My very stylish colleague IMC said something quite revealing the other day. He’s been wearing lots of blue lately and he especially likes stripes, so I’ve seen him sporting Breton stripes for a few months now. All of a sudden Breton stripes are everywhere and he was almost spooked out: “My God, I didn’t know I was so avant-garde!”.
The fact is that the Breton stripe was all over the catwalk at the last S/S shows and it’s been an unusually quick trend to appear in every shop. It normally takes at least a year, if not two or three, for big haute couture trends to percolate down to the high street (think of houndstooth coats, chunky-knit cardigans etc), but I guess this is such a classic, something that somehow has always been around, that it was easy for clothes manufacturers to simply up their stocks and flog this look everywhere and so promptly.
And yes, I do love it, it’s a very elegant and summery pattern, with very a very strong fashion feel as it immediately reminds you of Coco Chanel or Jean-Paul Gaultier (whose sailor T-shirt is such a signature of his that it even ended up on the packaging of his perfumes).
But I have a genetic resistance to follow ubiquitous trends. As soon as I spot something more than twice on a single Tube journey, that’s it for me. I just believe that fashion is something that should make us unique. And although of course trends are important, and I am always on the look out for new interesting ones to experiment with, I’d rather not follow the flock but try to have a more individual look. Many people do just the opposite, as they need the validation of their peers in order to try something new (which, by definition, won’t be new anymore). But that’s just boring for me. Where’s the fun in that?
So instead, I decided to invest in a gorgeous blue gingham blazer. I like the Breton stripe, but I am absolutely in love with gingham, which I think is the freshest, lightest, most youthful and cheerful pattern one can wear in spring and summer. I already have a black gingham tie and a lovely shirt with gingham inserts, but I wanted a piece of clothing that could make a bolder statement. This Feraud seersucker jacket just had my name written on it when I spotted it on the rack. And only 2 minutes later it was leaving the shop with me. Some people might find it a bit too bold, but hey, that’s the fun part, innit?