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Fashion

Blurred Lines

Autumn fashion: boundaries are blurred, men and women are borrowing from each other’s wardrobes


Carrie Bradshaw wasn’t the first to slip on her boyfriend’s jeans

In the mists of autumn fashion, nothing is quite what it seems. Boundaries are blurred and men and women are borrowing from each other’s wardrobes

For a start there is the whole question of flowers. You may think they are just for summer, but you’d be wrong, for even this late in the year they are adorning everything from jumpers to sleek office wear and are printed on the fabrics of both designer and high street labels.

At the higher end of the market, for instance, Burberry Prorsum has made flowers look artistic and modern with a silk and cotton-blend shirt which would make an impression at work. In itself it is an impressive £495.

You do not, however, have to spend a fortune as there are florals on the high street and even the supermarket. Check out Monsoon’s cheerful flowery Adelita sweat top for £39 or make a statement with the Evelyn Statement Coat for £129.

Marks and Spencer has a pretty autograph print dress for just £55, Miss Selfridge has a sweet new range of floral prints, George at Asda has a green and orange flowery pencil skirt for a mere £12. Well, you could always team it with a Sweeting English Floral Print Acrylic Clutch Bag from Jimmy Choo (£595). And New Look is simply blooming with, well, blooms.

It’s not just the women who are wearing the flowers as men are donning them too, and not just on their ties. Orlando Bloom was appropriately spotted wearing a Burberry Prorsum floral printed shirt, and Liberty prints are part floral, part William Morris inspired. Any man who isn’t quite ready for the full floral look could always have some Liberty fabric as the lining of his jacket. Paul Smith, Richard James and – with a smaller price tag – River Island have gone botanical too, mostly in muted colours, though River Island’s Blue Vito polka dot and floral print shirt is lighter and brighter and will make him stand out in a crowd for £60. You could say the same for the rather beautiful Dolce and Gabbana floral print five-pocket trousers though they will set you – or him – back £385.

Traditional gender lines are as blurred as Paul Smith’s florals for men, for not only are men wearing the flowers, women are donning masculine trouser suits. Or is it that men are wearing more feminine ones? Some of the suits around could be worn by both men and women.

There is a lot of classic grey, navy and black in comfortable looking but smart trousers and jackets. Designers like Stella McCartney and Margaret Howell introduced them on the cat walks and some of the most lovely have the Emporio Armani label inside (yearning here for a pinstripe wool jacket for £580, sigh). But never mind, there are some good looks on the high street too. Next has a smart but comfy Premium grey jacket with matching trousers for £110 and £65 respectively or there’s a dress for £85 in the same material if you want something more feminine. M&S sells similar for a similar price, and Topshop has taken the idea and given it a nice twist with the Premium dogtooth blazer and cigarette trousers at £68 and £48 respectively.

There’s another type of suit available for your wardrobe too – the jumpsuit. Some are casual, some are elegant. At the high end of the market you have the likes of Barbara Casasola whose gorgeous viscose and wool blend jumpsuit will set you back £861, but it does outstyle most others. Still, those of us on more modest budgets can go for the cheery red pussybow belted Palazzo jumpsuit for £50 from River Island or the lyocell mix grey one from H&M for just £29.99.

Finally, jeans are perhaps the most unisex of all. Carrie Bradshaw wasn’t the first to slip on her boyfriend’s jeans and some of us have been known to wear their teenage sons’ jeans, not always asking first. They don’t have to be blue either. White Stuff have some pretty, dusty fig coloured jegging jeans which fit like a glove and cost just £39.95.

Jegging jeans? Aren’t they for youngsters? Almost certainly, but there are some jeans designed with the slightly more mature in mind called, appropriately, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (NYDJ). They are supremely slimming and they don’t descend half way down your buttocks. They do tend to cost at least £70 and many of them rather more than £100 but, my, they are comfy and they look good. Plus they belong to you – not your daughter. (Keep stealing your son’s clothes though!).

- Stella Wiseman

Top Image - Miss Selfridge's Wrap Around Black Floral Midi Dress

Below - Topshop's Blazer