Darren Kennedy fashion file: How to wear... Autumn's Waistcoat
There's no escaping waistcoats this autumn as the traditional garment looks set to be the wardrobe hero of the season. Coming in a variety of different lengths and shapes from mini retro versions to long-line and oversized, the conventional layer has been given a serious fashion makeover.
The ideal in-between garment for transitioning your wardrobe between seasons as well as the perfect finishing piece to bring a look together, waistcoats are looking cooler than ever before. Making an appearance on the all the major catwalks, they were long and lean at Dior, embellished and encrusted at Givenchy, while at Burberry they were cropped and boho.
Opt for a longer length in cotton if you want to elongate and streamline your silhouette, or choose a fitted cropped style if you are petite and want to emphasise your waist.
As the mercury starts to plummet, layer yours over roll-neck jumpers and underneath jackets for stylish insulation. One thing's for sure, incorporating waistcoats into your wardrobe gives you endless styling possibilities for Autumn/Winter 2015.
Question: I'm hoping you might be able to offer some advice. My boyfriend's mother is getting re-married and the wedding takes place in a little under three weeks' time. I'm struggling with what I should wear. I am just under 5ft 2in and generally a size 10 with the exception of my bust where I'm a 34D. Can you help?
Linda (29), Dublin
Darren replies: Fit is the most important element, so with that in mind begin with the foundations and go for a professional bra fitting. You tend to lose your waist when you have a large bust as it naturally sits lower as it takes up more room on your rib cage.
Wearing the correct size will save you a world of hurt, keep you supported and in doing so will give you more of a waist. This will make a huge difference to your overall silhouette.
Dresses can be tricky so perhaps the easiest solution is to opt for an outfit of separates. A chic pair of fitted trousers, for instance the (1) slim leg patterned pair at H&M (€14.99), will emphasize your slim waist and pins. This print is busy so I'd recommend you keep the rest of your outfit relatively muted in terms of colour.
The (2) black tuxedo-style top at Zara (€25.95) is gathered at the waist on one side with a flattering crossover v-neck. The relaxed cut provides the right balance of sophistication while not being overly formal.
If you're more comfortable wearing a skirt, the beautiful (3) plaid poplin mini-style skirt by Marc by Marc Jacobs (€285, Brown Thomas) will give your look a preppy, retro feel and make the most of your legs. The sky blue, white and maroon check design is a wrap style with side gunmetal buckle fasteners for a fun feminine twist. A relaxed scoop-neck lightweight knit in a neutral such as white, fitted at the waist will draw the eye to your petite waist.
Inject added texture by completing your outfit with (4) Penney's burgundy faux croc platforms (€22). Whatever you do, avoid the current trend for high-waisted pieces.
Balenciaga gold-plated cuff, €495, Net-a-porter.com