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Mapping out your co-ordinates
6:00am Saturday 1st February 2014 in Lifestyle
The two-piece has undergone a dramatic 2014 makeover. Lisa Haynes is seeing double with matching co-ords.
Banish the frumpy notion of twin sets and pearls from your mind. This season, doing the double has never been so chic.
Co-ordinates, or 'co-ords' in fashion speak, are the instant cheat to a put-together look. The matching is ready-made for you and the top-to-toe cohesion makes for a streamlined, slimming silhouette.
Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow are even swapping their gowns for slick co-ords on the red carpet.
Statement print or colour blocking, sharp tailoring or loose jersey, trouser suit or skirt set; there are no rules in the form that your co-ords come in, just make sure they're matchy-matchy.
These are separates that belong together but they can also have a second life in your closet, teamed with other staples, to make your purchase work harder.
Double up and work the two-piece trend.
If you want your co-ords to pack a punch, opt for a bold print. Primark's set takes its catwalk inspiration from Celine's maximalist multicoloured brushstrokes. Keep accessories and jewellery to a minimum to avoid cluttering the arty impact. Top, £8; Skirt £10; both available February (www.primark.co.uk).
Top-to-toe leopard is a touch extreme but animal print in mono is uber-contemporary. Matalan's co-ord set ticks off multiple trends in black and white. Pare the look down by layering a longer shirt under the top to break up the print. Leopard Print Top, £12; Skirt, £12; both available February (www.matalan.co.uk).
Flowers have gone supersized for spring. Look bloomin' gorgeous in Marks & Spencer's Autograph floral set. Team with towering heels for instant leg lengthening in those ankle-skimming trousers. Autograph Top, £79; Autograph Trousers, £79, both available end of January (www.marksandspencer.com).
Who said tweed has to be boring? Invigorate your office uniform with Oasis's structured spring tweed set. Wear with black tights in the deep freeze and bare legs and flat loafers once temperatures rise. Spring Tweed Top, £35; Spring Tweed Mini Skirt, £35 (www.oasis-stores.com).
Pencil skirts can sometimes look a tad too prim 'n' proper, so add a matching top for instant cool. George's G21 twin set features a busy floral print on dark textured material for non-cling figure flattery. G21 Textured Floral Crop Top, £10; Floral Midi Skirt, £12 (www.george.com).
The pastel pink obsession continues for spring. Offset the girly prettiness with Topshop's pink double act in structured jacquard - the perfect alternative to a dress. Textured Bubble Crepe Tee, £32; Bubble Jacquard Midi Skirt, £48 (www.topshop.com).
Tailored print suits can take you from boardroom to bar stool. Jaeger's jacquard geometric print is dazzling on the eye and the body, with its slimming panels. Go Victoria Beckham-style by wearing a slinky cami underneath. Jacquard Panelled Jacket, £250; Jacquard Trousers, £150; both available end of January (www.jaeger.co.uk).
Black and white makes its biggest impact with a strict silhouette. Warehouse's monochrome duo is stark and graphic in a textured two-tone finish. Wear with flats for day and heels by night, for a modern take on the LBD. Mono Textured Top, £35; Mono Textured Pencil Skirt, £35 (www.warehouse.co.uk).
There are floatier silhouettes to be found with co-ordinates. Coast's Dolita floral duo features a feminine cami top and matching ombre pencil skirt. Wear as an alternative wedding guest ensemble if you want to subtly break the norm. Dolita Cami, £35; Dolita Skirt, £55; both available February (www.coast-stores.com).
If you're suffering from winter jumper fatigue, reinvent your knits. Love Label's skirt and sweater twin set combines brights and prints. If you're dubious about the cropped length, wear the skirt high to avoid flashes of flesh. Love Label Knitted Crop Jumper, £22; Print Knitted Midi Skirt, £25 (www.very.co.uk).
Get the look
Kelly Brook demonstrates the timeless appeal of the LBD - that's 'Lace Black Dress'. Get a similar version with F&F at Tesco's Lace Tunic, £20 (www.clothingattesco.com).
Buy it now
Bag yourself some Vivienne Westwood. The British designer has teamed up with the Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI) to design an ethical Africa collection of arm candy. Handmade in Nairobi, the bags are created using recycled canvas, reused roadside banners and unused leather off-cuts. Totes, rucksacks and clutches are available now, priced from £58 (www.asos.com).
:: Closet spring clean
Guilty of clothes hoarding? Last year, British women left an average of £404 worth of garments gathering dust in their wardrobes. The majority, 80%, confessed they have clothing they haven't worn in the past year and 35% forget about items tucked away in their wardrobes, according to the VestiaireCollective.com survey. Based on redundant garments, the luxury resale site estimates there could be up to £10billion worth of clothes lying unloved and unworn in British women's wardrobes.
:: Dress indecision
Finding 'the' perfect frock doesn't come easy. The average UK woman 'dress stalks' five times before she buys. Before the till rings, the process involves two online 'stalks', two trying-on sessions and one 'almost' purchase, according to Coast. In contrast, the study revealed that the average man commits to buying a suit on the same day as discovering the outfit.
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