Trend Trial | Co-ordinated separates (co-ords)

Co-ords: co-ordinating separates

Co-ordinated separates – or “matching sets”, as your granny might have called them – are not a new thing. Far from it, in fact.

At a time when the “matchy-matchy” look has been out of fashion forever, and very much looked down upon by the “edgier” dressers out there, the idea of intentionally wearing two items of clothing that are designed to match perfectly seems almost novel. We’re so used to hearing fashionistas extole the virtues of the “unexpected” while sneering at anything too predicable, that the popularity of co-ordinating separates (“co-ords”, if you will) has taken us slightly by surprise. Not that we’re complaining, of course: we’ve always been not-so-secret fans of the idea of matching items, and buying items designed to co-ordinate has a practical purpose, too. Tale the skirts and tops in our image, for instance: not only can you wear each pair of items together (in which case they’ll look pretty much like a dress), you can also wear each item with other pieces, thus allowing you to create multiple outfits out the same two items – much more versatile than an ACTUAL dress would be.

The current trend for co-ords encompasses just about everything. While we’ve focused here on skirts with matching tops, we’re also seeing a lot of trouser + top or trouser + jacket combinations, too. The true fashionista will wear the two items togther, sometimes with slightly alarming consequences: many of the these co-ord poeces make use of very bold or busy patterns, which we think look better in smaller doses. We submit the following into evidence:

co-ords from Zara

[Exhibit A and Exhibit B: Both Zara]

It’s a whole lot of look.  If you stick to smaller /more subtle prints, however, it’s a fairly easy look to pull off, and, as we said above, the mix-n-match aspect of it is pretty appealing.

What do you think of the trend for co-ords? Crime of fashion in the making, or something you’ve been doing all along, fashionable or not?

In the image (clockwise from left):  Warehouse skirt & top // Dorothy Perkins top & skirt // Zara top & skirt // Topshop skirt &  top



  • April 16, 2014


    Well, it makes it easier to choose in the morning! No agonizing about what will work with what. Also, with the right combination, it can allow accessories to shine. On the down side I notice in the last months (at least here in the US) there is a BIG trend for Denim on Denim. Now I know this is a Fashion Police “unfavorite” but my guess is that it’s on the way, like it or not. I am not a fan of it myself. It always reminds me of a day labor job and I don’t find it flattering on anyone. It is one thing to look dressed down but quite another to look like you just came home from digging trenches.

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  • April 17, 2014

    Very Veronique

    I really like the idea of this* and I also like that it’s a bit retro. I really like the stripe pieces and the checked ones (and think they could look quite nice if mixed and matched together).

    *That said, I like when it’s a skirt top combo, the pants top combo not so much. If it was shorts then OK but the pants, I don’t know, it just seems like too much.

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  • April 23, 2014


    Whislt I do like the matchy sets of tops [the cropped ones are my personal choice, but the regular tops might give it the impression of it being a dress] and skirts, anything beside it make me immediately think of pajamas when worn together. Just no.

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