Fashion this season is so last century
It's Belfast Fashionweek at the moment and, as the newspaper's catwalk correspondent, it's my job to report on all the collections. This gives me a sneaky insight into all the new trends for the coming season so as always I'm going to pass on some of my insider intel to you in case you didn't make it to any of the shows.
As is usually the case in the fickle world of fashion, what goes around comes around. This is good news for any hoarders out there with more than a few season's skeletons in the closet, because quite a lot of the key looks have done the rounds before and are just starting to reappear. This is definitely the case with all those checks which have bounced back again for Autumn 2015. I'm talking dogs-tooth, chequer-board, Argyll, gingham and a whole plethora of plaid. In fact every imaginable Scottish clan from McKewan to McCloud is enjoying not so much a come-back as a full-on Highland fling this season. Cute short kilts in particular are everywhere, so if yours is a bit "Miss-Jean-Brodie" just lop a couple of inches off the hem and Rab's your uncle.
Meanwhile another trend in skirts is emerging which hasn't been done before and, if anyone has any sense it won't be done again in a hurry. That is the "car-wash" pleat - so-called because each pleat is slit along the fold making it hang down in vertical strips like those mops you get in drive-thru car washes. They are certainly effective at cleaning motors but look ridiculous flapping around your knees everytime you walk, move or even catch a slight breeze.
There's some good news for anyone who doesn't possess washboard abs and an ironing-board belly, because the position of the waist on trousers is creeping up at last from the almost unwearable hipster position of the last decade to where nature intended it to be. So trousers, jeans and tailored skirts are high-waisted again and sitting comfortably again on the curvier female figure, pulling in and restraining muffin tops and spare tyres in the process too.
Menswear styling for women is also striding onto a catwalk near you this autumn. We've had "boyfriend jeans" and "boyfriend cardigans" around for a while, but now the boyfriend look is smartening up its act as tailored suits in a manly cut à la Marlene Dietrich make an impact. These come in soft and subtle twills, pinstripes and Prince of Wales checks. If you don't want to be bothered buying something new, or don't have a boyfriend, just raid your boss's wardrobe.
A colour trend that I definitely won't be copying anytime soon is the current craze for brown, in all its many varieties. I have hated brown ever since school days where my uniform was head-to-toe brown and we always got called "brown cows" by the rival school. I also hated Brownies too, so naturally I have a dire aversion to anything in that shade. Nevertheless, it is everywhere this autumn, from caramel and cocoa to tan and taupe. Sleeves are very much in focus at the moment. Some designers have gone a bit over the top and intentionally made their sleeves too long so that the hands don't show at all. Hardly practical, but it does look funny on the catwalk which usually translates into column inches in the fashion press. Others have concentrated on the cuff area, drawing attention to it with faux-fur gauntlet type designs, heavy embroidery, chunky buttons or a contrasting colour. The alternative is to wear the latest style of gloves instead, which this time around are long and slim but all seem to feature detailing on the cuff too.
Personally my favourite trend for Autumn/Winter 2015 is the new nod to Victoriana, with frock coats, top hats, muffs, bustles and bones corsets all re-appearing this century in ornate fabrics such as velvet, brocade, leather, feathers, frills and lace in fifty shades of black with ruby and emerald as a highlight. That is all very convenient for me as it just about sums up my wardrobe on a daily basis. For once, being described as "very last century" can be taken as a compliment.