It's a favourite AW12 trend and one of the strongest, most wearable looks of the season. Rich, beautifully-tailored and a varied blend of feminine and masculine styling, discover the inspiration, icons and looks, as we delve into the story behind Heritage Chic.

The Mood

The decade in which Heritage Chic draws its inspiration is the Forties, which so beautifully represented a feminine way of dressing, but also masculine strength. A time when women were left to run the country as their men were fighting in the war, fashion represented this with a blend of nipped-waist neat suits, sexy pencil skirts and androgynous tailoring. Moving into the Seventies, when heritage made a re-appearance, silk pussy bow blouses, glossy red lipstick and bouncy, blow-dried hair gave heritage a little gloss.

The Icons

Lauren Bacall

That smouldering sideway glance, jaunty beret and houndstooth skirt suit she wore in the film, The Big Sleep, with Humphrey Bogart, was enough to catapault Bacall to icon status. The poster girl for Forties chic with a strong edge, the husky-voiced and flawless-bobbed actress epitomises Heritage Chic.

Katharine Hepburn

Stepping away from the overt sexiness of Bacall, and moving into something far more subtle yet stronger, Katharine Hepburn showed us how to wear men's clothes and look good. Pulling on wide leg pants, slouchy blazers and brogues went against the nipped-waist look of the time, but offered us inspiration of a different kind. The trouser suit stepped up.

Ingrid Bergman

Casablanca actress, Ingrid Bergman, continued this nod to masculine tailoring with ties, shirts and fedora hats, going to prove that girls could do boy's fashion too. This look conjures up a feeling of espionage, intrigue and romance all with a no-nonsense attitude and strength so typical of the time.

The Look

Heritage Chic is all about the silhouette, namely, the waist. Nipped-in shapes ensure we home-in on this most feminine part of the body.

The essence of the trend lies in skirt suits and pencil skirts which sit high on the waist and accentutate the hourglass shape. Experiment with midi-lengths and sexy slits.

On the flip side, Heritage Chic also has a love for volume and oversized shapes. Cocooning outerwear and huge capes which envelope the body are the perfect cover-up to your nipped-in look.

Voluminous, but in a different sense, is a more masculine take on Heritage Chic. Go louche and laidback in a pair of wide leg pants and a rolled sleeve shirt. Layer with chunky knits and push-on a pair of brogues.

Fabric choice is essential to Heritage Chic, from riding-inspired tweeds, herringbones and houndstooth weaves on shapely blazers and cropped jackets, this country feel also works with luxurious silk shirts and rustic knits for a casual, textured feel.

Feeling inspired? Shop Heritage Chic.