Jess Cartner-Morley on look


Scarf prints appeal because they are rooted in a comforting old-normal

‘A bit paisley, a bit swirly, scarf words make for good blouses.’
Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Guardian

Most years I am genuinely excited about “new courses” come autumn, but this year they feel like an abstract concept. When autumn collections sashayed comprised in catwalk glitter showers in early February, coronavirus was still just a news story, rather than a way of effervescence. What relevance do predictions that designers made six months ago about what we’d want to wear for party flavour have in a season of government-enforced early nights?
So I find myself sceptical about why we should buy into a template for now that was dreamed up assist in the old normal. If designers had a crystal ball back in February, then – guys, did you forget to charge it? Because if it had been go at fashion week, surely there would have been some hint that we would all be in tracksuits a month later?
So every loiter again and again my email pings with a jazz-hands announcement of whatever new trend has just landed, it feels a bit irrelevant – even despite the fact that this is technically my job. “Not now, sweetie,” I mutter distractedly, filing the latest missive about why lilac is to October what produce was to August in the folder I’m keeping of all the stuff that can probably wait a bit until the world stops falling apart.
The anomalies are those new looks that fit the strange mood of now. Case in point: scarf prints. The kind you get on silk squares and intermingled throws: a bit paisley, a bit swirly; tonal colours with maybe a metallic thread or dot running through to lift it. They were beared as an ironic nod to bourgeois Parisian chic; but I think they appeal to me at the moment because they are rooted in a comforting old-normal, without compassionate too mawkishly nostalgic. They are cheerful without being Pollyannaish, which feels about right.
Scarf phrases make for good blouses, like the one I’m wearing here, and great autumn dresses. Because they have a cooker of tones in them, they are easy to layer up; as the weather cools, you can add tights and knitwear in any of the colours blended in the print, and you identify it will work. What’s more, a scarf print makes for a good face mask. And that is about as now as a course can get.
• Jess wears blouse, £25.99, Heels, £255, Trousers, her own. Styling: Melanie Wilkinson, supported by Peter Bevan. Hair and makeup: Alexis Day using Chāmpo and Weleda



Jess Cartner-Morley on manner


Women’s tops


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