How the twinset and pearls got an elegant modern makeover

How the twinset and pearls got an elegant modern makeover

  • Kate Middleton wowed in a ribbed sweater and matching midi skirt in oatmeal
  • READ MORE:  Bye beige, now cherry pick red

Here is the Princess of Wales out and about in Nottingham looking just the part in a matching knitted two-piece. But not just any old two-piece.

We’ve seen Kate in plenty of trouser suits lately, but this outfit — a fitted and sleek ribbed sweater and matching midi skirt from French label Sezane in luxurious oatmeal, worn with no accessories other than a pair of Simone Rocha pearl drop earrings — is surprisingly her most fashion-conscious look in a while. 

It’s the new twinset (and pearls), ladylike elegance rebooted for 2023.

The look is gaining traction — and is one that you don’t have to be rich or royal to pull off. 

This particular co-ord, costing £245 for both pieces, sold out instantly. For if we’ve seen one significant shift in fashion this year, it is that we’re dressing in a more classic and polished way than we have been for a long time.

Cream of the crop: Kate in Sezane

Top tweed: Lily James’s modern take on the look

Poised in pink: Alexa Chung wears Chanel

The mood has shifted away from puffas and parkas to smart coats worn long and belted with polished boots. 

Instead of leggings and track pants, the look is tailored wide-leg trousers with a crisp shirt and a blazer. Instead of sloppy, scuffed jeans, we’re wearing a smart, starched pair with tweedy cropped jackets.

The breezy midi is banished for now. The idea is to look put-together, glossy and grown-up — the opposite of floaty and boho pretty.

Flat pumps, pleated skirts and cardigans are back, thanks to Miu Miu’s autumn/winter collection. Max Mara’s buttery caramel coats, too, are having a renaissance. Chanel-style tweed jackets with gilt buttons are everywhere.

And single pearls — dangling from gold hoop earrings or on a chunky chain necklace — are the ultimate finishing touch.

Women have discovered there’s nothing quite like the lustre of a single pearl for lighting up your face and making simple, minimalist clothes look warmer and more luxurious. 

Now everyone from & Other Stories to Monica Vinader has them in several sizes (if in doubt, go big).

The new twinset and pearls look is picking up where Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn left off. 

Classic with a twist: Margot Robbie in Vivienne Westwood

Butterscotch beauty: Lily Allen wears Edeline Lee

French style: Lily Collins chooses custom Celine

Luxe neutrals: Neelam Gill sports tweed

That was the moment when the jumper and matching cardigan, almost standard uniform for women in white-collar work in the 1950s and early 1960s, became chic and glamorous —something you might wear with dark glasses and strings of pearls while driving a convertible car in the South of France.

The 2023 version features a matching skirt and top and the pearls are individual — big, bold, possibly baroque.

An actual twinset feels too retro and tidy; this new take is one that Coco Chanel herself would have approved of — even though she’d probably have preferred it in navy or black.

Singer Lily Allen was spotted over the summer in a twinset the colour of butterscotch Angel Delight, while actress Lily James went for a spotted grey duo and Alexa Chung opted for bold Barbie pink. 

Amanda Holden in a logo co-ord in chocolate brown by American designer Michael Kors


L-R: Art Deco inspired, £95,; Amethyst detail, £110, carousel jewels. com; and 14k gold, £399,

L-R: Floral, £48,; Crochet detail, £135,; and Classic, £60,

Magpie’s dream, £175, (pair) and Tri-stud, £70, (pair)

Typically wearing clothes in pale colours and expensive fabrics such as cashmere is shorthand for ‘I don’t have to worry about the cleaning bills or go out much in the dirty world’. 

So, although Kate’s twinset is mid-market in price (the gold and pearl earrings cost almost as much at £225), the off-white colour puts it in the stealth-wealth bracket because of its impracticality (and because you require a personal trainer and five-star underwear to carry off something this light and clingy). 

If you’re thinking of following Kate’s lead, but are unsure whether you can foot the dry cleaning bills then the answer is simply double up with co-ords in brown, rust or pearly grey.

You’ll look like a princess in no time.

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