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How to look hot... in a chilly 2012


Kate Middleton's clean, shiny locks.

Kate Middleton's clean, shiny locks.

Kate Middleton's clean, shiny locks.

SO LAST SEASON: Minimalist branding and grocery inspired lines made the Anti-It bag the must-have arm candy of 2010.

SO NOW: But this year the It bag was back with fashionistas falling over themselves to snap up Mulberry's Alexa satchels and Chloe across-the-body Hobo bags.

SO 2012: The Envelope bag. Slimline and chic, Celine's statement bag is one to drool over.

The doctor's bag is also a shape sure to be imitated across the high street. Dublin-based image consultant Ann-Marie Proudfoot explains: "John Galliano has stuck to the more traditional style in embossed fabric with Louis Vuitton adding a pop of colour to his, and Celine has added a modern twist by mixing fabric details and sharper edges.

But across the board the doctor's bag is a key trend and a great look that can be worn dressy or casual with a lot of outfits."

The Slightly Tricky Colour To Pull Off

SO LAST SEASON: '80s neons.

SO NOW: Nudes and blush.

SO 2012: Metallics. Next year is all about shimmering and shining, but metallics can be difficult to pull off given their ability to drain complexions and render the wearer looking twice as large by cruel light reflection.

Avoid the disco ball look by using sparingly and only on the slimmest part of the body. Marc Jacobs' trick of using sheer metallic socks worn with Mary-Janes is a sneaky but chic move to nail the trend.

The Must-Have Lingerie

SO LAST SEASON: In 2010 it was all about splashing the cash on Agent Provocateur to feel better about ourselves despite the biting recession.

SO NOW: This year brought in shapewear with basques and M&S bodyshaping sheaths helping ladies hone their curves in Mad Men style.

SO 2012: The year of the slip. Full length slips will give shape to maxi skirts and provide coverage if you're opting for a sheer skirt. But the slip isn't about staying hidden away. Dolce and Gabbana's runway shows were awash with feminine underwear as outer-wear and lingerie inspired dresses. Tuck slips and camisoles into skirts and jeans. Bras too were on display at Prada, Donna Karen and Roland Mouret.

The Unlikely Style Icon

SO LAST SEASON: Against all odds Beth Ditto took to the catwalk as Gaultier's muse in 2010.

SO NOW: ... but that was before anyone had ever heard of Pippa Middleton, darling of fashion's front rows.

SO 2012: Inspiration comes from some unlikely places but there can't be many more unlikely than Margaret Thatcher. With The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep, set to be a huge hit in cinemas, style experts are already predicting a surge in power suits and pussy bow blouses. Chanel and Marc Jacobs both sent models down the runway with bouffant 'power sets' while several collections featured cobalt blue and structured tailoring.

The Swimwear

SO LAST SEASON: Glamazon cut-away monokinis worn poolside with heels.

SO NOW: Retro high-waisted bikini bottoms (as recently worn by Katy Perry).

SO 2012: Hurrah, the one-piece is back!

The New Bling

SO LAST SEASON: Layering delicate bracelets.

SO NOW: Statement rings.

SO 2012: Jewellery is staying chunky but has moved to the ears. Plump tomatoes, chandeliers and beasties all featured at Missoni and D&G. The bolder the better, get ready for sore lobes. "The more Pat Butcher-esque in size and blinginess the better," says Dublin based fashion blogger at slaveforstyle.ie Andrea Byrne.

The Era Of Inspiration

SO LAST SEASON: With its neons, slogan Ts and statement shoulders, 2010 was all about the 1980s.

SO NOW: Calf-length denim skirts, floppy hats and discowear -- it's the 1970s.

SO 2012: Get ready to travel back another decade to the 1960s. Burberry, Prada and Jaeger have all showcased the look.

"This trend is always a winner," says award winning trend forecaster and Belfast-based designer, MaryRose McGrath. "The shift mini-dress, shrunken princess coat and knee length kinky boot are wearable for all ages and figures."

The Cool Catwalk Look That Fills Mere Mortals With Fear

SO LAST SEASON: Harem pants -- tried by so many; pulled off by so few.

SO NOW: Brogues -- so trendy but so hard to wear.

SO 2012: The flatform. "Every year the fashion world encourages us to have fun with an altogether strange trend-- the kind of item that inevitably garners suspicious glances from bystanders," says Andrea from slaveforstyle.ie. "In 2012 that will be the flatform -- a wedged platform, in the style championed by the Spice Girls in the mid- '90s. It's a look I can't see the men in our lives approving of, but we'll still give it a try!"

The Hem Length


SO NOW: Midi.

SO 2012: Maxi. Floor-length skirts are a must for S/S 2012. Those who dare can take the trend to the next level and opt for a sheer fabric.

The Vibe The Designers Are 'Feeling'

SO LAST SEASON: For seasons it was all about military.

SO NOW: Then we moved to the jungle with tribal prints and funky fruit motifs.

SO 2012: It's time to dive into the ocean. Designers' shows were awash with sea inspiration for SS12. Several collections featured turquoise, deep blue and coral, while Chanel debuted pearl lined sun glasses, sea shell clutches and even had Florence Welch singing out of a scallop shell. "It's an easily translated trend," says MaryRose McGrath. "Accessories are a simple way to get the look by picking up mother of pear earrings or a shark tooth pendant."

How TV Will Make Its Mark

SO LAST SEASON: Mad Men prompted a wave of hourglass figures, pencil skirts and stockings.

SO NOW: Chunky patterned jumpers inspired by The Killing's Sarah Lund.

SO 2012: The dropped waist is making a comeback -- a nod to the success of Downton Abbey's fabulous frocks. Dublin-based Senior Stylist, Natasha Crowley of fashionstylists.ie says: "We saw a little bit coming through on the catwalk last season but next year with the release of The Great Gatsby and the continuing obsession with TV shows like Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey, this look will explode. Gucci's stunning flapper dresses exemplify the look at its best."

The Look You Might Surprise Yourself With

SO LAST SEASON: Jeggings -- they looked better on than you thought they would, didn't they?

SO NOW: Jumpsuits have stuck around for a few seasons. With the right heels, belt and underwear it can look so very sexy.

SO 2012: The Peplum. Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney have gone big on ruffles round the waist. It's a little bit 1980s but Beyonce, Liv Tyler and Emma Stone have all embraced the look to great effect -- try it.

The Must-Have Hair

SO LAST SEASON: Gamine crops like Carey Mulligan and Posh circa 2010.

SO NOW: Kate Middleton's clean, shiny locks.

SO 2012: Ponytails were the do of choice across Christopher Kane, Gucci and Marc Jacobs. Clean, sleek, sexy and in keeping with the '60s vibe.

The New Trouser Shape

SO LAST SEASON: Skinny jeans.

SO NOW: Flares.

SO 2012: Palazzo pants. Flares will hang around with jeans but fabrics next year are light and billowy and this extends to trousers. "It's wider and way more comfortable than we've been used to," says Amanda.

The Key Colours To Flaunt

SO LAST SEASON: Khaki and earth tones.

SO NOW: Bright colour blocking in jewel tones have continued to dominate throughout the year.

SO 2012: Colour blocking will continue but with a slide into candy, pastel tones. Emma Cunningham, spokeswoman for Debenhams, is just back from the store's SS12 show. She says: "Julien Macdonald's bright block colours are for the woman who wants to be seen and the John Rocha collection is a celebration of colour. But if you're not brave or bold enough, fear not -- there is a vast pallet of pastel colours too.

"Red Herring is bursting with custard lemons and duck egg blues, dreamy tones that have a real summer feel."

And Finally ...

A brand new trend exclusive to 2012 is sportswear. Inspired by the London Olympics, several designers have channelled trackwear into their collections. Stella McCartney used sporty mesh, Alexander McQueen featured shiny sports performance fabrics while Victoria Beckham and Kenzo also debuted versions of the trend.

Thankfully, the look has filtered down to the High Street in a more manageable form. M&S spokeswoman Kate Bostock reassures shoppers: "We have made this look sophisticated, luxe and very wearable."

Irish Independent

Belfast Telegraph