The Citizen (KZN)

Cut-outs and blazers are in this autumn


- Hein Kaiser

This season fashion marries comfort with avantgarde aesthetics.

At some point, the heat will be gone and temperatur­es will start biting at the heels of winter. This autumn, fashion takes both a bold turn – and a practical one – as functional clobber, along with revealing some skin, conservati­vely yet unmissable, takes centre stage.

Image consultant Lynne McMaster said this season, fashion marries comfort with avant-garde aesthetics.

Alongside cargo pants, blazers, cut-outs and stockings, the shirtless blazer makes a star turn.

But it’s not the cargos of the ’90s that turned flattery into truck driver vibes. Instead, cargo pants this year are more tailored.

“Choose cargo pants that flatter your body type. Strategic pocket placement can optimise a silhouette,” said McMaster. “For those with fuller hips, choosing cargos with pockets situated lower can visually elongate the legs.”

Meanwhile, cargos with pockets on the hips or thighs can enhance the silhouette­s of those with narrower hips.

“It’s about leveraging the design for your body type,” McMaster said – and this is where the functional and practical aspects of fashion merge with aesthetic appeal.”

Cargo pants are back for men, too. Far from their ’90s origins, this season’s cargo pants blend practicali­ty with a tailored aesthetic, she said, marking a departure from their untidy baggy predecesso­rs.

“Baggy cargo pants have made a magnificen­t comeback, but not as you remember them,” she said. “Today’s cargo pants are celebrated for their refined look and practicali­ty, with a more tailored fit that ensures functional­ity without the bulk.”

Pairing cargo pants with a crisp white shirt strikes the perfect balance between utilitaria­nism and urban chic, said McMaster.

“This combinatio­n exemplifie­s the trend’s adaptabili­ty, effortless­ly transition­ing from the office to an evening out.

“Functional fashion continues to reign with style and practicali­ty that can coexist harmonious­ly.”

For a more layered approach, McMaster said, oversized sweatshirt­s and camo jackets complement the cargo’s casual, rugged vibe. Polo shirts offer a slightly more polished option.

Blazers are one of fashion’s hottest tickets.

“Blazers have broken out of the boardroom and into the spotlight, offering endless styling possibilit­ies,” she said.

It’s partly inspired by the pantless trend that, when paired with blazers, allow for playful yet elegant looks suitable for different occasions.

“Leather blazers and those in vibrant colours, like bright pink, further push the envelope, introducin­g texture and lively hues into autumn wardrobes.”

Also, as the pantless trend grows, stockings will gain greater prominence for their functional­ity and aesthetics.

“They offer both a layer of warmth and a canvas for expression,” she said. “Whether opting for classic sheer stockings, or those with patterns and colours, stockings provide an opportunit­y to experiment with looks without compromisi­ng on comfort during cooler months.”

The shirtless blazer “is a daring expression of style, combining the structured elegance of blazers with a bold twist.

“It translates to a powerful statement of confidence and style,” McMaster said.

“This trend challenges convention­al dressing norms.”

Paired with high-waisted trousers or skirts, it will maintain balance and sophistica­tion, McMaster said.

“This season is about exploring boundaries, where each trend offers an opportunit­y to redefine personal style, as much as there is a move towards the practicali­ties of comfort: aesthetics have married chilled, so to speak.”

The red carpet at the Grammys and other award events this year also indicated the cut-out trend continues to captivate, with designs ranging from subtle to bold.

“Cut-outs are a conversati­on between the wearer and the viewer; it tells a story and it’s a very public narrative,” she said.

Minimal accessoris­ing is recommende­d to let the cut-outs themselves be the focal point of the ensemble, McMaster suggested.

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