How to Style Yourself British in Spring/Summer 2012

I promised Hello Giggles reports on British fashion but, whilst I keep a keen half-eye on trends (and then ignore them due to such things as laziness and budget), I am faaaar from being a fashion expert. So I turned to fashion blogger, Laura from What Laura Did Next, for advice. Laura’s credentials are piling up – she studied at the London College of Fashion and her blog has drawn attention from the likes of Kurt Geiger and Christys’.

So, here’s your report on British Spring Style, with love from Liza and Laura.

Let’s start with the recent Fashion Weeks around the globe, but specifically London and New York. Yes, they were showcasing Autumn/Winter designs, but the point I’m about to make still applies. One look at the Street Style reports says it all – the US high fashion look is based on sleek outfits that match down to the last button. UK style is more about edginess and daring to be different. New York is refined, London is risky.

As Laura talked me through the catwalk shows, both for Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, it’s more of the same. For example, Victoria Beckham’s strictly pulled together, elegant designs fit in much better on the NY scene than in her native country. Plus we can’t get over the fact she was once Posh Spice so no wonder she wants to get away. London Fashion Week also has a certain dedication to showcasing new designers with truly innovative ideas – and I suppose the message filters down that it’s ok to take chances with our clothes if we want to get noticed. So, here are the basic ingredients for your SS 2012 UK fashion recipe – to be baked with edge, eccentricity and, in some cases, bravery.

Let’s start with the one we all know about: pastels. There’s no escaping it, pastels are everywhere, from the latest Mulberry ad shot right here in Brighton (image above) to the bargain basement high-street stores. Which means wear with care! Laura says pastels are best worn this spring as an evolution of the colour-blocking phenomenon of the last few seasons. Whether you choose patterns or colour blocking, keep it simple and feminine and don’t overdo it. And don’t buy pink suede pastel shoes like I did – it may be Spring but it’s still going to rain.

Daring prints
From wearing pastels with modesty to bold and brash prints – the next trend is one that terrifies me. Everyone says to wear out-there prints – preferably alongside another, clashing, design. Two types of prints not enough for you? Make sure one of them is on pajama-style trousers. Laura showed my lots of street-style photos from LFW that proved that the fashionista Brits are not shy of this look.

Twinsets, court shoes and jewellery sets
It’s the Queen’s Jubilee this year, which means we will be trying to dress like a Royal once again come spring. Remember the Kate-a-like dresses that were everywhere in 2011? We’ve moved on a bit, but only as far as her gran-in-law, as demonstrated by an abundance of twinsets on the on the London catwalks for SS2012. Prada warned us in the autumn that we’d be matching our earrings and necklaces this spring/summer and, by gum, it’s happening! Oh, and, thanks in part to Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, we’re wearing court shoes with our Queen Liz-inspired outfits. The great thing about court shoes is that they don’t have to have ridiculous heels – in fact, the more Queen-ly sensible, the better.

The flapper look comes round pretty often and, at the moment, is best expressed with a pleated dress or skirt like the one I recently bought from Topshop. I honestly thought I would never be able to wear pleats (at least not past the age of eleven), but I was surprised at how flattering the shape was. If you’re feeling like you want to be demure, go for something in pastels. If you’re feeling brave, how about a bright, printed pleat – Whistles have quite a few bright pleat skirts and dresses.

Then there’s the inevitable mention of Olympics-inspired fashion. The games don’t start until July, but it would be stupid to say they won’t influence what we wear up until then. Red, whites and blues? It’s entirely possible. Trainers with wedge heels? Apparently. Sports gear right there next to tailoring on the high street? Ok, but I’ll be sticking with the pleated skirts. Laura calls this kind of trend Modern Urban Sportswear – if it’s got a proper fashion title then I’m happy to turn a blind eye.

So that’s it for how to rock British style this spring. I won’t be here next week because I’m crossing the pond for the second time in my life – this time to visit New York City for a week. Try not to miss me too much!

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