Have you been outside recently? No? Us neither. London suddenly feels like it’s about 10 degrees outside and our weekends have swiftly shifted from endless rooftop nights sipping rose wearing skimpy Zimmermann ensembles sans tights, to knocking back copious amounts of tea and partaking in hours of Netflix and Chill in the most literal sense of the term. As much as we love the idea of winter (hello ice skating, mulled wine and Christmas party season!), we’re not fans of schlepping around town in the rain, contending with scaly hands and cheeks (never sexy) and, well, having to dress all-practical. In fact, what we love most about winter is observing it from afar. Preferably snuggled under more layers that any person should wear at any one time, or you know, from say a beach in St Barths.
Winter dressing can bring with it a whole load of sartorial conundrums and layering certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. We see you over there still trying to hold on to your lightweight blazer, ankles exposed in ballet flats. We don’t come baring judgement. We’ve never let a little frostbite get in between us and a Sophia Webster peep toe situation but for those of us living in the not-so-tropics, we’ve come to learn that the first signs of serious winter weather really does mean that it’s time to trade in the broderie anglaise for the cashmere-wool blend. And no matter how sad we are to wave goodbye to milder weather, there is something inescapably comforting about breaking out the winter layers – if you haven’t felt cashmere on your skin or sheepskin between your toes, you haven’t lived.
Banana Republic has become something of a destination for us this season. Granted, it’s a brand you probably attribute to holding your hand as your frantically look for the perfect job-interview outfit, but if you’ve popped into a store recently, you’ll have noticed that there’s a whole more to the American outpost than sensible crewnecks and HR-friendly skirts. Don’t get us wrong: all of the fail-safe Banana pieces are there, because, while the word ‘classic’ gets bandied around way too much nowadays, it’s with those no-brainer pieces that it truly excels. Since it’s inception, the Banana Republic allure has always been its ability to cater for everyone. It’s always managed to bridge a gap between throwaway fashion and the luxury market and it does so without fanfare. Its clothes aren’t designed to intimidate or alienate, but rather to serve as a blank canvas onto which we’re all invited to stamp our own personality.
You’re guaranteed to own many of its classic pieces. From Breton stripes, oversized roll neck jumpers and masculine tailored peacoats, most of what you’ll find lining its shop floors make up the bulk of our winter wardrobe failsafes. Only, the magic lies in the way you can so easily put it all altogether. The way you can wrap a belt around an otherwise simple quilted gilet and make it look just-so. Or the way layering a denim jacket over a silk blouse with a heavyweight coat can make all the difference. Sometimes it’s even the way the clothes prompt you to embrace the side tuck, tie a silk scarf around your neck or go gung-ho with sequins, feathers and knits all in the same look. The new collection features crisp tailoring, perfect broken-in-denim, masculine-inspired outerwear, 70s fringing and enough slouchy knitwear to get you through a polar vortex. There are also delicate scarf print trousers, flashes of neon colours and more playful holographic accessories too.
Once you start shopping there, it becomes easy to spot other people who have joined the club. Whether they’re fashion-savvy or not, they’ll be the ones proscribing to a colour palette of grey, black and navy blue on clean classic shapes – nothing too tight, too short, too synthetic. Their only concession to colour will be subtle: accents on one piece or with an accessory. They’re the ones with the ones with the oversized parkas, the oversized men’s cashmere sweater teamed with a feather skirt, tights and ankle boots. The biggest charm of all? Every piece has been designed specifically to slip into our existing wardrobes; updating it without overwhelming it. What’s not the love?
This post was created in partnership with Banana Republic but all views are our own. Photographs by Dvora and our editor Naomi Mdudu is wearing the brand head to toe. We’ll be in the Regent Street store on Thursday talking winter styling tips some say hi.