Finding the ‘wow’ factor right now

By Jan Shure, January 14, 2010
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Long, wide stripey  crochet scarf £30 at Phase Eight

Long, wide stripey crochet scarf £30 at Phase Eight

This time of year is the calendar equivalent of that 1960s song lyric, “Too old for toys, too young for boys” — we are profoundly over winter clothes, but it is way too soon to get into spring ones.

It is the time of year when fashion-savvy females experience a sense of deep ennui at the cold-weather wardrobe they have worn, more or less continually, since October — but tougher still, they know they will probably have to keep wearing it until at least late March if they don’t want to suffer acute hypothermia.

And with the shops currently either full of tired sales merchandise which has been picked over and rejected or — infinitely worse — already filling up with pastels, lace and delicate shades of linen, how do we find a few show-stopping pieces that will give our winter wardrobe enough of a boost to keep us feeling fabulous until it is sane to cast off cashmere and merino.

The solution to this style conundrum lies in finding one or two amazing pieces — a cuff, a necklace, earrings, a pair of brilliant tights or jewel-colour gloves or a cool hat or scarf — that have the “wow” factor, that will lift your winter wardrobe out of the doldrums and into the “Gosh, I love your (fill in the gap)…”

This has been the season of statement jewellery, and a really bold necklace or collar, like the oversized crystal and Perspex pieces by Holly Fulton, can give an edge to something as classic as a black polo-neck sweater, as well as extra dash to a wrap dress or simple shift.

Fulton’s beautifully made pieces (available at Browns) start at around £250, but there are plenty of statement pieces with much more affordable price-tags on the high street. New Look has some heavyweight chains with bold knots and dark crystals which are reminiscent of the stunning necklaces by New York jewellery designer Janis Savitt (but at about one-tenth of the price) while Accessorize, has some bold necklaces that blend brights and neutrals.

An animal print scarf is a great way to dip into one of winter’s biggest trends and brighten up a dark winter coat. If your colour palette is mainly black or grey, there is a striking animal print scarf by Yves St Laurent now reduced to £145 in the Liberty sale, while Caroline Charles has a gorgous animal print scarf to keep out the January chills. Charles has also done one of the sexiest hats of the season — her brown felt trilby (with black ribbon band, cleverly making it wearable with black), is the smart girl’s alternative to the beanie and the beret.

Last updated: 1:05pm, January 14 2010