Fashion, Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 08/09/11: Autumn Colours

It’s Autumn.  We finally made it.  We can officially start updating our wardrobes.  It was a long road, but we got there.  Give yourself a pat on the back, if you can feel it through the woolly mittens and thick coat that you’re wearing (and if by some miracle it’s sunny and warm at time of publication and we have an Indian Summer without actually indulging in the preliminary Summer, feel free to write me an angry letter).

As it gets even cloudier and duller, the colours we wear can often reflect that.  The day is darker and so are we.  Is that true this year?  Well, yes and no.

The vast majority of people tend not to be into zingy, bright colours.  It offends our sensibilities, which have been fine-tuned by a comfort blanket of low-lying cloud and a particularly Irish notion that anyone who stands out is a noxious breed of showoff.  ‘Getting above yourself’ is the worst insult to be heaped on an Irish person, unless you’re a banker or a priest.

But this season we’ll be pairing our brights with autumnal hues.  The bubblegum pink belt can go with the essential burgundy dress, toning it down – hiding your brights under a bushel.

A possible exception to the bright rule is orange. Maybe it’s the patriotic element, maybe it’s just because it’s autumnal and shops tend to get lazy like that, but it’s everywhere.  Do not be enthralled by it.  Sure, it looks nice on the tanned model.

Everything looks nice on the tanned model.  In reality, orange is a horrifying minefield, so tread carefully.  It’s not for nothing that it’s the official colour of Hallowe’en.

Come September, berry colours are ubiquitous.  Grape, burgundy (which is made from grapes, so is a berry colour by technical default) and navy blue(berry) will all have their moments, and deservedly so.  These colours are almost universally flattering and almost reassuring in their ability to resurface every autumn without fail, so investing in a berry shade is unusually sound.

These colours are given a new depth and multi-hued dimension when worn as part of rich, textured fabrics like velvet and satin and even (gulp) fur.  It might sound a bit like a Dynasty Christmas Special, but look to the Gucci catwalk for inspiration – it’s more more Studio 54-era Anjelica Huston than Alexis Carrington.

Neutrals are just as big as they’re ever been, black and grey remaining staid as camel slips a nanometre by the wayside and navy blue slips into a surprising lead.  If you bought a camel coat last year, keep it.  It still looks good, just be a bit more creative with how you accessorise it – attach a new collar or cuffs or be creative with your scarves.

The likelihood is that most of us will be gravitating towards darker colours this winter, as we do every winter.  It’s not necessarily a symptom of an underlying international malaise.  The vast majority of people wear these shades because they are easy to keep clean.  That’s the anticlimactic, boring truth.  Still, we’ll always have nail varnish.  Bubblegum pink, anyone?

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4 thoughts on “Licentiate Column 08/09/11: Autumn Colours

  1. love this post…how do you always have it down to a T? I need some writing tips off you lady!! I think I’ll pass on the bubblegum pink…..I can see myself rocking nudes, greys, caramels and navy’s….not together obvs! Love berry colours on the lips but in clothes they just seem to drown me out, so will be keeping well away!!

  2. It’s funny the way we naturally gravitate towards dark colours. Black, grey….. This Winter, I want to experiment more. Berry colours sound fabulous. I definitely want to go that colour route. Gucci, here I come! ;) Great column, as usual. :)SarahD

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