Our latest blog post is Marianne Cantelo's most recent column for Bath Life Magazine.
Photography: Egle Vasi
Model: Elisha Green
Make up and hair: Chantelle Moody
Styling: Jennifer Lovell and Marianne Cantelo.
How do you get dressed every day? Have you inspired yourself with the bi-annual fashion shows and planned for the months ahead, meticulously arranging outfits? Do you linger on your way past shop windows and dip in, refreshing what you have with the trends? Or do you choose versatile timeless classics when you see them, curating a capsule wardrobe that will take you anywhere?
Perhaps like most of us, you glance at your wardrobe in despair, thinking that any of the above is utterly pointless, because you live in the UK. This last month has proven, more than ever, that a British wardrobe needs to match an unpredictable, contrarian and capricious weather system. However, doesn’t this make for a disorganised, incoherent closet? Is this why our island fashion is known for its eccentricity? We shouldn’t lose heart though, we love small-talking about the weather, so why not use the national expertise on the quirks of meteorology and put ourselves back in control?
When it’s ‘raining cats and dogs’ are you in possession of a ravishing raincoat? Not the kind in pink, purple, or turquoise with multiple zips and a hood that folds up under a velcro fastened pocket. A perennial trench coat or mackintosh, well cut, beautiful lining and details, light enough to layer over summer dresses in monsoon-like showers, capacious enough to pop on over a chunky knit?
‘It’s brass monkeys out there’ but we don’t care. If you stock up medium weight knitwear in bold prints, it's a cheerful way to keep the sunshine close to your heart, even when it’s March and spring has decided to have duvet day for an extra two months. On autumn days, with cooler evenings, use your knits under your light summer dresses.Whimsical, practical, quintessentially British.
‘Blowing a gale’? There’s a reason that tweed and fine wool have been a staple for the countryside for a few hundred years. Its unique insulation factor means that it’s a great layer to barricade you against the wind, but if the temperature changes, you stay cool, or keep warm. Don’t feel that you have to choose traditional colours for this must have staple, the juxtaposition of a heritage inspired fabric with radical colours is the epitome of idiosyncratic UK chic.
‘It’s Bloody Baltic’ - with a nod to Autumn/ Winter trends but a great dollop of admiration for the humongous cape, or blanket-size scarf can work for you all year round. Thank you to those authors of various depressive romantic heroines for writing this useful garment into our imaginations. You leave the house in April with frost on the ground and by lunchtime you’re indulging in an impromptu picnic in your local park in blazing sun. Said item will double up as a useful alfresco dining accessory and defender against a damp bottom, but adding drama and sculptural excitement on the greyest of dull winter days.
‘Shepherd’s Delight’ incoming? A red sky heralding a bright sunny day, or red eyes from the night before, means that sunglasses should be in every resident of Britain’s bag. No need to wear them on your head and keep your skiing goggles for skiing- we’re talking eyewear that is the perfect combination of frivolous and protective. More Holly Golightly than Hooray Henry, more Lady Penelope from Thunderbirds (hugely underrated fashion icon), than Honourable Harriet.
Is it ‘biting’ out there? Protect your toes with a pair of cleated boots, raising your feet and insulating them from the floor with footwear that has the double value of adding edge to a feminine ensemble, while stopping you from sliding on ice, or into puddles.
These simple additions to your wardrobe will enable you to ‘Be Prepared,’ watchwords of that other eccentric, but upstanding British institution, preparing us for our kaleidoscopic, vexing but much loved weather in style.