Having been to a few collection previews for AW/11 I thought I’d highlight a few trends I’ve picked up on.
Ironically, just as I’ve ordered a windowpane check suit it seems they’re back in vogue, excellent timing or an irritation depending on your point of view. While the pattern on my suit is a relatively subtle one, it seems big and bold are the dominant trends. This also extends to chalk stripe suits, over pinstripe, which is something I’ve seen a fair amount of.
I have to say bold chalk stripes are one of my favourite suiting options and one I’ve been thinking about recently. A chalk stripe is a London classic that just fits in my view. Indeed, outside of London it can look a bit odd.
Pin Stripe, City Stripe and Chalk Stripe
Now, I was taught that pin stripes were thin lines –actually a series of small dots- commonly woven into worsted cloths. A City stripe was the thicker more prominent stripe with the fuzzy edge, but again woven on worsted cloths, albeit of a heavier weight. A chalk stripe, however, is a thick fuzzy stripe woven into an open textured cloth, like flannel. The effect is a highly textured one which gives the appearance of the stripe being drawn onto the cloth with tailor’s chalk, which is the origin of the pattern. It is this last category that retailers have picked up, and that brings me neatly onto the next trend, texture.
It may seem odd to suggest that retailers are finally picking up on texture for seasonal suiting. But for those of us whose wardrobes depend on the whim of off the peg retailers getting something other than heavier weight worsteds hasn’t always been easy. Autumn and winter are the natural backdrops to flannel, and retailers have been picking up on grey flannel the last few winters, but that was all. What I’m most excited by is the prevalence of blue flannel in several collections -not only plain, but chalk stripes and windowpane checks.
But this isn’t the only type of texture you can expect.
I’ve seen a lot more jacketing in luxurious cashmere – like the one above from Gieves & Hawkes – and cloths with a cashmere and wool mix. In addition I’ve seen a lot more herringbone and some interesting variations on Donegal Tweed.
And texture can be found in some unexpected places, such as these boots which go by the name of Sherlock. Available in the autumn from Herring Shoes, these are top of my seasonal wish list. The combining of leather and suede in this fashion has been done by various bespoke shoe makers in recent seasons, but Herring offers a more affordable option.
Just a snap shot of the things we can look forward to in the coming seasons.