There is something slightly louche and glamorously disreputable about suede, perhaps due to its tactile, lived in, mussed-up appearance, even when new.
It’s hide too, of course, at least the real stuff is, so in theory a natural material that may become worn, but looks better with age and life experience, much like The Rolling Stones. Suedette doesn’t have quite the same look, feel and appeal of real suede, but at least there are types of suedette that you can bung in the washing machine, which is always a bonus.
One thing for certain is that fashion has gone crazy for suede this spring and summer, and it’s a major element of the “Back to the Seventies” theme that is characterising 2015.
On the catwalk, there was a rich and varied sweep of suede. Chanel presented a soft pink suede trouser suit with cropped turn-up trousers and belted long zip biker jacket, worn with centre parting and gold chunky lace-up sandals. Chanel also gave us an alternative looser take on all-over suede with its khaki green shirt dress over loose suede trousers.
Burberry Prorsum has been delighting us with its long suede trench coats in orange or bright turquoise, worn over filmy pleated chiffon dresses, and Tom Ford gave us total Seventies’ high glamour in a rich brown suede suit with slim-fitting, high-waisted flares and fitted military detail jacket, which for some reason reminds me of outfits that 1970s’ dolls, like The Six Million Dollar Man, and Charlie’s Angels, might have worn.
Suede colours range from deep olive green (Gucci) to soft pastels, and greys, creams and khakis, but if you want a classic, go for a brown, either a rich chestnut or a softer tan, both of which look wonderful in lustrous suede. Take one patchwork or fringed suede jacket and team with a leather cropped skirt, long skinny scarves, lashings of eyeliner and some high platform sandals, and there’s the glam rock chick trend all sorted (described by some as the “just stumbled off the tour bus” look).
Bascially, the suede jacket or blazer is the must-have to wear with jeans for this summer, western style with skinnies or a longer tailored style if you decide to go for flares. A fringed suede bag is a new season must-have too, and the bigger the better (check out the one from Accessorize here).
There is also the preppy ‘70s look that’s very hot for this summer, and this is where the suede skirt fits in, especially button-through styles in a length ranging from mid-thigh to midi. Think Ali MacGraw in Love Story, especially for adding beanie hats and long, centre-parted hair.
With the skirts, brown suede versions are the best although buff looks great for a tunic. Try Miss Selfridge for shorter looks and Marks & Spencer for luxurious looking midi lengths.
Remember that oil is the enemy of suede, but if you do have an accident, try corn starch or talc applied overnight.
A simple suede coat, single breasted and above the knee, in brown or green, will become a love-forever buy.
Accessories are a great way to key into the suede trend without going mad. Look for bags, belts, boots, platform sandals and hats.
Look out for suede in vintage and retro shops, for best bargains and authentic styles. Space in Harrogate is a great place to try.