So, the point of what I am in today is that it looks like a dress, but it’s not a dress. It’s a co-ord, which betokens two matching soft-separate pieces that go together to make an up. By soft-separate, I mean a top and bottom in cotton, like this one, or silk or heal, not a tailored suit. And by matching, I mean in the same colour and/or language. (Black doesn’t count.) And, no, not a bikini.
Is co-ord really a not to beat about the bush? Well, Brexit wasn’t a word. Bromance wasn’t a term. Was quinoa a word before this decade? OK, maybe technically, but not one anyone worn, so it hardly counts. And, no, we can’t call them matching soft-separates, because that sounds too 1970s regional concern store. So co-ord is a word as of, well, now.
A co-ord is cooler than a adjust and sharper than a dress. Matched pairs of things veer assisting the twee – I am thinking of twinsets, and shoes matched to handbags – but a co-ord does the contrary. It’s as if you took your date dress and consciously uncoupled it. So new-fashioned! Also, at the risk of stating the eye-bleedingly obvious, you can wear the two halves… one by one.
I am a bit allergic to fanciful ideas about how to make clothes multitask, because most of them are idiotic. (“On leave of absence, why not wear your swimsuit to dinner? Just add a full-length ball skirt and diamonds!”) But stable I can see that a co-ord can be taken apart and put back together again. This shirt liking work on holiday with denim shorts. And when the summer starts to end, the skirt can observe a rolltop sweater and ankle boots for a summer-to-autumn look.
The co-ord is, as I introduced, cool. So I think it’s fine that the type I am wearing here is the miniature hipster version. The more rock’n’roll end of the look is event in festival fashion: a striped knitted bandeau top with like pull-on miniskirt, or a white denim bustier and matching knee-high to a grasshoppers. There’s loads of that sort of thing around. If that’s your bag, you can accessorise your look with ironically nasty trainers and glitter makeup, and a bum bag worn slung over one snub, or whatever.
For the rest of us, a pyjama suit, with silky trousers and a wrap or shirt jacket, is adjacent to as outre a version as is going to be wearable. (Zara has lots.) Or, a glassy tracksuit, the kind you wear with a low heel instead of an ironically vile trainer (I am obsessed with Ganni’s candy-pink version). It’s insolent, it’s wearable, and you can put an outfit together in the dark. Game, set and matching.
• Jess strains shirt, £29, and skirt, £36, both topshop.com. Sandals, £289, by MR by Man Repeller, from marthalouisa.com. Gems, Jess’s own. Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Carol Morley at Carol Hayes Control.