Waking up to blinding light streaming through your bedroom widow it really seems as though spring has sprung. The light has taken on that crystalline quality that means warmer days are coming. We are reaching that funny stage of year known as the mid-season, hovering vaguely between winter and spring in a state of fashion flux when it is too warm for your winter coat, but far too cold to forget a scarf in the morning. Not only this but trends are in transition – when is it the right time to start wearing next season styles? How do you compromise on the coat front? And when is it finally the right time to venture outside without tights? Okay, maybe this last one is a moot point, this is England after all and that happy time might not happen until mid-August...
Whenever we hit this time of year a shift takes place on the high street: shortening hem lines, thinning fabrics and brightening colours, not to mention a sudden influx adverts showing golden skinned models reclining on far flung exotic beaches. This high street shift seems blissfully unaware of the realities of a British February, and as Topshop rolls out next season’s swimwear and a new batch of sunglasses, the British public are still searching for outfits that can be worn in the snow. The midseason is always a problem for the customer and sometimes it feels as if the fashion world forgets that the new season doesn’t spring up overnight. This is the time of year when the high end designers lose themselves in the madness of fashion week and for those in high places it must be easy to forget that, while summer may have come and gone on the catwalks, in the real world we haven’t left winter just yet.
Deciding what to wear and what to buy at this time of year is definitely difficult, getting it wrong not only means a few odd looks as people try to figure out why you look so summery, but also incurs the risk that you are so cold in your fashion forward look that you start turning slightly blue… The only solution to this is layers. Reluctant though you may be to put on a vest (bad memories of school uniforms and fussing mothers?) it may just be one of the only things that can breach the mid-season gap. Under-layering should definitely be combined with over-layering. Jumpers over skirts and jackets over dresses – the trench coat was invented by the British for a reason, it is the perfect thing to throw on over an outfit with summery twist to avoid excessive shivering. Mercifully there are also suggestions that the high street is finally cottoning on to the English weather system, and collections are emerging which seem built for the mid-season in England. Take J. W. Anderson’s latest collection for Topshop – brimming with cosy knits and warm-looking dresses the collection has hints of summer with creams and pastels, but retains a sense of practicality for chilly March mornings. Hopefully more shops will come to realise the fashion potential of the mid-season void, but until then we must pull up our tights and put on our vests while we await the hopeful arrival of dreamy days filled with tennis, picnics and summer dresses.