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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 July 2018

Fashion notes: Get with the geek-chic runway trend

One of the selling points of this mode of dressing is the easily achieved contradictory image it projects – one that looks somewhat tousled, but still quite tidy.
A model walks the runway at the Tommy Hilfiger autumn/winter 2015 fashion show during New York Fashion Week. Photo by Catwalking / Getty Images
A model walks the runway at the Tommy Hilfiger autumn/winter 2015 fashion show during New York Fashion Week. Photo by Catwalking / Getty Images

There was a time a few years ago when putting on a pair of oversized black spectacles – prescription lenses optional – was enough to give you that much-desired trendy geek-chic look. Today, large black frames are commonplace in the world of optical fashion, and their wearers are often neither geeky nor chic. So if this is a trend you’re looking to buy into this season, it will require a little more effort than the mere purchase of a new pair of glasses.

You won’t have to do too much maths, because one of the selling points of this mode of dressing is the easily achieved contradictory image it projects – one that looks somewhat tousled, but still quite tidy. That’s not the only paradox posed by the trend – you’ll have to channel both your grandmother and younger brother in your outfit, and need to give the impression that you have pi memorised to numerous decimal points, along with every iconic design that Galliano ever made.

These very juxtapositions are what I find so enthralling about fashion. There’s no rule book to follow, and you can pick and choose elements that speak to you. For me, that includes wearing socks with sandals and heels, wearing layers upon layers, and sliding into trousers that have rather awkward lengths. These are the quirky components that work together to accomplish the desired nerdy-fashion-girl look.

While it’s a trend that is ­anyone’s game, and becomes more unique with one’s personal touches, there are a few general points to keep in mind. I’ll start with the upper body. Layer up, but make sure that your top half remains sleek and doesn’t look bulky. Make this happen with soft chiffon collared blouses, with sleeveless vests worn on top. Let the collar pop out over the vest, and add a string of pearls or any other necklace to sit ­nicely between the two garments. You could also add a neck scarf or bandanna into the mix. As well, keep your tops tucked in, unless they’re of a stiff, woollen nature. Bulky tummies aren’t attractive, even for geek chic.

Clunky, tasselled loafers are the go-to shoes for this. Check out Clarks – while you may have bought your childhood school shoes from them, the brand’s latest autumn/winter collection includes a lot of on-trend pieces.

Print-wise, plaids, tartans and checkered textiles are your best bets for getting this look right. Break them up with a solid colour, or throw in a second print for some variety. Matching suit ensembles are a great way to take this trend to the next level, whether they’re for fashion week or a corporate meeting. Get inspired by ­Tommy Hilfiger’s equestrian runway get-up, which broke up the plaid pattern with a burgundy polo shirt – speaking of which, I have an uncanny feeling that baggy old polo shirts will soon become fashion essentials, as long as they’re creatively ­accessorised.

For autumn/winter, Gucci nailed the geek-chic look. Picture this: a crinkled silk blouse with old-fashioned men’s-style sleeves – the ones that reach down to your fingers – complete with a pussybow tied high at the neck, cascading over a knit sweater vest, which is also peculiarly menswear-inspired. To top it off, a lizard-green metallic midi skirt. This is what the trend is all about – layering and mixing separates in a way that is fun, unexpected and slightly bizarre. Just make sure it gives off that I-just-put-this-together-in-five-minutes vibe, because if you appear too thought out and contrived, the outfit might just look laugh­able – especially if you never really were a straight-A student.

hlodi@thenational.ae