Game, set and matchy matchy: JO ELVIN explains coordinated separates — the foolproof way to look pulled together

  • Jo Elvin reveals how to make coordinated separates work
  • Says a favourite co-ord in her wardrobe is a wool polo-shirt and cropped trousers
  • Adds that whatever co-ord you go for you will look very put together 

Sometimes when dressing in the morning, I’ll put on a top and trousers, look in the mirror and think: ‘Do these two things go together?’

I suffer from occasional ‘fashion blindness’ because my head is too full of stuff. No woman can make flawless style decisions every single day.

In the face of such sartorial crises, I undress and reach for an outfit that’s done all the thinking for me: the mighty co-ord — where the top and bottom are matchy-matchy in colour and a fancy print.

No fuss. No stress. Those two things do go together. More pressing affairs can now be addressed.

A favourite co-ord in my wardrobe is a wool polo-shirt and cropped, flared trousers in the same black and green diamond-print. In it, I look like I’m off to play golf in Florida in 1974. But in a good way. Indeed, I always think of the co-ord’s first heyday as the 1970s. Margo from The Good Life comes to mind. I reckon she’d have added a natty headscarf to hers.

There’s nothing more useful than the co-ord for its genius blend of comfort and glamour. The pink and white, loose-flowing number from Essentiel Antwerp? A perfect summer party or wedding option: pretty and dressed-up, but in a floaty, breathable fabric that will keep you the coolest guest on any hot summer night. I bet co-ord super fan, Trinny Woodall, would team it with platform trainers, but it’ll also look fabulous with a strappy heel.

I know some of these bold prints are daunting and may get you stared at on the train. If that makes you tense, there are more subtle options. I’ve seen a lovely cotton and lace trouser co-ord in Zara in periwinkle — striking, yes, but in no way crackers. There’s no reason why a print phobia should deprive you of this particular brand of no-brainer dressing.

But whatever option you go for, I guarantee this: in a co-ord, it won’t matter how inwardly crumpled you might be feeling on any given day, you’ll always look immaculately put together.

That’s a rare kindness from the fashion gods, so I’ll take it.

Shirt, £15.99, trousers, £12.99,; sandals, £179,; chain bracelet, £60,; pearl ring, £28.50, (left). op, £150, trousers, £250,; sandals, £49.99,; earrings, £37.50, (right)

Crop top, £185, trousers, £245, valleandvik. com; bracelet as before; heels, £40, (left). Right: Oversized shirt, £160, trousers, £180, essentiel-antwerp. com; bracelet, as before; pearl ring, as before (left)

Left: Linen shirt, £70, trousers, £45,; sandals, £179, lkbennett. com; earrings, as before. Right: Long-sleeve top, £84, trousers, £72,; sandals, £25.99,; earrings, as before

Top and trouser set, £275,; sandals, £49.99, zara. com; bracelet and earrings as before

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