The overarching theme at the latest round of London Fashion Week shows? Wearability. Yes, in a shocking plot twist, the spring/summer 2024 catwalks were filled with clothes we might all want to add to our wardrobes immediately. In fact, you’ll likely have many of next season’s biggest “trend” items in your wardrobe already – why wait to bring them back out?
It’s more about freshening up your look via clever styling tricks – a new combination of items here, the twist of a bag strap there. These are the updates to start wearing now, which will endure next season and beyond.
The new matchy-matchy
A lightweight co-ordinated coat and dress looks so elegant it’s a wonder that nobody thought about doing this before. It’s a more versatile and modern take on the cape dress that we’ve seen on red carpets – and the high street – over the past couple of years. The coat can also be worn over other evening wear and the dress as a statement piece on its own. Bravo Emilia Wickstead for dreaming this up.
Say yes to silver
Perhaps Beyoncé is to blame, after decreeing a “something silver” dress code for the September leg of her world tour. But London’s designers have been inspired, injecting glistening metallics into most collections for spring. Simone Rocha’s sterling stand-outs included crackled leather biker jackets, textured lamé tops with giant bows and foil prom dresses. All other metal colours can retire in the wardrobe for now – head to Jigsaw and Mango for the perfect silver trousers to wear into party season.
You’ll want to buff and bronze that decolletage. Artfully bunched tops and dresses with directional necklines will elevate even the slouchiest trousers or jeans. The collection to covet for next year’s summer holidays comes courtesy of Tove, the young London label which presented its second-ever catwalk show. Design duo Camille Perry and Holly Wright do minimalism with a twist – literally, as they skillfully draped and suspended cotton fabrics from the shoulder. Their winter collection, on sale now, features gathered knits, while The Frankie Shop and Aligne also offer an asymmetrical aesthetic.
Prom queen partywear
You can breathe a sigh of relief that there’s a much more accessible alternative to the body-con look. Richard Quinn, the designer whose show was attended by the late Queen in 2018, gave us beautifully embroidered, structured party dresses with wide skirts and the result was more than a little bit regal (FYI Princess of Wales). You don’t need an HRH title to wear this look though – just channel your inner prom queen. TA
Try the party jumper and skirt combination
It was hard not to start thinking of the festive season at the 16Arlington show. Polished metal sequins and glittering paillettes danced across the runway, but for every party piece there was a more pared-back item to tone it down. Slouchy knits, polo shirts and vest tops took the edge off the glamour, and made this a covetable and easy to recreate combination come winter – Sézane has plenty of options to get started.
Reimagine your trench
If you don’t already have a trench coat in your wardrobe, then JW Anderson’s collection confirms that it really is never too late. This is a style staple that will never go out of fashion so if you can invest in a really great one, it will be worth it. Anderson’s maxi lengths and drawstring waists prove that you don’t need to go for anything too classic, but if you’d like a modern version of the traditional design, check out the beige and black trenches in Clare Waight Keller’s new Uniqlo collection.
Be bold with colour
Wearing colour can be an intimidating prospect but if anyone can persuade us to experiment with bold splashes of striking hues, it’s London’s queen of colour, Roksanda Ilincic. Her collection included a delicious palette of limes, cobalt, corals and mauve. The slinky silk dresses offered a persuasive lesson in effortlessly wearing a normally daunting colour in a dialled-down way. Even if a full dress feels a step too far, try a slip skirt in a bright shade as a way to try the look.
Go big with a decorative coat
Erdem’s opera-meets-Barbour coat creations were some of the most memorable looks of London Fashion Week, crafted using remnants of Deborah, the Duchess of Devonshire’s old curtains from Chatsworth. We might not all find that our old upholstery could transform into quite such a striking piece of outerwear but the idea of creating instant drama with your coat is one we could all use this autumn – LK Bennett and Anthropologie are both excellent sources of jazzy jackets (aristo origins sadly not included).
The new tailoring? Opt for a skirt suit
Pleated skirts have been everywhere this season but at Eudon Choi, they had a modern update. Gone are the days when they were dismissed as frumpy. Now we’re in a new age where the pleats are boxy and top stitched, the fabrics are taken from tailoring and the way to wear them is with a co-ordinating shirt and blazer. Cos has already taken note, and their pinstripe skirt suit comes with two different shirt options. The new three-piece suit.
Switch up your shoulder bag at Burberry
The new bags at Burberry are designed with straps that look good on the shoulder. The chunky silver chain on the style Jean Campbell modelled was threaded with a printed silk scarf, while Chey Carty carried a glossy green leather messenger with deliberately short strap to show off a statement metal shield. The application of this tip doesn’t require a whole new bag purchase – simply a shift to the way you hold yours.
Elevate your shirt
There’s no such thing as a “simple” white shirt anymore - at least not if you’re Huishan Zhang. The elevated shirt is a really easy way to raise your style game without stepping too far out of the comfort zone of wardrobe basics. The shirt is familiar, it can be worn with jeans, and it doesn’t require you to have a particular body shape. Trading the basic version for a cropped, laser-cut or embroidered design just makes it a little more fun.
Layer up a ladylike cardigan
These may have been next spring/summer’s collections but Molly Goddard’s prim little jackets are just what lots of us will be craving as the weather begins to turn over the next few weeks. Inspired by traditional satin-trimmed pastel bed blankets, Goddard’s pastel-hued cropped cardigans looked especially ladylike teamed with her signature tulle skirts but you could toughen them up with a pair of cargo trousers or jeans too. While we wait for Goddard’s to become available, Herd and Navy Grey are both British labels with a great selection of cardigans.