|Photo by Freeimages.com/mark mordecai|
by Fashion Features Director and Kate Finnigan, The Daily Telegraph, June 09, 2016
The evening before the Dior Resort show at Blenheim Palace last week I tried on a small number of dresses I had bought last summer. They were all mid-length or long and floaty, they were in an array of colours; one red and pink floral chiffon, another bright green cotton, the third, an off-white check. The lightness, the brightness, the sheer summeriness of these frocks seemed fitting I thought for an elegant fashion show in the English countryside.
And so it came to pass that that the next morning I set off wearing a black sweater, black culottes and a pair of black and white loafers and felt pleased with myself all day.
If the Olsens can pull off black in summer, so can you.
On Monday night, amid the glitter and showcasing and fashion hysteria of the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards, the three chicest people in the room were all called Olsen. They were all wearing black.
On Tuesday it was hot in London. Sunny and humid. Out on the streets there were apparel atrocities taking place as far as the eye could see. Tourists I’ll make allowances for. Office workers - for the record, it doesn’t matter how hard you worked on your tan at the weekend, strapless hippy dresses are never work-appropriate. In the afternoon, I went to meet a Parisian woman from a French luxury shoe company for a cup of tea in a nearby hotel. She was wearing a three-quarter length black Cos dress with long sleeves and a key-hole back with black and navy satin trainers. She was the best dressed woman I’d seen all day.
Black in summer. It doesn’t make you Wednesday Addams. And forget all that, “but it absorbs the sun” nonsense. Perhaps if you’re attempting to walk through Dubai at lunch time that’s something to consider. If you live in Britain and you’re heading from the train station to your office, um, don’t sweat it.
And while we’re on the subject of perspiration, as my esteemed colleague Victoria Moss notes, “black and white are your only friends.” Other colours are too high risk - like khaki, for all its jungle associations. And marl grey. Never understood why that is the default shade for athleisure.
For the record, three out of the five women currently on the Telegraph fashion desk are wearing head-to-toe black today. The other two are in navy. Which is just black in another colour.
Are you in back-to-black camp? If so, here are some further points you might want to consider to make your resolution last all summer.
- Take black roll necks and opaque black tights out of the equation. Let’s also remove items in tweed, velvet and heavy wools too.
- Replace with black crepe, jersey, silk (for skirts and trousers, not tops – too sweaty), chiffon, and lighter wool or cotton knits.
- Washed out black never looks chic.
- Cut is important. Choose something with design interest. Cos, & Other Stories and Jigsaw are your high street allies here.
- The black staples that are summer friendly: a chiffon skirt (try Isabel Marant Etoile), culottes (Victoria Beckham, YMC or Zara), a cotton knit ( I love Folk’s slouch crew with keyhole black), a pinafore dress (Finery London), a tunic or A-line top (Cos has a great cotton jersey style for £39 ), chunky black slides or sandals (Nike, Office, Birkenstock, Robert Clergerie). They’ll look good with colour too, if you want to be a sissy about it.
This article was written by Fashion Features Director and Kate Finnigan from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.