How to update your trench coat for SS2021 - What to consider when buying a blazer - How to tackle the minfield of choosing jeans

Breeda O' Connell

How to update the classic trench for SS2021

A trench coat is one of the most versatile pieces in any Spring/Summer wardobe. It is the perfect piece for changeable weather and elevates the simplest outfits. But how to update it and make it fresh for SS2021?

Here are some quick styling tips and outfit ideas :

* choose this season's longer hemlines
* choose a looser fit for a nod to the trend for slouchy tailoring
* push the sleeves over your elbows

* try teaming with your SS capsule wardrobe basics like light wash blue jeans and plain white tee

* pair with wide leg trousers for an on trend slouchy silhouette; introduce balance with a fitted vest

* experiment with layering by knotting a sweater over your trench or adding an oversized shirt between your vest and trench

* try your trench over joggers and a sweatshirt, choosing tonal shades to keep it looking put together

What to look for when choosing a blazer

  1. Look at the shape:

    Straight cut or masculine blazers will look great on a straigh body shape, but in order to show the curves of a curved body shaped, a more shaped, fitted blazer is a better choice

    2. Is it single or double breasted?

    Double breasted blazers can add some much needed volume to a smaller bust, but can also look boxy which you may want to avoid if you have a rectangle body shape for example

    3. Assess the length:

    The hemline of a blazer creates a horizontal line across the body - ensure it ends either above or below the widest part of your hips to avoid adding unwanted extra width

    4. Look at the fabric:

    Tightly woven fabrics will give more structure, but may restrict movement and lose waist definition, whilst textured fabrics may add extra bulk

    5. Look at the design features:

    Does the blazer have shoulder pads? - Great if you're a Pear shape and want to add tructure to narrow shoulders & balance hips, but not so much if you're an invered triangle whose shoulders are already the widest part of the body

    Are there pockets? Pockets at waist level can define a small wais, but pockets at hip height may add bulk

    What size are the collars? Are there buttons? - The size ^ scale of these design features need consideration if you want to keep your shape balanced and looking in proportion.


There’s no mystery as to why choosing jeans can seem like such an uphill struggle.
They’re an absolute wardrobe must in probably 99% of women’s wardrobes, so there’s no doubt that they’re essential.

The problem is the vast quantity of choice available.  Add to that variance in sizing and fits from brand to brand. Plus evolving & changing jeans trends only adds to the confusion and overwhelm.

The best place to start? Not by looking outward. Not by scrolling through seemingly endless reems of options and brands and what’s currently ‘trending’.

You will lose hours of your precious time, work yourself into a frustrated tizzy, and STILL come away with nothing. Or you will make a misguided and/or misinformed choice and end up returning 9 of 10 pairs you choose.

No, don’t even thinking of looking ‘out there’ yet. Look inward.

That’s right. Forget about what everyone on social media is doing, forget about what you think you should buy, forget about what looks great on other people – really focus in on what works for you.

This means being realistic about your shape & scale, and what types of jeans are really likely to look good on you. Then you need to think about how you like to dress, how you plan to style your jeans, where jeans fit into your lifestyle. Now you have some sort of foundation as to what you’re looking for.
Only then will my guidelines, or any one else’s guidelines be useful to you.

There are so many things to consider when choosing jeans, that you will have to really think about how different styles and washes will look on your body, and if they will work with your other clothes & how you plan on styling them.

In choosing jeans, all of the following need consideration:

  • The fit of the jeans – straight leg, slim leg, skinny leg, wide leg, bootcut, relaxed fit, flare
  • The fabric composition – tightly woven and stiff, or with some stretch (elastane) in the fabric mix
  • The rise of the jeans: low rise, mid rise, high rise, super high rise
  • The length of the jeans: ankle grazer, cropped, full length
  • The wash: true blue, light blue, indigo, black, white, faded
  • Any detail the jeans: distressed, frayed hemlines, patchwork pocket detail, embellishment
  1. Think about how each fit type would potentially look on our body, scale & height – are you tall enough to carry off flares? Will skinny jeans only emphasise heavy thighs and bottom? Will high rise jeans make my already short torso look shorter? Will low rise jeans give me a muffin top? (hint: probably, yes!)

  1. Think about what footwear you are planning to wear with the jeans: bootcut jeans need to be paired with a heel (block heel preferably), whereas trainers look best with ankle grazers in a slim or straight leg

  1. Think about your style personality: maybe straight leg jeans will work best for my classic style personality; maybe indigo jeans work best in my ‘city chic’ wardrobe
  1. The time of year will also impact your choices – true blue is the most timeless wash for Spring/Summer, whereas indigo or dark wash jeans are a winter wardrobe essential

  1. How do jeans need to tie into your lifestyle – maybe you need a more relaxed fit in a mid blue wash to roll up & pair with trainers for kids activities, and you also rely on a well fitting pair of skinny black jeans to pair with your favourite top for a night out (remember those?!)

Only when you have developed some confidence about what works well for you and have a strong idea of what you need and want, can you start to experiment with different styles and styling your jeans differently.

The standout fit at the moment is the straight leg jean but this description of ‘straight’ is highly subjective and can vary hugely form brand to brand and shop to shop, with some straight leg jeans being more of a wide leg, and some being a lot slimmer.

So, there is definitely an element of trial & error involved in getting the perfect fit for your needs. But by doing some background wok, you minimise the amounts of errors, and get to your desired result a lot faster. Yay!

Skinny jeansNot the best choice for Pears, especially in lighter colours, best in ankle lengthStraight legGreat on almost all body types, a classic & timeless shapeHigh riseGreat to elongate legs, can accentuate a small waist in the correct fabricBootcutGreat to balance the wider hips of the pear, figures of 8 & rectangles may be better served with straight jeans or jeans that taper in slightlyWide legGreat for heavy thighs, full length versions look best paired with heels, pair with a closer fitting top for balanceTightly woven/stiffGreat on straight body shapes and women with flatter hipsStretch denimEssential for the curves of the hourglass and pearIndigo jeansDark wash jeans are great for de-emphasising a heavier bottom half; will always look pulled togetherDistressed jeansCan work well for the natural, creative, dramatic & sexy/alluring personalities depending on how & where they are distressed and how they are styledMid-riseFlattering on almost all shapes – waistband comes to about 1 inch below the belly button

Overall, my advice would be:

When you discover the jeans that look best one you: the fit, the length, the rise, & the wash – always have at least one pair of these in your wardrobe - irrespective of fashion trends. Buy the best quality you can afford – your cost per wear will be well justified

Once you have your perfect jeans, you can then play around with different styles & looks, knowing that you always have your trusty ‘fall back’ style to hand.

In jeans, as with all clothes, remember that ‘fashions fade, but style is eternal’