How can I wear an oversized trench coat and not look like I took my husband’s by mistake?
Steal or Not to Steal, Sai Ying Pun

The Dictator rules: You are missing the point. You are supposed to look like you raided a man’s wardrobe. Anyway, just come out and say it. What you are really worried about is looking fat. Unless you are rail thin, have a quirky aesthetic or are David Byrne, you’ll want to create a sense of proportion. (Did anyone even get that old reference?) Leave the coat open and wear one fitted item underneath such as leather trousers. Reveal a little skin with a crop top (only tight abs need apply), slashed or cropped jeans, or bare legs as a counter­point to the heft and masculinity of the coat. Show off your waist, if you still have one, with a belt over the coat.

Now, which of this season’s many oversized trench coats should you buy? Well, the first brand you think of for such a garment, Burberry, is a good place to start. Yup, it goes way beyond the traditional, as evidenced by its array of trenches and car coats for autumn-winter 2017 in classic gaberdine, taffeta and even plastic (HK$6,700/US$858 and up). Don’t miss its asymmetric cotton trench (HK$17,000) and oversized bonded-cotton car coat in pop-art-like blocks of red, beige and check (HK$23,000).

Korean label YCH designed its trench to be open at the front from the waist down and at the back with a high slit in light beige cotton (HK$6,200; Lane Crawford). Pushbutton, also from Korea, has nailed it with a few interpretations, including a seemingly simple one in a beige cotton twill that is reversible to show the blue, red, white and yellow patchwork of the lining on the outside (HK$9,600; Harvey Nichols). All the high-street brands will be offering trenches, too. Good luck wearing one in this heat!


I read that high-necked blouses are in fashion again. Can that be right? Are we talking about Victorian lace? Because I’m not sure I could go there.
Hot Under the Collar, The Peak

The Dictator: Wake up. I just read that long dresses worn over jeans are de rigueur. I read it. I won’t be wearing it. A high-neck top, though, is intriguing, especially as an alternative to ridicu­lously long sleeves that keep getting caught or smeared in something. Forget lace. Think modern, minimalist. Marni has several takes: try a blouse with high collar in solid or printed silk acetate, or a casual crisp cotton top with a gathered collar (HK$7,300 and up). Marni designer Francesco Risso has created technical jersey collars on what looks like a soft harness with ties at the back (HK$4,200).

We are infatuated with Wanda Nylon’s funnel neck top in red, blue and white striped cotton (HK$3,815; Net-a-Porter), with cuffed sleeves and a belt tie in the same fabric. Y’s Yohji Yamamoto has the perfect funnel-neck blouse in light­weight wool blend with buttoned cuffs and side slits (HK$5,856; totokaelo.com). The grand fashion houses, from Valentino to Gucci and Saint Laurent are all doing silk blouses with retro ties at the neck or back (about HK$11,000), and you can be sure fast-fashion retailers have them, too.

Ellery has put high collars on many of its tops and knits, including a white cotton blouse with smocking cinching it in at the waist and cocoon sleeves (HK$6,500; Lane Crawford). Stella McCartney brings the funnel neck to a blue denim belted top (HK$5,780; Lane Crawford). And if you really want to look like you know what you are doing, follow the street stylers, pairing your top with cropped jeans and the latest shoes.

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