With maxi cuts and cropped lengths de rigeur, Stylist’s fashion director Alexandra Fullerton shares her advice on how to style the trickiest shapes
Words: Alexandra Fullerton
Fashion: Helen Atkin
The statement sleeve
Tip: Voluminous sleeves need tailored pieces for balance. The rule is to go big on one piece at a time – for every outsize item, add at least two slim-fitting ones. So a flared sleeve shirt looks chic worn with a tailored blazer, slim-cut jeans and fitted ankle boots, while a full length skirt it could easily look like costume dressing.
Shirt, £55, Studio by Preen For Debenhams (Debenhams.com); Jacket, £275, LK Bennett (lkbennett.com); Jeans, £60, Great Plains (greatplains.co.uk); Bag, £325, Kate Spade New York (katespade.co.uk); Boots, £195, Whistles (whistles.co.uk)
The power blazer
Tip: The catwalks amped up the outlandish proportions of the Eighties blazer with an equally voluminous bottom half but for real life a sleeker silhouette is more wearable. Create definition with tailored trousers plus a blouse that nips in at the waist. And team with heels – the lift is crucial to balance out those shoulders.
The midi skirt
Tip: The usual rule is to pick a coat that’s longer than your skirt. But with the midi, swap a coat altogether for a jacket that sits no lower than your hip. Midis also need a clear gap between hem and shoe so avoid knee-high boots which will look frumpy and opt for a heeled court to create a more elegant line.
Jacket, £185, Topshop (topshop.com); Jumper, £28, Oasis (oasis-stores.co.uk);
The girlfriend jean
Tip: A high waist, tapered leg and cropped length might be the denim shape du jour, but it’s a tricky one to style. To balance the silhouette, tuck in a crisp shirt with wide statement sleeves. Add a block heel to lengthen your leg line and choose a jacket that sits below your hips.
The wide leg
Tip: Wide-leg trousers can be a hero piece, but need the right accompaniments. Balance the extra fabric with a long-line coat, while a skinny roll neck adds definition to the look. Wear with flat shoes to keep things modern and grounded; a heel (or a shorter coat) will throw the look out of proportion.
Coat, £445, Weekend Max Mara (matchesfashion.com); Roll-neck, £32.50, Comptoir des Cotonniers (comptoirdescotonniers.co.uk); Watch, £159, Guess (01604 678 940); Bag, £29.95, Gap (gap.co.uk); Trousers, £59, Warehouse (warehouse.co.uk); Shoes, £50, Converse (converse.com/uk)
The mini skirt
Tip: Short skirts need to be balanced above and below – a thick knit and chunky boot are the perfect partners. Make sure your boots are flat – whether ankle, knee or thigh-length – as spindly heels will only exaggerate a raised hem. And as knee-length coats look mismatched with a mini, choose a neat pea coat instead.