out. There are ways to wear this look if you are curvy but the look this year is about androgyny and curves are not allowed this time. I like this look a lot artistically as you get to play with textures if you go the maximalist route of Tom.

Big, warm, mannish tailored double breasted grey coat.

Big, warm, mannish tailored double-breasted grey coat.

For your day job follow the class styling’s of Stella McCartney to clinch deals and garner respect but if you follow the route of Slimaine at YSL you look like a rock star who just stepped off stage.  So much choice. Who is your him-spiration?

Zen and the Art of Coat Dressing.

This is all about the final silhouette and it was either the super feminine hourglass or the masculine square, the coat is what is doing the talking.

Dior's modern super feminine suit.

Dior’s modern super feminine suit.

Whatever you have underneath, it must not impede the final layer and not peek out. The best examples of the feminine shape were to be found at Dior, which regularly gives us, nipped in waists for no reason and that’s why I love it. The greatest thing about this was the way they were worn with a wide masculine pant, very Jane Russell ; yet making it modern. Dolce & Cabana have a similar style but Dior won because of the way he made it look modern and not retro.

Mannish Tartan Blanket Overcoat.

Mannish Tartan Blanket Overcoat.

Chloe also did a similar thing with her oversized loose tailoring but again Stella had the edge because of the spectacular oversized mannish coats. The proportions of them makes you look incredibly girly because they are so huge, yet they also looked warm and cosy and somehow ladylike despite their boxy tailoring.  By the time this is out on the web I feel that these wonder coats will be gone but go and have a look at

these marvels whilst you can.

If you are quick the best Dior and Stella homages are available in Marks and Spencer’s. Snap them up now, you won’t regret it, the pink cocoon (yes pink!)  and the grey fit and flare with the fake fur trimmed collar and cuffs are my favorites.

Dior's Grey Coat with its sharpley cinched waist and full skirt is the ultimate update on a beloved retro shape.

Dior’s Grey Coat with its sharply cinched waist and full skirt is the ultimate update on a beloved retro shape.

This Winter there is a style for everyone so get out there and try them on, and there’s a coat with your name on it. Go with Glamour!

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