Sales are battlegrounds, full of potential traps and sparkly fallen soldiers. But there are lessons to be learned from the annals of fashion history - familiarise yourself with them and you’ll return with war trophies that will stand the test of time. These are the items that may seem like passing trends, but snap them up and we guarantee you’ll be able to rely on them, time after time.
By Alannah Sparks
Who can resist the swish of a full skirt? It highlights the waist, flatters the thighs and it looks just as good with flat sandals and a sweater as it does with a halter top and evening jewels. Buy the right one, and season after season the full skirt will sing to you from your wardrobe, just as Cyndi Lauper did, ‘If you’re lost you can look and you will find me, time after time.’
THE BOMBER JACKET
From First World War bombadiers to Salt n’ Pepa, and from Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting to Ryan Gosling in Drive, the bomber jacket has enjoyed a chequered past of rebels and renegades - which is probably why fashion loves it so much. If you wish you’d hung onto your hip-hop baroque one from 1994, don’t make the same mistake this time around.
So you think that chunky slides are a passing fad for hipsters only? Think again. Exhibit A: the Queen, pictured wearing hers with a shantung silk coat in 1961. If she can do it so can you - right now with your wide legged pants, and in 40 years’ time with a floral muumuu. Wear with pride now, and watch their value increase on a sliding scale.
The one-shoulder neckline
From Debbie Harry’s shimmering one-shouldered top in Heart of Glass to Wilma Flintstone’s jagged white number, history has proved that the asymmetric neckline has iconic status. Graphically slicing across the decolletage, it makes a striking evening statement that doesn’t ever get old.
Menswear item plus woman’s body equals fashion gold. It’s why everyone from Marie Antoinette to Jackie Kennedy has tried shirt dresses out for size. Depending on the era, they’ve been belted, wrapped, full-skirted and cropped, made of everything from silk to suede. Tap into their reincarnate power now because this is one that will never let you down.
The fashion history of the backpack is surprisingly short. It took the vision of one Ms Miuccia Prada - armed with a whole lot of Pocono nylon - to take the bag out of its Nordic huntsman’s roots and to land it into the collective fashion consciousness in the nineties. Youth movements such as the rave scene and films such as Clueless cemented its iconic status, and its hands-free practicality and innate cuteness mean it’s catnip for catwalk designers today.