Lauren Laverne on fashion: the bleak mid-season

It's spring! By which, of course, I mean IT'S SPRING IN THE SHOPS! Exciting.

But also – perhaps I would go so far as to say often – a little bit cold. For as the new season blooms on the high street, on the actual high street it's still February. This mismatch between the world on either side of the boutique window is a danger zone for the dandy dresser. With new styles to try, an unexpected burst of morning sunshine can kid a girl into believing the time has come to shrug off her winter coat and bare her calves. It hasn't. Not unless puckered, fake-tanned shin flesh and uncontrollable shivering is the look you're going for. (If it is, why not move to the northeast?)

What to wear on days like this? Days when, as Charles Dickens put it: "It is summer in the light and winter in the shade"? Since that's most of the year in most of the UK, it probably behooves us (by which I mean me, to be honest, but please do feel free to join in) to get better at trans-seasonal dressing.

Of course retailers don't help matters. Keen to sell you the dream of a coming season of picnics and beaches, they stock up on high-season items way before they're useful. Resist.

Here's what you really need to brighten up your wardrobe and see you through to the pub-lunch, bare-shoulders, sandal-wearing weather we all hope and pray is coming.

Underpinnings Your nan was right. An extra layer, a slip, makes your new Whistles dress (or your old summer dresses) wearable earlier and stops that annoying skirts-clinging-to-your-tights thing.

Pattern Big news for several seasons now, layering up with a bit of pattern (particularly checks, huge on the spring/summer runways) will freshen up your look without the temperature to match. Try a print skirt in a longer length, or mix stripes and florals.

Boots If you're in the market for a pair, lighten up and you can wear your new boots all summer. As I mentioned last week, metallic shades are big news. How I long for these Acne pistols in silver (pictured left).

Fabric Try winter fabrics, such as tweed, in sunny shades (I love this French Connection jacket, left) and don't forget the knits – now's the time for lighter knits layered over your favourite denim shirt.

So basically, yeah – if it's a bit nippy, put a jumper on. That's what I'm telling you this week. You're welcome, Britain.

Powered by article was written by Lauren Laverne, for The Observer on Sunday 10th February 2013 07.00 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


images: © ascaro41, © Dominic Alves