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Styles clash!; Fashion.

Byline: Suzie Meyer

WAR And Peace has broken out on the high street - with summer fashion apparently in a state of conflict.

Women are mixing the hippy look - tiered peasant skirts and the ubiquitous gypsy top with military styles - combats and khakis.

But before you win the fashion war it is best to know the rules of combat.

Eleanor Strauss, fashion editor of Company magazine, has been watching the catwalks and the high street for the hardest-hitting looks this summer.

The most prominent styles have been influenced by peaceful hippy chic, which she describes as loose and free-flowing.

"It is worn vintage clothes based on the folky look, with lots of tassles, and a mix-match of dusty colours, layers and chiffons."

And it is a look which we should all be familiar with.

"Everybody injects it somewhere into their outfit. Everybody has a white gypsy skirt, a tassle belt, a tassle bag or an off-the-shoulder top."

George at Asda has a white tiered skirt for pounds 16, matching peasant top for pounds 14 and a black off-the-shoulder top for pounds 12. Tassle belts and bags can be found in the Topshop summer sale.

Perhaps the soft hippy look is so popular because it can be worn at anytime, anywhere - all you need is love. Topshop has a black and pink floral print gypsy blouse with smocked waist and angel sleeves for pounds 25, perfect for chilling out with casual Blue Ria jeans for pounds 35. House of Fraser has a flowing designer evening dress by Ronit Zilkha for pounds 110, perfect for going wild.

It is also easy to get the hippy look with just a few accessories. George at Asda has a range to give the squarest outfit a bit of hippy chic, including turquoise bracelets for pounds 2, belts from pounds 7 and thong sandals for pounds 17.

But it hasn't all been peace and love this summer. There has also been a more warlike influence - the military look. Strauss says it is more constricting than the hippy style and more combat than regimental.

"It definitely appeals to the tomboy within, it is a harder, more defined masculine look. Whereas the hippy look is more free-flowing. Earthy colours, used denim, leathers, trousers tucked into knee-high boots and stilettos with three-quarter-length khaki trousers."

The military influence has spawned such secret weapons for the 21st century girl as combats and vest tops, found anywhere on the high street. Topshop has a black vest top for pounds 8 and khaki utility trousers for pounds 35. Failing that, pop down to the local army surplus stores for combat trousers, khaki shirts and cheap vests.

Every season the military look is also updated, this year combats come in a multitude of fabrics and colours. George at Asda has combats with embroidery for pounds 20 and plain pink ones for pounds 18. Warehouse has green silk combats for pounds 45.

It can also be made more feminine by teaming stilettos with cropped combats or wearing your khakis as skirts. George at Asda has a safari skirt for pounds 16 and matching safari jacket for pounds 24. You can even go for a designer military look. House of Fraser has a Jiggy stretch cord jumpsuit for pounds 110 which looks sexy teamed with a Miss Sixty suede link belt for pounds 35.

The hippy and military looks may be hot looks for the summer but that is no excuse to go out looking like a soldier of fortune or 60s love child.

As Strauss warns: "It will look better if you don't over do it and it's not too fashion victimy."

One of the reasons Strauss advises mixing the two styles is to avoid overdoing the hippy or military looks alone.

However, avoid mixing too many patterns. For example the ditsy flower patterns wouldn't look good with a camouflage pattern.

Strauss advises: "You can mix the looks but you have to be very careful.

"If you have military style trousers you could mix them with a peasant top which is a bit looser.

"Mix chiffons or a tassled belt with combats. The new tooled leather bags look good with any outfit.

"A black gypsy skirt with a white combat vest would look simple and chic."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 28, 2002
Words:710
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