Felipe Oliveira Baptista Stranger Patchwork Dress

Felipe Oliveira Baptista Stranger Patchwork Dress

SS/13 is a playful and eclectic season. Featuring the perennial summer blossoming of feminine florals and romantic layers, this is also the time to experiment with statement accessories, 90s nihilistic grunge, Great Gatsby glamour and tongue-in-cheek pop art prints. This is a season for diversity and fantasy, combining the soft femininity of a pale, pastel palette with the toughness of a bold graphic print. Exhausted by all these references yet? Relax, the trick this season is to mix and match, play with the styles you love and create a unique summer wardrobe all of your own. Not sure which trend to channel first? Here's a rundown of our favourite pieces this season.


The Peplum

Forgivingly tummy-skimming for hourglass figures and sensuously waist-and-hip-enhancing on the less ample amongst us, peplums are the universally flattering trend you've been praying for. As if the middle-cinching, curve -boosting effect was not enough, the peplum is also magnificently versatile; taking you from office to picnic to party with a cunning change of shoes and the addition of a bold lip colour.

Take your inspiration from sculpted designs like Suno's ‘static flowers’ peplum top to hit this season's note perfectly.  Alternatively, to give a graceful nod to extra volume, incorporate a peplum into your wardrobe with a less conventional piece. We love Thakoon Addition's flirty red crochet dress and Vika Gazinskaya's cheerful raindrop skirt, while Suno's dreamy floral peplum dress offers a softer, more romantic take on the look.

Top-to-toe

Don't do things by halves. Last summer, the elegant patterned cocktail trouser became essential summertime legwear. This year it's time to take things up a peg or two by pairing pretty printed cocktail trousers with a matching shirt for head-to-toe sartorial impact, with added glamorous nonchalance. 

For those intimidated by the 'matchy-matchy' aspect here, remember, the key to making this work lies in the cut and your choice of accessories. A relaxed fit which refuses to swamp the wearer is essential, Yigal Azrouel gets it just right with his paisley printed ensemble. Meanwhile, a few carefully chosen, pared back accessories will add refinement and make sure you're not faced with that potential 'pyjama-esque' problem. Beware over-complicating, however. Too many textures and colours will leave you looking 'busy' and detract from the sophisticated elegance of this look. We recommend a pair of vintage dark glasses and a simple pendant.

Graphic Prints

If you're not prepared to wear pattern head-to-toe, there are plenty of alternative ways to incorporate SS13's bedazzling array of prints into your wardrobe. Art prints have enjoyed a growing presence on catwalks this year; go iconic and ironic with David Stezo’s Daliesque lobsters or introduce a little 'non-representational form' into your wardrobe with some fabulous Mondrian cat eye sunglasses from Cutler & Gross. Elsewhere, bright, de-constructed, clashing prints are grabbing attention. We adore Felipe Oliviera Baptista’s summer range of graphic, sports luxe dresses. Meanwhile, if you can't resist a floral print come summertime, this season's flowers are either pretty and compact with a vintage feel or modern, bold and painterly as seen gracing Preen’s eye-catching Spring/Summer collection.

The Midi Skirt

Last year, the maxi skirt reigned supreme. This year, prepare for a much more versatile, sophisticated look. Falling between the ankle and the knee, the midi has a retro 50s edge that is beautifully feminine. Unlike the maxi skirt, a midi length with a glimpse of ankle is very flattering, drawing attention to the slenderest part of the leg, skimming problem areas and adding retro volume to slimmer hips. Teamed with a peep toe heel and floral look, this style has gorgeously girly vintage charm. Meanwhile, with a sleek Parisienne twist, the midi becomes effortlessly sophisticated – simply wear with a close-fitted turtle-neck à la Ms Hepburn and a few key pieces of coordinated statement jewellery.

Long Line Lingerie

Feeling feminine? The long-line bra is a new twist on a vintage style which conjures up romantic associations and taps into the season's key 1950s influences. This resurrected style from the 50s looks beautiful and has the additional benefit of closely shaping the bust and ribcage, whilst offering additional support without unsightly lines, for a svelte silhouette. These pretty pieces are much more than just practical lingerie. Available in styles from sweet to seductive, there is a long line lingerie look to turn you from pretty vintage princess to smouldering burlesque beauty and back again. One word of warning: take care when it comes to sizing. A longer bra, fitted around the ribcage, can be more difficult to get just right.

Ear Cuffs

Here is the perfect no-piercing, edgy ear adornment. After enjoying a very brief flirtation with the spotlight in the 80s, ear cuffs are back and they're 2013's must-have ear candy. Seen on the likes of Ms Scarlett Johannsen and Cara Delevingne, ear cuffs channel SS/13's penchant for sharp, studded jewellery with an ethnic edge. These alternative earrings are best worn with a tousled, ear-exposing updo for optimal effect and teamed with a rock and roll attitude. For a more grown up touch, Husam el Odeh's rose cuff offers a subtler take, but to keep impeccably on trend look no further that Maria Black's abstract crescent cuff.

What's going to be gracing your wardrobe and glittering from your dressing table this SS/13? Will you be wearing a 50s influenced midi-skirt look, updated with a graphic print tee? Are you a peplum convert? Will long line lingerie be influencing your beachwear this holiday? Whatever you love this season, follow your sartorial nose, keep it eclectic and don't be afraid to experiment with the smorgasbord of inspiring looks out there this summer.