Why 'seasonless' dressing is this year's 'normcore'
Busy lifestyles and a desire among fashionistas to look good wherever they find themselves has given rise to so-called 'seasonless' dressing
Last year the fashion world was taken by surprise when "normcore" (characterised by unpretentious, average-looking clothing) became the hottest trend of the year. It didn't take long before street-style icons and editors were swapping their wild getups and over-the-top accessories for a more pared back, nondescript look. Today, designers and shoppers have followed suit as "seasonless" dressing has become a necessity for the modern-day fashionista.
"As our lives become increasingly busy we look for clothes that work hard across a multitude of scenarios. It has become less about statement pieces and more about making good wardrobe choices," says Natalie Kingham, buying director of matchesfashion.com
"Seasonless dressing is about those pieces that feel timeless and can be worn again and again, yet are still interesting enough to provoke compliments - just in a much less obvious way," she says.
Building such a wardrobe may sound simple, but it isn't just about stocking up on basics such as a pair of black trousers or a simple cotton T-shirt. Nor is it solely devoted to classic pieces such as a little black dress or biker jacket. Instead it's a carefully curated collection of easy-to-wear essentials that should, in theory, still look modern in 10 years' time, while still speaking to your personal style.
"Seasonless dressing is not about throwing on the nearest black thing you can find. Choose basics with a sense of the personal while disregarding the provenance of the piece, be it designer or a hand-me-down. Clothes should be an accentuation of your personality," says celebrity stylist Sean K.
As such, a personal element is essential when building the ideal wardrobe. Forget what colours are on trend and instead choose shades that complement your skin tone and that you can wear with confidence. If you like prints, there is no need to shy away from them. But choose styles that are iconic to a brand or designer you love. Dries Van Noten, for example, always creates timeless yet unique prints each season, making them the perfect addition to any wardrobe.
While many women may be intimidated or bored by the idea of dressing this way, it is actually the perfect opportunity to think outside the box and go beyond your regular group go-to-brands and designers.
The Row, which was launched by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in 2006, epitomises the all-season concept and is still relatively under the radar.
The look is definitely stealth luxury with minimalist and easy silhouettes including beautifully cut T-shirts, cashmere sweaters and dresses and trousers in luxe fabrics.
Another favourite is the Bottega Veneta designer Tomas Maier's eponymous label of covetable and easy-to-wear pieces that are simple, informal and luxurious.
You can still stay true to the all-season concept while shopping from the current collections. Spring-summer 2015, for example, has many styles that you can keep forever.
Denim is a perennial favourite and has made a huge comeback at brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chloé, with styles ranging from formal trousers to skirts that are classic with a twist.
Trousers have also come into focus, so you can stock up on whatever silhouette suits you like, from cropped pieces at Chanel to wide legs at Céline.
Classics such as trench coats are updated in more current fabrics such as suede so they still have an element of surprise or newness.
Another staple, the shirt dress, appeared in many designer collections but Dior's were particularly alluring with their romantic silhouettes and broderie anglaise.
The 1970s boho look is back for a reason - designers resurrect it every few years, making it a style worth investing in.
For the evening, choose from Saint Laurent's boho style dresses in gold and sequins or Valentino's pastel shifts and scarf print jumpsuits.
Details play a staring role in any all-season wardrobe (they can transform a boring silhouette into something special), so it is also worth investing in items featuring unique fabrics or craftsmanship.
The spring collections are full of lace, eyelets, cut-outs, ruffles and fringing.
Also look out for sheer pieces, which are ideal for layering in the cooler months.
If you are after something more affordable then high street favourites such as COS and Zara are your best bets.
The contemporary segment is also growing and welcomes plenty of new faces for spring, including Matchesfashion's own label Raey, which features elevated essentials with a sporty aesthetic.
Paris-based shoe label Ash is also launching its first ready-to-wear collection featuring neoprene biker jackets, textured sweatshirts and versatile leather pieces.
While clothes remain the foundation of any seasonless wardrobe, accessories are still vital. Tried-and-tested styles such as Chanel's 2.55 or an understated Valextra bag will always come in handy, but accessories is an area where you can afford to experiment with a trend or two.
"There is still a place for those key seasonal items in any wardrobe, so spice it up with shoes and accessories that relate to the current trends," advises Tracey Cheung, head of merchandising (women's wear) for I.T Apparels.
"Accessories from Maison Margiela and Acne Studios are always inspiring and tend to look current for more than one season."