It’s trans time – fashion speak trans, that is! The time for transitional clothes, for in-between times of year. Clothes supposed to cope with any weather that’s thrown at us between seasons – slip overs that keep us going when we don’t know whether to get out the furry parka or risk a cotton dress.
Now we’re at the back-end of winter, transitional means dresses that are made of warmer stuff, lightweight jackets that can be popped on or off or kept in the back of the car ‘just in case’ – together of course with umbrella and wellies in bright and cheerful colours that let others know that we know that Spring is round the corner.
You just never know whether there will be a heatwave in March – get out the kaftans (and skimpy sundresses if you dare) or whether there will be 10 centimetres of snow (n’er cast a clout till May is out!)
But if you want to invest in one new item that will get lots of wear right now and give you a ‘summer-is-acoming-in’ feeling, look at the range of super slip overs. There are many sizes and varieties of waistcoats, vests and gilets to suit every pocket.
The beauty of slip overs is that they can be whipped on for extra warmth and slid off just as quickly when the temperature rises. And, depending on the style and fabric, can be layered over just about anything – cords and jumpers, knitted dresses, jeans and shirts, or summery outfits.
Waistcoats come in many different guises. They can be short tweedy garments that come down to the, well, waist (like grandad used to wear) or they can be tailored, or knitted… the latter being softer and more forgiving for bodies that are no longer as streamlined as maybe we would like.
Bright ones are very useful, because we’re fed up with drab and need a dose of colour to keep us going till Summer really gets underway. I bought this fluffy alpaca one from Essential Antwerp in vivid pink. (Still in their sale, I think.) I’m wearing it now, and it will be a summer cover-up for chilly evenings.
- Norman waistcoat £98 Plumo
- Linen blend tailored waistcoat £39.50
- Blue tunic waistcoat £69 at River Island
Other brands that have loads of waistcoats include Plumo and Toast. You will find them in a variety of fabrics and colours. They can be knitted or made with woven fabric, denim or fleece, usually buttoned at the front, but sometimes designed to wear open.
The long waistcoat, down to the hips or lower is also a great option. Yes, I know! But they are still called waistcoats. I favour the knitted ones (being one of those who is no longer as streamlined as I would like to be) that go over anything.
- Two tone longline by Anne Weyburn £29.70 at La Redoute https://www.laredoute.co.uk/ppdp/prod-350244047.aspx
- Longline blue at John Lewis £39
The Vest /Tank
- Ponte Jacquard Rib Trim Sleeveless V Neck Top at Me+Em £95
- Fatface Halle tank £49.50
- Rhea wool pointelle knit vest £54.95 from Thought
The vest or tank as it is also known is a very useful garment for layering and adding warmth to a jumper, blouse or dress. Most of your favourite brands have them and also Me+Em if you want to splash out and join the ‘in’ crowd. Expensive, but very high quality and will last forever.
The gilet is often an outside garment, lightly padded. A bit like a coat without sleeves, but it can even go over a coat if the weather refuses to warm up. It’s a brilliant transitional garment, giving a sporty vibe.
- Cream Faux Shearling Gilet currently reduced to £79 at Mint Velvet
- Maddison quilted gilet now £85 at White Stuff
- The Primrose suede gilet £395 at Fairfax & Favor
There are, of course, other items of clothing that that could come under the ‘transitional’ slip overs umbrella – the blazer (goes over printed dresses, or utilitarian jeans) the always-in-fashion denim jacket (an equally versatile layer that goes with everything) and the long knitted cardi. And the beauty of all of these is that they are probably in your wardrobe right now, so you don’t have to splash out on something new.
You might like to read Maggie’s book, It’s Never Too Late to Look Great! which does something the fashion industry is frightened to do.
It shows how women over 50 – and beyond – don’t have to be invisible when their faces and figures are less than perfect. This style guide shows how to dress with panache, and open the door to a world of new opportunities, confidence and happiness.
If you’ve ever seen some grey hairs in the mirror and said, ‘I don’t know what to wear any more’, this is the book for you. Maggie identifies the four qualities that make style: Surprise, True to yourself, Artistry and Reinvention. Follow these and you will become a style S.T.A.R.
Older women are now fitter and more active than ever. Many of them want to keep looking stylish, but find themselves ignored by a fashion industry whose public image is often a pouting, skinny 20-year old. Maggie Cox’s book is for them. It shows that fun begins at 50 and can last as long as you want it to.