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Fleeces can be furry chic! Thought they were the most sensible thing in your wardrobe?


One of the things I find most amusing about fashion is its mood swings. Since Coco Chanel realised how practical it would be to make suits in soft, sporty jersey instead of stiff wool, designers have revelled in subverting the status quo.

For evidence, take this season’s biggest trend, the Fashionable Fleece. And when you’ve stopped laughing, consider the positives. Just in time for rainy days, here comes a way to feel chic while keeping cosy. 

If you’re a dog-walker or country-dweller, your wardrobe is no doubt full of unsexy items you pull on for pragmatic reasons. But you may not have considered wearing them to work and social events.

Jess Wood shared advice for embracing this season's fashionable fleece trend. Pictured: Gilet, £89, plumo.com; jumper, £145, reiss.com; trousers, £39.99, reserved.com; loafers, £245, russellandbromley.co.uk

Jess Wood shared advice for embracing this season’s fashionable fleece trend. Pictured: Gilet, £89, plumo.com; jumper, £145, reiss.com; trousers, £39.99, reserved.com; loafers, £245, russellandbromley.co.uk

Fleece, £38, next.co.uk; jumper, £19.99, reserved. com; skirt, £175, meand em.com; boots, £110, boden.co.uk

Fleece, £69.97, gap. co.uk; top, £19.99,
reserved.com; skirt, £150, me andem.com;
boots, £350, reiss.com

Pictured left: Fleece, £38, next.co.uk; jumper, £19.99, reserved. com; skirt, £175, meandem.com; boots, £110, boden.co.uk. Pictured right: Fleece, £69.97, gap.co.uk; top, £19.99, reserved.com; skirt, £150, meandem.com; boots, £350, reiss.com

I applaud Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia for opening our eyes to the possibilities of ugly comfort gear. 

Ever since he sent models down the catwalk in layer upon layer of anoraks, he and the likes of Gucci and Off-White have been doing a booming trade in towelling socks and rainproof outerwear.

Even serious hiking brand The North Face has become cool by association. Once upon a time, it brought back memories of the unstylish dads of my schooldays. We’d all cringe at the sight of them at parents’ evenings in their fleeces and walking boots. 

But the brand now has the biggest fashion houses queueing up to collaborate. A collection with cult urban label Supreme is now on sale, and another with Gucci is about to launch. Which means the fleece really has arrived.

Fleece, £59, cosstores. com; top, £95, meandem.com; trousers, £24.99, reserved.com; shoes, £80, lacoste.com; bag, £80, tkmaxx.com

Fleece, £59, cosstores. com; top, £95, meandem.com; trousers, £24.99, reserved.com; shoes, £80, lacoste.com; bag, £80, tkmaxx.com

Fleece, £39.99, hm.com; dress, £245, Cefinn at fenwick.com; roll-neck, £17.50, marksandspencer. com; boots, £110, boden.co.uk

Fleece, £39.99, hm.com; dress, £245, Cefinn at fenwick.com; roll-neck, £17.50, marksandspencer. com; boots, £110, boden.co.uk

Fleece, £59, arket.com; turtleneck, £19.95, benetton.com; jeans, £85, boden.co.uk; loafers, £245, russelland bromley.co.uk

Fleece, £59, arket.com; turtleneck, £19.95, benetton.com; jeans, £85, boden.co.uk; loafers, £245, russelland bromley.co.uk

But how do you pull it off if you’re not a model? Wear it with contrasting pieces. A smart midi-skirt, such as these styles from Me + Em (second and third from left), adds elegance, as does ladylike footwear. 

I love these navy Boden boots teamed with Cefinn’s floral dress (third from right). Leather loafers, like these from Russell & Bromley (far right), sharpen up trousers, and give the look a retro edge.

If you’re brave enough, go Full Fleece with a gilet over a roll-neck and Reserved slacks (far left). I’m not sure I can pull off the ‘sensible 1970s mum’ look, but I’ll do a prettier version with this maroon Cos number worn over a pie-crust top (centre). Now, bring on the icy winds . . .

Coat, £160, thenorthface.co.uk; top, £17.50, marksandspencer.com; suit, £450, meandem.com; loafers, £245, russellandbromley.co.uk

Coat, £160, thenorthface.co.uk; top, £17.50, marksandspencer.com; suit, £450, meandem.com; loafers, £245, russellandbromley.co.uk

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