As the fashion set jets into Milan from London for the next instalment of the SS24 shows, they’ll be beginning to experience a dressing fatigue that comes from having to look peppy and polished every day for a month. The answer to their style woes? A suitcase of mix-and-match staples that, when combined, work for both hot weather and rain (both of which Milan is set to be blessed with this week), and from daytime to evening.
A linchpin of such a hard-working capsule wardrobe is the oversized shirt – which is effortlessly cool by day but can also be jazzed up with jewelry and heels for a nonchalant evening look. “The oversized shirt is probably one of my favorite wardrobe staples,” says Helen Broadfoot, deputy fashion director at NET-A-PORTER. “It’s seasonless, versatile, practical, flattering and stylish.”
When it comes to styling this powder-blue style from Brioni, Broadfoot would go one of two routes: “I love pairing blue with camel, so I would style mine over a wide-leg, loosely tailored camel pant, and finish the look with a cool, masculine brogue. Equally, you can’t beat a classic shirt/jean combo. It echoes the insouciance of the ’90s, which, quite frankly, should never go away!” For the latter, try Gucci’s high-rise, wide-leg jeans, which pool at the ankle to create a cool-girl, slouchy shape. “You could throw a classic camel-colored trench over the top and wear with a sneaker,” says Broadfoot. “Alternatively, dress it up with a tailored leather coat and a heeled boot.” Aquazzura’s ‘Matignon’ black leather ankle boots go with everything from denim to dresses, while the streamlined silhouette of Versace’s leather coat – which comes complete with Medusa-encrusted gold buttons – makes it perfect for layering over shirts, but also means it’s smart enough for more formal occasions.
“Leather is almost always associated with investment pieces,” says Broadfoot, “whether that’s a great ’80s-style leather bomber jacket, a classic tailored coat or the leather pant you’ll wear again and again. This year, we have seen designers play with styles and shapes for an updated look and feel. Loewe showcased beautifully cut wide-leg leather pants, short-sleeved leather jackets and the most delicious oversized leather coat that melts off the body. Bottega Veneta played with color, with statement burgundy skirt-and-top combos; and we saw Chloé, Versace and Toteme rework the crisp-cut, tailored coat for a more elevated look.” While leather is definitely having a moment for FW23, the beauty of investing in timeless leather designs is that they will last. “If you find a leather item you love,” adds Broadfoot, “you can be sure it will be in your wardrobe forever more – and even passed down to future generations.”
For daytime, accessorize with a chic tote, such as Bottega Veneta’s ‘Flip-Flap’ shoulder bag, a wonderfully practical choice for days when you have lots to carry, and a steel watch to add low-key polish. “I love a more masculine, androgynous-style watch, as it makes it more versatile – and the steel finish enables you to wear it every day,” says Broadfoot. By night, swap the tote for something more playful, such as Valentino Garavani’s ‘Locò’ leopard-print calf-hair shoulder bag, and add Pomellato’s ‘Nudo Classic’ 18-karat rose and white gold, topaz and diamond earrings for some extra sparkle. Bellissima!
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