Introducing The Versatile Summer Edit by Anna Murphy, Fashion Director at The Times. Explore her SS19 style favourites that’ll take you effortlessly through the season, plus find out more about her expert fashion tips and advice in our exclusive Q&A.
What advice would you give to women that fear wearing print?
Firstly, don’t be scared; enjoy it! Start with a single piece – even a patterned scarf (like this abstract silk design) will lift an otherwise dialled-down look. Once you build your confidence, go for a bolder piece or even mix and match two contrast print items. That’s the ultimate moderniser.
What is your ultimate summer wardrobe staple?
I love a great dress. It just does all the work for you – the ultimate one-stop item that immediately makes you look pulled together. What I really relish now is how you can take one piece – like this lovely fruit-print number – and reinvent it by way of your footwear. Heels makes it dressy, box-fresh trainers makes it brunch casual.
How do you make your holiday-wardrobe favourites feel just as relevant for home?
I try not to buy anything that I’m not also going to get some wear out of home. I just don’t have the wardrobe space to do plus I like to get as much bang for my fashion buck as I can. For example, I’ll wear a sleeveless cotton dress for lunch by the Med then layer it up over a long-sleeved tee and jeans when I get back home.
From layering tricks to colour combinations, what are your top tips for modernising an outfit?
First, try what I call 21st-century layering. Throw a short-sleeved or sleeveless style over something with long sleeves. Or, layer a button-through or wrap dress worn open over a tee and jeans or tailored trousers.
Mixing and matching head-to-toe colour or print is another way to freshen your look. When it comes to the former try a favourite front-row approach – so-called tone-on-tone dressing. In other words, wearing pairing two versions of a shade, like red and pink or contrasting blues.
With print, wear twin versions of the same pattern t in contrasting shades – for example, two polka dots or animal prints. Alternatively, try uniting different prints via the same palette – a green and white stripe with a green and white floral, say.
Finally, treat animal print as a neutral and change it up with an add-on pop of colour. Here, a tiger-print trouser suit is taken to another level when paired with an acid-yellow top.
Which is your favourite piece that you chose and why?
I love the sleeveless orange floral dress because it’s such a stunning print that pulls off a great range of colours – it reminds me of an English garden in summer. I enjoy tweaking the way a multi-hue piece looks by highlighting a particular shade with my accessories. I have a blue cross-body bag that this dress would look great with, but my yellow tote would make it look different again.
Which fashion ‘rule’ are you most likely to break this season?
Rules are for breaking these days or, at the very least, bending. If you play it too safe you end up looking dull and there is nothing more ageing than dullness or predictability. So it’s about mixing it up – colours, prints and textures. And not forgetting genres: tailoring with trainers, or a silk blouse and heels with jeans.