Women's fashion: control pants are now so hip - The Guardian

Rita Ora

If you use Rita Ora as a style inspiration, you're already two years behind the curve. Photograph: Rob Harrison/Getty Images

The last official summer month ends today and the fabled "September issues" of magazines are already on the shelves, full of key fashion trends for autumn. However, they all come under the umbrella of "rules are there to be broken".

People always say that about style, don't they? That the truly stylish do not follow trends but set their own. They ignore convention to create their unique, ground-breaking look! I have seen this theory put forward in three different fashion columns over the last week alone.

One of them, for example, was looking back on the summer of 2014 as "the season that sleepwear became daywear". The mould-breaking trendsetters were Stella McCartney, who apparently showed pyjamas on the catwalk in 2012, and Rihanna, Rita Ora and Kate Moss, who then wore them in public. We lumbering non-fashionistas finally cottoned on two years later and have been wearing pyjamas everywhere.

Well, I haven't. But people have. A spokesman for Debenhams said: "The summer of 2014 will be remembered as the year of 'sleepwear and the city'."

This is a real-life example of that terrifying scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep explains to Anne Hathaway that her frumpy blue jumper is a trickle-down result of the "ceruleans" that were shown on the catwalk two years before. Anne Hathaway's character thinks she is beyond the reach of The System; in fact, she's right in the belly of the whale.

When you embrace "sleepwear and the city", you aren't breaking rules to magnificent effect. You're just a weirdo going round Asda in your nightie. Anyone who realises you're doing it for fashion reasons would only be the sort of person who knows you're two years behind Rita Ora – and God knows that's no place to be.

None of these people is a real revolutionary, by the way. Their rebellions operate within acceptable parameters, conducted in a pack, so nothing is ever truly shocking. Vivienne Westwood goes to visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy to align herself with an acceptable rule-breaker; I haven't seen her visiting Rolf Harris.

Similarly, if you've been tricked into thinking that you're making your own rules when you "mix designer with high street" or pair a dinner jacket with a jazzy bootlace tie, those are rule-breaks within the rules.

If you want to surprise, you'll have to try harder than that. For the coming season, I have hatched some fashion plans that literally nobody else will be doing. Take this, convention!

Unexpected icons

It's impossible – indeed, paradoxical – to be a rule-breaker while copying the fashion revolutions of Kate Moss or Alexa Chung.

However, that doesn't mean you have to work from an entirely blank page. You can "channel" a fashion icon in your head, just make it somebody outside the in-crowd. For example, legendary Welsh golfer Ian Woosnam. Or 19th-century nurse Mary Seacole. Former shadow home secretary Shirley Williams, fictional pirate Mr Smee, celebrated peacenik Gandhi.

You want to be different? Be the only person at the party who's come as Catherine Parr.

Surprise accessories

Many fashion-conscious women take two bags out for the day: a big, practical one to shove under the desk and a small, clutchy one for show.

But how does that help when you're at a smart social occasion with no desk available? I have never seen anyone actually using two handbags at once. So that is what I'll be doing for autumn/winter 2014. From the front, you'll see a woman in elegant evening dress with a sparkly baguette. Turn me round and you'll see the giant rucksack on my back.

Hello, Spanx

Ever since Sex and the City, it has been considered OK for your bra to be showing under clothes. But have you noticed that it's only ever done with a cute, lacy bra? Nobody does this with a 36FF hammock from John Lewis or a vast pair of beige nylon pants. Not deliberately, anyway.

I eschew "control underwear" on principle. There's nothing wrong with being thin if you just are. I'm not. Pretending to be thin via use of invisible Spanx strikes me as a bizarre attempt at conforming to a set of modern socio-aesthetic rules that don't interest me anyway.

Visible Spanx, I suddenly realise, would be another matter entirely.

A pair of hipster trousers with the biting waistline of control pants resplendent above them? A miniskirt with the extended grip of "shaping britches" protruding below? Well, that's not a pretence, is it? It's upfront. Unexpected. Satirical. Painfully (literally, painfully) honest. And its honest message is: I'm making an effort. Perfect for a wedding or office Christmas party.

If you get a tattoo, mean it

Tattoos have become too fashionable. Every sexy girl you see has got a Chinese character on one arm or a leafy tendril swirling up a leg.

So far, I have rebelled by having no tattoos at all. This season, I'm going the other way: through delicacy and out the other side. Come November, I shall have a full naval battle emblazoned across my face.

Shop at random

Personal shoppers and stylists are famously good at getting you into something you would never have chosen for yourself. They say it takes a professional eye to see that you could actually look amazing in all those colours, shapes and lengths that you alone would never have considered trying on.

But does it? Save money on a stylist by simply Googling your favourite fashion chain or designer, browsing the pages and buying anything you think looks hideous.

via fashion - Google News http://ift.tt/1nNMkBw

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