February 28, 2014 6:30 pm

Womenswear trends in Milan 

Suits you, ma’am

Blame Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel (or maybe even the eight female ministers that make up half of the cabinet of Matteo Renzi, Italy’s new prime minister), but these days trouser suits and women in power just seem to go together like, well, jackets and pants. Giorgio and Armani. Jil and Sander. You get the point. What makes it modern? A single-breasted, usually one-button cut, with a slightly shrunken or cropped silhouette that does not impede any ability to stride – plus an into-the-light colour scheme. Make no mistake: these are not your husband’s, brother’s or father’s suits any more. This is the Mistress of the Universe look. Watch her rule.

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Those 70s shows

In the endless dance of decade-recycling, things have taken a post-Gatsby turn for the 1970s. Not the 70s of wide ties and bell-bottoms, but the 70s of shearling, maxi-dresses and velvet hippie deluxe; the 70s of purple, brown and orange. It has never looked so good. These are looks that are more louche and more chic – more multi-dimensional too – than that other perennial historical favourite, the 1960s. (The 60s, nevertheless, also made an appearance on the Milanese catwalks thanks to Gucci and Fay). These 1970s looks are more Ali McGraw-meets-Faye Dunaway than Cher; more Henry Kissinger than Jimmy Carter. More interesting, really, than the usual costume cliché.

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Sweater girls

No, not the 1950s collegiate sweater girl – the 21st-century elegant kind. It looks so simple, it barely seems like fashion, but can so many designers have got it wrong? What do we find on taking a second look? A sweater – plain, ideally a bit chunky, crew-necked – paired with a complicated skirt. The art is in seeming effortless. Who doesn’t want to look like the walking embodiment of the high/low argument by tossing on some old thing they found in their closet? Kirk Varnedoe, who put the idea into MoMA, would have understood.

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For an accessories slideshow from Milan, visit ft.com/milanaccessories

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