This colour-blocking combo is top of fashion’s Premier League
You say West Ham; I say Milan streetstyle. You say Aston Villa; I say fashion influencer. You say Burnley… yup, you get the picture. It’s the one painted in claret and blue.
Actually, it’s burgundy and blue, if you don’t mind. Or eggplant and denim, if we’re going full New York fashion week. Whatever you call it, the point is that, of all the modish combinations that have had their moment in the sun since colour blocking first became A Thing, burgundy and blue is the one that has stuck. Every fashion season, a new duo gets thrown up – I am pretty sure I wrote a column in praise of pink with orange at one point. Sorry about that, dudes. Most of them stay on the fashion page, without making the transition to real life. Burgundy with blue, however, gets seen and photographed at fashion week, every season without fail, because it works.
Burgundy with blue is unexpected enough to look interesting, but subtle enough not to look ridiculous. Both are pretty colours that are, nonetheless, more utility than party. They are the colours of school uniforms, of silk ties, of sky-blue, button-down shirts and polished oxblood brogues.
This top is an old one of mine by Roland Mouret. For years I wore it either with black trousers and then, more recently, with a pleated below-the-knee black skirt. And then one day it was so cold that even the 14 layers of St Tropez Gradual Tan, on which I rely for leg and arm insulation in the winter, weren’t cutting it. I tried it over a white shirt, which I expected to work but in fact made me look like a trainee sommelier circa 1985. But then I tried it over a pale blue shirt. Bullseye. With navy trousers it made an entire new outfit – shopped for nothing from my own wardrobe, which is my absolute favourite way to shop. (Today, I’m wearing my top with a skirt that’s on sale in Zara now.)
Fashion tends to gloss over the humdrum detail when it comes to colour blocking. Like, what shoes? What bag? What coat? Should they all be burgundy and blue? Can they be black? I mean, this stuff matters, right? And the answer is: no to all-burgundy-and-blue, but also no to all black. A deep blue, like the shoes I’m wearing here, is good. Or a dark charcoal grey. Or white, or cream. (How many times do I have to tell you to buy a pair of white ankle boots?) That’s the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Now burgundy and blue makes perfect sense.