Thursday, 31 January 2013

Tackling the Winter-to-Spring Transition With Next

As part of the Next Guest Blogger competition, Next have posed 3 questions for bloggers to answer in return for a chance to guest blog for them, and choose an outfit a month for 3 months, so I've just had far too much fun (and stayed up far too late!) pondering my answer to the following question: What are your staple pieces to take you from Winter to Spring and what would you wear them with?

Staples: I have (more than) a few. As much as I savour the thrill of the new (and believe me, I do!), I also form intense emotional attachments to everything I buy - no new item is invited into my life unless I would go without hot water for a week to possess it (thankfully this is a dilemma I've never had to face), and dragging my trusty favourites from season to season, combining new with old, and old with older to form new ensembles and bring out different facets of their "personalities" is on a par with a shopping spree for me.

One of the things I've really come to appreciate about modern fashion of late is that, over the last few years, pretty much everything that has come into fashion has stayed in fashion - military, for instance, exploded in the mid-noughties, and has never really gone away since, and so many more of this season's key trends - the peplum, monochrome, neon, pastels, florals, '20s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s (um, well, most decades really - we can take our inspiration where we will), Western and sports luxe, to name a few... have been dead on point for several seasons on the trot now. Don't get me wrong - this isn't to say I believe there's any lack of imagination in fashion, quite the reverse - I love the new variations on old favourites consistently emerging from designers and the high street, and never fail to be unspeakably excited to try out the brand new trends that do periodically touch down from, seemingly, nowhere - but it's great for our purses and our sanity that we no longer have to risk an ASBO from the fashion police for refusing to compromise on our own personal style. Anything goes - one of the best examples, in my opinion, of the hugely positive impact blogging and street style have had on the fashion makers - we rule now baby!

But how do you take those faithful friends skipping through the snow and out into the sunshine, and what if you're in desperate need of some new classics to add to your personal treasure trove? I've chosen 6 key transitional pieces from Next's SS13 collection, encompassing some of my personal perennials - the peplum, leather, prints, the maxi, the shift dress and wedge high tops - along with the clothing and accessories I'd pair them with (a) whilst yellow weather warnings are still in effect (whilst still ensuring that you wouldn't have looked out of place on an SS13 catwalk, obvs), and (b) once the sun (hopefully) banishes those grey clouds. Click on item names to view on the Next website.

The Peplum

Peplum Top: £12
Winter - Stripe Pencil Skirt: £20, Zebra Print Scarf: £10, Toe Cap Ankle Boots: £42
Spring - Skinny Trousers: £24, Monochrome Tote: £30, Sheer Mesh Shoe Boots, £40 (All Next)

Ah how I love thee, let me count the ways - your curve enhancing and concealing properties, your flirty '40s feel... This polka dot version gives the ladylike silhouette such a fun twist. Wear it now with a pencil skirt, silky scarf and polished ankle boots for an architecturally authentic vintage vibe given an of-the-moment spin with monochrome print mixing. For spring, try pairing monochrome with pastel tones - these trousers present a subtly sophisticated take on candy sweet summer shades, and the similarly-hued shoes will lengthen legs.


PU Pencil Skirt: £28
Winter - Animal Print Peplum Top: £26, Cream Knit Sparkle Biker Jacket: £42, Black Studded Point Ankle Boots: £70
Spring - Boxy T-Shirt: £14, Sporty Mesh Shoe Boots: £38, Cobalt Neon Grab Bag: £28 (All Next)

The leather pencil skirt represents the perfect marriage of lady and rock chick (I use the term "rock chick" far too much, but no more appropriate epithet appears to be forthcoming). For chillier climes, a 3/4 sleeved peplum top and Chanel-esque knitted jacket collude with the ladylike silhouette whilst contrasting satisfyingly with the tough fabric. The animal print and fierce boots make plain that the lady has 'tude (along with the presence of mind to ensure her ankles stay toasty). For a slightly more free-and-easy-feeling spring look, a slouchy striped T-shirt is the perfect foil for the sculpted skirt. I'd tuck it in and team with these mesh shoe boots for a stunning sports luxe look. For a more relaxed feel, I'd leave it loose and pair with the wedge high tops featured below. The cobalt blue bag adds a fun pop of colour.


Floral Print Jacket: £55, Floral Print Trousers: £35
Winter - Sparkle Tape Vest: £28, A-Line Tote Bag: £24, Sheer Mesh Shoe Boots: £40
Spring - Navy Floral Laser Vest: £30, Bowler Bag: £32, Neon Cut-Out Sport Shoe Boots: £32 (All Next)

Florals have been part of my AW wardrobe for the first time this season - pieces with dark base tones like this drool-worthy suit are the perfect investment for year-round frolics! I think I would go without hot water for a week for this... For winter, I'd add a snuggly plain knit, ankle boots and a bright block-coloured bag to up the fun factor. For spring, I'd go for all-out floral overload with a printed shell top and bag in similar (but not matching) tones - if you can't have fun in a floral suit, when can you? I (reluctantly) drew the line at floral shoes, however - these cut-out shoe boots add a funky graphic touch.

The Maxi

Lace Maxi Dress: £78
Winter - PU Biker Jacket: £55, Cream Enamel Buckle Waist Belt: £12, Black Glam Western Boots: £65
Spring - Martine Western Tassel Earrings: £30, Martine Western Tassel Pendant: £57, Tan and Yellow Double Wrap Belt: £12, Black Fringe Across-the-Body Bag: £28, Patent Demi Wedges: £45
Evening - Silver Clutch: £22, Glitzy Mid Heel Peep Toe Shoes: £32, Silver Embellished Waist Belt: £24 (All Next)

Another thing I didn't believe anyone but flamenco dancers wore all year round until a year or two ago... the maxi dress is so much more versatile than it first appears - keeping you cool in summer, warm in winter (no one will know if you sneak a pair of tights underneath!), full length and fabulous in the evening and oozing boho chic during the day. Great with cowboy boots and a leather biker in cooler weather, accompanied by wedges, fringing and long-and-danglies for a summery '70s feel, or set off by a few carefully-chosen glitzy accessories for optimum glamour, whatever the season.

The '60s Shift

Apricot Shift Dress: £45
Winter - House of Holland Polka Dot Tights: £12, Long Sleeve Chiffon Mix Top: £14, Black Lace Shoots: £45, Black and White Spot Scarf: £10
Spring - Pink Laser Across-the-Body Bag: £28, Neon Chain Earrings: £12, Multi Printed Block Heel Sandals: £35 (All Next)

Effortlessly chic, endlessly cute, and the perfect day-to-night staple for all seasons. Cold arms? Never fear - layer this long-sleeved lovely underneath and they'll be safely encased in chiffon all day long. Quirky polka dot tights, a matching scarf and cut-out lace shoots complete your weatherproof retro look. When it warms up, bare those arms and maximise the fun go-go girl vibe with neon earrings, a candy-toned bag and a statement floral platform.

The Wedge High-Top

Wedge High-Tops: £40
Winter - Geo Lace Sweater: £16, Zip Detail Chinos: £26, Lime Teardrop Necklace: £12
Spring - Chiffon Mix Shell Top: £12, Animal Print Jersey Trousers: £22, Holographic Clutch: £18 (All Next)

Unlike many doubters (you know who you are), I've loved these from day one, despite my romantic vintage-inspired tendencies - urban funk + long legs = win! Great with a military-inspired khaki look for winter - just add a neon necklace to spice things up a bit. For effortless sports-luxe cred when it heats up a bit, a sheer panelled shell top and animal print harems will take you anywhere (minus achey feet - yes!). This must-be-mine holographic clutch will add some new season dazzle.

What winter staples will you be taking into spring? Will you still be sparkling in sequins or living it up in leather?

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  1. I am starting a new job on monday and this looks have given me some inspiration, I love them esp the 60's inspired one :) x

    1. Aw thank you :) Glad I could help!

  2. I love how you have done this (I chose the same question for my entry too, I didn't approach it as professionally as this but I had fun doing it) yours looks lovely and very professional, good luck! :)

    Lovely blog by the way :)

    Janine xx
    Giveaway Post >>>

    1. Thanks Janine, you're so sweet :)

  3. Polka dots and peplum? What an amazing combination!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  4. love the spring peplum!


  5. Thanks for checking out our blog! Digging the winter/spring peplum looks & the prints you selected. You have a great eye for curation ;)

    Good thoughts from Washington, D.C.,

    x Kelley of Stylesmiths

  6. Don't think I would be brave enough to wear the patterns one. I like it though.
    I nominated you for a liebeter award

  7. Hello dear, such a beautiful blog you have, love your style! I love the peplum. :* I am your new follower, hope you follow back... (??) :)

    Have a nice day & kisses, your Elizabeth!