Quiet Girl’s Guide to Loud Fashion

Floral print, leopard spots, lace edges, custard stains…you name it: if it’s this season’s trend, I want a piece of the action. If you’re anything like me you want a piece of this season’s fashion buzz – regardless of how strange or garish it may be. However, this thrill seeking poses two potential problems: one, chances are you don’t have enough money to re-haul your wardrobe each season; two, it takes a brave sort to whole heartedly embrace each trend. After all, how many people can really pull of Moschino’s velvet, leopard print shift?

Summer 2012 looks to be no exception, mixing the bold and the beautiful: delicate lace, rocky studs and vibrant neon to name a few. Being on trend needn’t commit you to a wardrobe of Mick Jagger-esque pieces or years of unwearable items. The trick is to be savvy.  Where exactly will it fit into your wardrobe? Are you ever going to wear that neon green blouse when all the hype blows over? So often the answer is no. There’s a special – and frankly galling – sort of guilt that we’ve all felt when we’ve stumbled across that skirt, those shoes, that blouse, that we’d bought with the very best of intentions. We’ve all done it. All it takes is a few simple basics to cheer up your wardrobe and prevent your bank account from clothes shopping induced carnage.

Studs…unless you are rock chick chic, DON’T buy that leather jacket adorned with studs. Look for something a little more subtle. I’ve recently picked up a BCBG taupe coloured bag with a fully studded bottom. It’s practical in colour, shape and style. The studs are subtle and pack enough of a punch without screaming ‘I’m trying too hard!’. I’ve seen some great items that work this look without overkill. Givenchy have a great flower stud scarf, which softens the trend of studs if you’re style is ultra feminine. However, my absolute star piece is the black, rocky studded lips clutch by Lulu Guinness.

When it comes to neon colours, take care to avoid looking like you’re off to an 80’s night: one or two items are plenty. You don’t have to rush out to buy that orange Givenchy Antigona tote (thought I’ll admit, it is stunning!) to keep up to date. Find a bright scarf that contrasts with your bag and tie it to the base of the outer handle. If your handbag is black then you have the pick of the colours. Tan is a little trickier: avoid orange as it’s too close to the bag colour and will have minimal impact. A simple Hermes scarf will do the trick and can be worn from season to season.

For many of you, the most important step may be just realising that your dress sense is quiet, classic and subtle. It’s taken me until the age of 21 to realise that I can achieve my comfort state whilst also introducing quirkier items without being too brash. Hell, don’t get me wrong – I still spend most of my tea-breaks admiring Galliano’s studded dresses, Missoni’s over-the-top cardigans and Pucci’s vibrant prints. The trick is to appreciate that not all of it will work for you. I will only put down the dollar if the piece fits with my body, my style, my wardrobe and my budget. It is possible to keep up to season without ravaging your bank account or looking ridiculous. So ladies and gents, while running the risk of sounding a little Gok Wan, it really does pay to accessorize with items that you can reuse when next season rears it head. The days of guilty wardrobe visits ought to be a thing of the past!

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