Isn’t this the trickiest time of year to dress for? You yearn to shake off the manacles of wintery knitwear and layers, only to realize that the best solution for “sunny but cool breezes” is… knitwear and layers.
But there is a new player this spring. It’s called the Big Blazer, and although you’ll need to overcome any lingering unease about all things associated with the Eighties, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
It’s flattering – not in a shape-hugging, waist-defining way, but with gamine charm and attitude. You know how sometimes your hair looks best when you’ve just twisted it back in a pleat or a ponytail and you’ve thought: “If only I could wear it out like this, but I can’t because insufficient angst and effort went into it?” That’s the big blazer’s USP. It is zero fuss, yet “finished”. Fling it on and you’re almost office-ready, even if you’re wearing workout leggings (although, obviously, I’d never advise workout leggings for anything but a workout).
Cropped wide pant, £215, M.i.H Jeans
Jeans are quite casual enough. Or better yet, denim or corduroy cropped-at-the-ankle kick flares in one of this spring’s colours. Mocha, rust and khaki are appealing, and versatile enough to wear on grey days. M.i.h’s high-waisted Caron pants in clay red or navy are that ideal combination of smart but street that French editors have down to a T (-shirt, usually from somewhere like APC). Or M.i.h Coler flares in a navy-and-white ticking are a hard-working option for a bit later in the season. They are £245, which might seem steep for a jeans spin-off, but both M.i.h styles are built to last and adaptable (mih-jeans.com).
Oversized Summer Blazer, £249, Me+Em, Fine sweater with stripes, £175, Sandro
The jacket itself should skim over the bottom and thighs and (this is key) the shoulders should sit neatly but affirmatively. Cuts tend to be straight up and down – think of it as a tailored alternative to the coatigan. It should be roomy enough to allow for a slinky jumper and neat enough to work over a dress or a silky blouse – one with neckties will nicely offset the androgynous vibe. Have a look at the Oversized Summer Blazer in light wool, £249 on Meandem.com. Pockets are a must, cuffs you can flick back a bonus, and a versatile shade that will look right on days from sunny to overcast is a must (probably not red).
Structured linen jacket, £49.99, Mango, Stretch slingback heeled shoes, £49.99, Zara
The crucial link to being happy in your spring wardrobe is footwear. It’s far too early for open toes. You could do a backless shoe – I’m still wavering, because they’re not easy to walk in, and are heels one’s best feature? Slingbacks are a good option, but look terrible with thick tights. However, they can work with micro-fine fishnets or sheer dark polka dots, or jokey “ironic” lurex socks. I think the latter have an age cut-off, however, and I’ve definitely reached it, but I’m keen on the fishnet ankle sock. The other option is bare ankles and feet. If your trousers and top half are warm enough, it should be painless. And if not, there are always celticandco.com’s sheepskin shoe liners