How to wear high-shine patent

Jenessa Williams 23 October 2017

Many shy away from this attention-grabbing fabric, but there are easy ways to wear it with aplomb.

Where did the trend come from?

As with most of the trends seen on the AW17 catwalk, patent is a straight throwback to the OTT fun of the 1980s. In conjunction with the “all that glitters” sequin trend, it’s hugely popular for autumn seasons because it allows a high-shine that pays homage to the festive season, not to mention the practicality of sporting such an insulating fabric as the weather cools down.

While patent and vinyl fabrics can be at risk of falling into the “cheap and tacky” bracket, there are a multitude of ways to wear this material in a chic and sophisticated manner, providing a flattering texture next to this seasons knits and woolens. Find out the secret below…

Read more: 5 Stylish ways to wear animal print


What should I be looking out for?

From left to right: Topshop Raincoat, Anthropologie Tote Bag, Anthropologie Mary Janes, Marks & Spencer Brogues, Warehouse Black Leather Skirt, Oliver Bonas Travelcard Holder, Elvi Trench Coat, Christopher Kane Shearling Coat, ASOS Colourblock Wallet, Topshop Zip Skirt, Simply Be Leggings, Bon Prix Loafers, Ted Baker Purse

Vinyl pieces in traditionally ladylike shapes. A vinyl miniskirt can be a little fancy dress, but classic shapes such as A-line, trench coat or pencil skirts work very well in this subversive material. Dark colours are the best place to start— look for pieces with a subtle patent finish that only reveals itself in the right lights.

Of course, there are some patent accessories that never go out of style. Patent has been used for years on shoes and handbags and can be easily adopted on a budget for those who are a little nervous about wearing garments in this fabrication.

Read more: Reasons to shop: Capsule wardrobes


How should I style this trend?

Left outfit: H&M Jumper, River Island Skirt, Office Heels, Jane Norman Coat, ASOS Bag. Right outfit: Grey Plains Jumpsuit, Gucci Belt, Gucci Bag, Zara Boots

The high-shine trend is one where less truly is more—nobody wants to look like a sticky dancefloor!

Pick one or two statement vinyl pieces and build your outfit around them— thick knits and oversized outerwear works well to balance out the tighter fit of a patent piece. Think carefully about colour palettes too—tonal looks can feminize the tough fabric or opt for navys and blacks for a corporate finish.

Patent and vinyl can be quite warm to wear, so consider your layers to avoid overheating or chafing— soft denier tights underneath or a light layer of talcum powder before shimmying into those vinyl trousers can work wonders.

Read more: Ways to wear: Fruit print


Where can I get this look?

Left outfit: Topshop Beret, Me & Em Top, Elvi Skirt, Acne Boots. Right outfit: Topshop Coat, Mango Jumper, Harvey Nicholls Trousers, Next Boots

The high street is awash with patent styles, but beware—to get a more sophisticated finish, you may want to look a little more high-end for high-shine leathers rather than unlined vinyls. Stores such as Reiss and Anthropologie offer vinyl that is work wear or office appropriate, whereas Topshop and Miss Selfridge have great options for parties or weekend wear. 


Top photo: Annabelle Confuron

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