How to Tell Your Frills From Your Furbelows

Following my visit to the Debenhams Autumn Winter ’16 press show last week, I posted an update on Facebook referring to the fabulous frills and furbelows I had seen there. What happened next reduced me to a sweating wreck and a very unsettled night’s sleep was had. What I hadn’t realised – in my excitement about all the gorgeous collections Debenhams was previewing – was that this is an expression not commonly used nowadays. The next time I looked at Facebook, there were numerous people asking “What’s a furbelow?” For about five minutes I thought how silly they all were for not knowing and then gradually the panic set in as I considered that those asking were not your average FB user who doesn’t know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, these were my clever friends who even if they hadn’t heard the word before would at least look it up in a dictionary before asking.

As the FB comments started to become more smutty about what furbelow could possibly mean (now you’re wondering too aren’t you?) I decided I must have spelt it wrongly or even worse, made it up completely. Horrified at the thought of crap spelling, I didn’t even dare check in the dictionary so I went to bed and had nightmares about being chased by giant furbelows instead.

This summer the frills, furbelows and bows are the thing. If you don’t fancy the frill and you don’t believe in the furbelow then go for the bow. Now stick with me – I know nobody beyond the age of eight wants to look like a big birthday present but the 2016 bow isn’t just about the flouncy girly 1980s version, it’s also about the tie-up feature, not dissimilar to those you get on a bikini bottom and they’re rather nice aren’t they? I always think leaving the tie-up bits loose to hang down each hip breaks up said area creating a distraction and I’m all for distractions on the beach. Sometimes it’s simply too hot to faff about with sarongs and besides, I’ve never been a fan of that customised tablecloth look.

For those summer days when you can’t face the discomfort and literal drag that is the strapless bra, then the shoulder tie is an alternative way to show off your shoulders and still be bang on trend. Also, who doesn’t love an adjustable strap? For those who would rather make more of a stealth like contribution to the bow action, there’s the one shoulder feature bow on the Warehouse dress here or the cleverly disguised but ever so flattering ruched bow waist on the ASOS prom dress.

The pussy bow look has been around for a few years now and I have to say I’m surprised it has lasted this long. However a bit of ribbon at the neck is a lovely touch and although it’s not ideal flopped over a large bust, narrower ladies pull it off with aplomb.

Or of course you could restrict it to your accessories – far less chance of a loafer dipping in your cappuccino I suppose. I would happily have all the pieces here in my cupboard if it wasn’t so full of furbelows already. Oh yes sorry – furbelow… it’s a pleated or gathered trim to a skirt or petticoat. And Debenhams will be full of them come September so add it to your vocabulary immediately.

My book ‘SHOPPED’ (September Publishing) is out on 5th July 2016 and is available to buy at Amazon and Foyles.



About aftercarrie

I help people refine their wardrobe to suit their shape, colouring and lifestyle. I am a style consultant, personal shopper and colour analyst working in London. Be the loveliest possible you. My first book SHOPPED was released on 5th July 2016 (September Publishing).
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