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Winter dressing tips
It’s raining, it’s pouring, and our clothes are awfully boring. The hot water bottles are dusted off and the heaters cranked up, it’s winter in Cape Town, and while the weather may be gloomy, your fashion choices needn’t leave you cold and dreary too.
Alan Rorke, fashion buyer for the Foschini Group and a former member of the Woolworths and Platinum Group tribes, is known in Cape Town’s fashion circles as the ‘Fabric Whisperer’. He took an elegant second to dispense some wearable wisdom on winter fashion.
CapeTownMagazine: Alan, why do they call you the ‘fabric whisperer’?
Alan: Sculptors say that they can sense the figures waiting in a block of marble, painters the landscape hiding on the canvas; a fabric will tell me what it wants to be.
CapeTownMagazine What can we expect at this year’s Cape Town Fashion Week in July?
Alan: There’ll be a return to plush fabrics. For the ladies, the flavours du jour are silks embellished with brocades as well as richly dyed velvets. Expect a play on symmetry, with skirts high in front that trail in the rear. Colours will go one of two ways; either into soft pastel shades or into vivid emeralds and rubies.
For men, tweeds and velvets that conjure up images of an English country estate. The new play on proportions, however, will ensure that the range looks and feels new. Collars are oversized or miniature, lapels are long and elegant; and pants are tailored and perhaps shorter than they have been.
CapeTownMagazine: Your top five fashion rules?
CapeTownMagazine: What trends do you forecast for this winter?
Alan: This season’s being called the ‘winter of the coat’. And when shopping for the warmest item in your wardrobe, go for the best fabric you can afford in a classic colour. A good coat is an investment piece, and will keep rewarding you for years to come. Silhouettes are either the blazer (for men and women), or a longer trench or car-coat.
Shelve your denim for the winter; it’s all about the slim-cut chino or corduroy trouser. And, low-slung boots are back for both sexes; keep those calf-huggers for next year.
CapeTownMagazine: Any advice on how to get the look for less?
Alan: When you begin to balance your wardrobe, you’ll find that your selection will naturally begin to have a base of timeless pieces. Then, learn to spot the seasonally relevant colours and silhouettes, and one or two purchases should mix and match with this base to make you look the part.
Don’t spend big money on trends. If you won’t be wearing it a year from now, buy the cheapest you can find.
The Fabric Whisperer’s lowdown on what to wear in these common scenarios:
- What to wear to an interview
Women: Cover that cleavage; it’ll only undermine your true talents.
Men: Always wear a blazer, never a tie. You’ll look smart, but if you feel overdressed on the day you, can always remove your blazer before the interview.
- What to wear on a first date
Wear something your friends are used to seeing you in. There’s no use in promising silk stockings when you’re really a tracksuit pants kind of person.
- What to wear to a networking function
Get into the frame of mind of the people you’re networking with. If they’re creative, wear a one-off piece you know they wouldn’t have seen before. If it’s a business function—then dress the part. Again though, a quirky add-on can be a conversation starter.
- What to wear to work
Take note of what your boss is wearing. They’re setting a standard, emulate their level of dress.
- What to wear to a party (this is tricky as it’s usually cold outside and hot in!)
Plan your outfit in layers, like a shirt, cardigan, and blazer. Make sure you’ll be warm enough to sip champers on the balcony, but also cool enough to squeak some tekkie on the dance floor..
Looking for just the right quirky item? Check out our listing of Cape Town’s vintage shops.
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