Fashion: All aboard for the new nautical look

Regatta chic, deck style, call it what you will, nautical looks are a spring classic, but this season, it's been given new life and interest with a more-is-more touch. Stephanie Smith has tips.

Stripes are having a moment, as is blue, which means that this season, possibly more than any other in fashion recorded history, the nautical look is hot, smokingly so.

While this is excellent news for those of us who like to sport a blue and white stripey top whenever we can, certainly not just in the traditional nautical season of early spring, it has to be pointed out that a few changes are required this time around, if you want to be truly on-trend with the trend.

Update your nautical wardrobe immediately with the addition of a blue and white striped shirt dress or long shirt. You’re looking for something with a distinct air of the old-fashion night shirt about it, as in Wee Willy Winkie and his candle. The best way to wear it in early spring is over your trousers. Try cropped ones, slim crops with heeled ankle boots, high strappy sandals or stilettos, for a Euro-chic holiday look, or go with wide cropped trousers with clumpy flat platform sandals for a more oriental appeal. This might look better belted.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match floral print with stripes, as it’s a key trend to play with for this spring and summer, with plenty dresses made in prints that blend the two. This is a feature on bags too, and Dolce and Gabbana’s regatta blue and white stripe leather handbag with tapestry floral motif is a striking example, and one which has inspired lots of bags you’ll find on the High Street,

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    It’s not all about the blue and white stripe, however – far from it. Pink and white is a welcome addition to the nautical look for this spring, bringing a softer, fresher feel.

    Red and white stripe, as ever, is an easy way to inject a bold colour to your outfit, but actually, any colour of stripe works, especially if you mix them all together. Missoni sent down the catwalk a simple blue, white and red horizontal striped sporty collared V-neck top teamed with multicolour deckchair stripe silky wide trousers, black and white striped belt and with multi striped jumper tied around the waist. It might sound like a walking jumble sale, but actually, the whole look had a feeling of perfect unity, probably because blue was a colour that featured in all the pieces except the belt. It’s worth experimenting to see if you can put together your own multi-colour multi-stripe ensemble, without creating a look that suggests the circus has come to town. You might find it’s easier done than said.

    Head to toe stripes can be especially flattering if you keep them all the same and vertical. A key look as seen on the streets of Milan and Paris is the palazzo striped trouser suit, with wide-leg striped trousers, perhaps in a cotton or calico, teamed with a matching tabard style top, or jacket, although this can look a little like pyjamas, which might cause a consternation at the school gates.

    If nothing else, a pair of striped palazzo trousers is another key piece that will bring an instant update to your spring wardrobe and your nautical look, so well worth investing. The chic and slouchy pair featured here from Tu at Sainsbury’s are perfect for weekends and holidays, and note how they are teamed with striped sneakers. Combining multiple stripes, maybe even having some going diagonally and on the bias, gives an elegantly subversive spin to the nautical look for spring.

    Traditionally, the nautical look returns this time every year because of its ideal tran-seasonal appeal, distinctive and spring like, but also allowing for knits, jackets and waterproofs to be worn in style. And since it works, what’s not to love?