Finally, A Trend I Can Get On Board With: Statement Sweatshirts

Every once in a while, a fashion trend comes along that doesn’t make me shake with hollow, humourless laughter (I’m not looking at you metallic flatforms) and for S/S13 we’ve been given: Statement Sweatshirts. Thank God for that.
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Every once in a while, a fashion trend comes along that doesn’t make me shake with hollow, humourless laughter (I’m not looking at you metallic flatforms) and for S/S13 we’ve been given: Statement Sweatshirts. Thank God for that.

Essentially, I only take up a trend if a) I already own something that resembles it so I don’t have to spend any money and b) it actually suits me. [Incidentally, don’t you just hate it when a particular season holds nothing you want to wear? Like, the shops are full of mini-skirts and you only wear knee-length, or trousers when you prefer dresses. It’s enough to make me learn to make my own. Ha ha ha just kidding.

Anyway, I digress. Statement sweatshirts as a trend originated at Kenzo early last year when the new creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim reprised label founder Kenzo Takada’s tiger motif in embroidery on a series of sweatshirts which, as they were both youthful and sophisticated, immediately became THE item to own.

Suddenly a sweatshirt (and it has to be a sweatshirt, in proper thick jersey cotton, not a knit) felt like the coolest accompaniment to everything from pencil skirts to cocktail trousers. It’s that age-old fashion formula of ‘high/low’ where you balance out glamour with something grungy, or luxe up a utilitarian piece with something decadent and embellished.

Think every street style star/fashion blogger you’ve ever seen, combining neon heels with boyfriend jeans, or a beanie with a cocktail dress. The contrast makes things interesting. I already own a couple of what I’m now calling ‘statement sweatshirts’ and here’s how I would style them to make them feel more contemporary.

This one’s by Rachel Cattle – I think she’s a graphic novelist now, but she used to do these scribbly, whimsical drawings based on people she saw in the street and put them on vests, bags and sweatshirts. I got this one at the famous Mangle Sale in Bethnal Green, where up and coming designers like Tatty Devine would sell past season work and pieces that never made it to production at knockdown prices alongside other crafters and zine-makers. It was amazing.

Rachel Cattle sweatshirt, Uniqlo men's shirt, Boden trousers, Primark shoes (green tights from God-knows-where)

Rachel Cattle sweatshirt, Uniqlo men's shirt, Boden trousers, Primark shoes (green tights from God-knows-where)

I found a Donald Duck sweatshirt in the attic at home about 10 years ago – I have no idea where it came from but it’s served me well over the years and I’m happy to give it yet another lease of life. The whole point of this trend is that it’s FUN, over the top and playful, so I would wear it with a pearl collar to add texture and a bit of unexpected glamour to the jersey material.

And here are some of my favourite statement sweatshirt picks from the high street (plus a designer one because, well, why not?) I think the Zara one is my favourite because it's so subtle and understated - you could wear it with a brightly coloured silk shirt underneath and look uberchic.

APC leopard print raglan sweatshirt, 100euros, apc.fr

APC leopard print raglan sweatshirt, 100euros, apc.fr

ASOS Curve Sweatshirt in Cheetah print, £28, asos.com

ASOS Curve Sweatshirt in Cheetah print, £28, asos.com

ASOS Sweatshirt with Woven Front Tiger Print with Studs, £28, asos.com

ASOS Sweatshirt with Woven Front Tiger Print with Studs, £28, asos.com

Kenzo printed sweatshirt, £213.70, farfetch.com

Kenzo printed sweatshirt, £213.70, farfetch.com

Topshop Comic Pop Art Sweat, £30, topshop.com

Topshop Comic Pop Art Sweat, £30, topshop.com

Zara Embroidered Sweatshirt, £59.99, zara.com

Zara Embroidered Sweatshirt, £59.99, zara.com