ELLE UK editor Farrah Storr best described the month of April in her latest editor’s letter:
“April is the most seductive month. While she lacks the languorous glamour of July and is without the cool, austere beauty that is January’s stock-in-trade, April is something far better altogether: she is a total minx. She is wildly capricious and deeply unknowable – in the way the world’s most interesting individuals often are, always keeping you a micrometre away from anything that resembles true intimacy.”
And what a month she is. Last week in the UK, she had us reaching for our shorts and bikini tops one day, and watching in disbelief as snow fell through our windows the next. In the Netherlands, a friend of mine said she’d never seen all four seasons play out in one sole weekend before. Despite the unpredictability of the month, there’s a sort of comfort in that the tides are changing and the hope that perhaps, something much better is on the horizon if we just persevere through.
In fashion, April is known as the ‘transition’ season, a month that may have us screaming in dismay as we scramble to pull our cable knits back out of the boxes we just stored them away in for another year, but also a season to challenge our wardrobes. It’s a month to get creative, to think outside the box. With this being said, it’s a difficult time to know what to wear and a little help never goes amiss. So here you have my guide to help you figure out what to wear in April.
Simple in theory, but quite the challenge in practice, layering is the age old answer to dressing for unpredictable weather. I have several favourite ways to layer up in style, the first one involving, you guessed it, shackets. You may remember my declaration of love for the shacket in my 10 Staples to Kick-Start a Capsule Wardrobe post. Well, that love hasn’t changed. When deciding what to wear in April, shackets are the perfect way to nail the art of light layering. Wear over fine knits, shirts/blouses, and even camis and tees, for an added layer to keep you covered and warm enough, without the bulk of a winter coat.
Another trend I’m loving recently that takes light layering to the next level is the jumper over your shoulder look. Emanating upper class British lady watching the polo or preppy American school kid vibes, this trend hasn’t always had the best rap. But times are changing, and when better a month to try new things than fashion’s ‘transition’ month? Tied slightly to the side or draped effortlessly over your shoulders, the key to this trend is to wear it as naturally and as confidently as possible. Trust me, it’s a better look than carrying your coat under your arm or tying your jumper around your waist (although I must say I’m quite the advocate of this when wanting to hide the dreaded after-dinner bloat…).
My final key to light layering, is to always size up. Layering is never going to happen if your outerwear is basically a second skin. Size up in your coats/jackets/blazers, whatever it may be, and you’ll be able to build up your underneath layers as much as you need to.
First glimpse of April sunshine got you pulling all your summer dresses out, only to find it snowing an hour later? I feel you but don’t worry, all is not lost. Midi dresses are the answer to your dress dreams in April, allowing you to play with a summer palette and bold prints, but in a safer, more weather-proof way than your traditional summer mini dress or playsuit. Pair with trainers, or even boots, to keep toes covered and legs (relatively) warm, and throw on a denim jacket or shacket of course.
Not quite ready to let go of knitwear just yet? I don’t blame you whatsoever. Switch up your black and neutral knits however for brighter tones to give your knitwear an April approved upgrade as I did here in my post The Perfect Knit for Spring. Think cobalt blues, jewel greens, pastel pinks and zesty oranges – nothing is off the table. You can neutralise the vivid hues with ecru coloured trousers or white jeans but in my eyes, the bolder the better…if we have to be wearing knitwear in spring, we might as well make it bright!
You’ve got your outerwear sorted, you’re layered to the nines, but what about your shoes!? I know how tempting it is to pull out the pretty sandals as soon as April hits (trust me, I’ve been there), but I also know there’s nothing worse than splashed wet feet and sodden sandals from an unexpected downpour (unfortunately also been there). So what’s the alternative? Enter the welly boot.
A trend we never quite saw coming, the welly boot has been everywhere for months now and I can tell you, it’s not going anywhere just yet. Whilst the thought of still wearing boots in spring may be horrifying to you, the current high-street welly boots are actually a lot more lightweight than you think and are great, not only for those pesky April showers, but also for keeping bare legs warm when you insist on wearing a little dress at the first sight of sun. Keep your look fresh and strictly non-wintery by opting for a cream or even pastel tones!