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Five key fashion pieces for this season

Nicola Copping Times Online
Five key fashion pieces for this season

Discover how to wear the best trends of summer, where to get them and expert tips, plus five looks to avoid at all cost

1 Floral dress

Crucial for this season and every season to come. The print option is not under review, the length is. Mini, midi or maxi - you name it, you'll find it. With a mini, stick with spriggy prints; with a maxi, look for something bolder or more broken-up. It's an interpretation of nature, not a full-blown replica.

For your shape: Too floaty and you lose the silhouette, too fitted and the hippy effect is lost. Tie a belt round the waist to fit in somewhere in between.

Best buys: Comptoir des Cotonniers, £137, above; Stella McCartney poppy print, £845; Ted Baker Hisper maxi, £150

Expert tip: “A floral dress is easy to wear and needs minimal accessories. It should be the biggest statement that you make with your look.”

Lina Basma

Selfridges designerwear buying manager

2 Blazer

The blazer is this season's key item, with a new focus on the shoulders - not Dynasty again, but something a lot sharper and more angular. Sleeves are bracelet-length and should be pushed up for a pared-down look.

For your shape: Choose a well-tailored version that cuts in at the waist. Avoid boxy shapes: this season it's about angles.

Best buys: Topshop Tails blazer, £50, above; Gap beige and white pinstripe, £45; M&S cotton cream with navy stripe, £29.50

Expert tip: “Keep the blazer single-breasted for a more flattering line. Make sure that it doesn't end at your widest point - it will only attract the eye. A good investment in the credit crunch, as it can be dressed up or down.”

Veronique Henderson

Colour Me Beautiful creative director

3 High-waisted trousers

Thank the fashionable Lord, we've seen the back of low-slung jeans. High-waisters are a gift for those challenged in the leg-length department. Add to that their knack of making the waist appear thinner, and we wonder how we coped without them. Remember Bianca Jagger in her trouser suits? Well, there's your point of reference.

For your shape: Elongate the legs by wearing high-waisters with wedges; let them sit on the edge of your toe for extra length.

Best buys: Yves Saint Laurent, £470, above; Principles grey pinstripe, £45; Radcliffe sailor trousers, £180 at Donna Ida (

Expert tip: “Soften the look with a feminine top: frills and ruffles on a delicate print blouse are key.”

Narinda Leon

Principles creative director

4 Full skirt

Long live the skirt. Think, if you will, in terms of food: were this season's skirt a pudding, it would be made of layer upon layer of puff pastry. Topshop has sewn layers of netting into its floral-print ruffled skirts, evoking images of pliés, tutus and Margot Fontaine at the Royal Opera House. And what's wrong with that? If masculine tailoring isn't your thing, here's the perfect antidote.

For your shape: Legs look longer if the skirt falls just above the knee. Longer skirts in block colours make a strong statement.

Best buys: Marni, £595, above; Topshop printed tiered skirt, £30; Moschino Cheap and Chic green ruffle silk skirt, £290 (

Expert tip: “The full skirt captures the romance of the season perfectly. It's an essential feminine piece for every wardrobe, every season.”

Ray Kelvin

Ted Baker founder

5 Wedges

The simple formula of placing a slab of raffia or wood under the whole length of the foot is genius: it adds height without the need for a personal podiatrist - and now that the focus has switched from bags to shoes, it's time to be expressive. Turn your attention to startling colours and even more startling heels, of which there are plenty.

For your shape: Look for shoes with more than one colour to avoid the “block foot” effect.

Best buys: Kurt Geiger Hemisphere, £220, above; Salvatore Ferragamo Lilac wedges, £215; Pierre Hardy at Gap, £55

Expert tip: “Wide-leg trouser styles mean that you need to rethink your shoes. A wooden platform wedge elongates the leg while giving you a comfortable shoe to run around town in.”

Rebecca Farrar-Hockley

Kurt Geiger buying and creative director

...And five things you can live without


They keep trying to break into the fashion consciousness but, come on, it's not going to happen. Don't bother unless you're a mechanic. Or Elvis.

High-leg gladiator sandals

Fine in theory but not in practice. We are in the 21st century, not AD200.

Pop socks

They're flesh-coloured. They sit on the knee. They were never meant to be seen. Do you want to look like Last of the Summer Wine's Nora Batty?

Harem pants

Any trouser wide enough to accommodate the kitchen sink should be banned. End of.

Doc Martens

We ditched them at the age of 16, and for a reason. Rearrange these letters for the answer: U.G.Y.L.