Fashion trends are relentless, and often inexplicable, so there is great comfort as one gets older in simply saying: “Hmm. That look is ugly. I’m going to sit this one out.”
The oft-repeated adage that ‘if you wore it the first time round, you shouldn’t attempt it again’ is not necessarily true, because if something suited you the first time round, you can and should wear variations of that for the rest of your life.
I like oversized V-neck sweaters and straight-legged jeans and flats. I liked them when I was 16 and I like them now.
I managed to avoid acid-wash, flares, skinny legs, hipsters and those odious fringed Robinson Crusoe wide jeans that are all the rage at the moment because at some point I had a moment of self-realisation and said: “Those styles are awful and will make me look fat.”
When I was a fashion magazine editor we breathlessly re-invented ‘What you need to be wearing right now!’ every 15 minutes, but as an individual I remained impervious to trends, maybe just updating my usual look with a new shoe or handbag.
A lot of old-school fashion editors tend to wear the same thing year in year out – Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour in her floral skirts, little sweaters, a statement necklace and kitten-heeled Manolos; former Vogue creative director Grace Coddington in navy or black pants, sweaters and duster coat; French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt in her skinny jeans and tailored blazers.
It’s the influencers and bloggers who really embrace the idea of dressing up in whatever is ‘in’ like tiny sunglasses, or bike shorts or midriff sundresses and pink glitter moonboots, bless them, but it doesn’t mean we need to join in.
Most of the more fashionable women I know have found their look, and basically wear a variation of that. One loves crisp white shirts with long black skirts and silver jewellery. Another looks great in flared, high-waisted jeans with a skinny black jacket, while another wears bohemian to perfection because she has masses of thick curly hair.
Never will you see them adopt an entirely different look – they merely update with a piece of jewellery or a new shoe.
Defining your style and then dressing to flatter to your body shape are the two keys to always looking great.
If a trend doesn’t suit your body type, or you find it challenging, then skip it. A ’60s-style shift is not kind to those of us with bigger busts; jumpsuits were designed for a Farah Fawcett figure; button-through shirt-dresses are tricky if you don’t have a waist.
I often hear women, when they try something on and it doesn’t fit say, say almost ashamedly, “Oh I couldn’t fit into it” and blame their bodies.
Whereas men will claim it doesn’t fit and blame the item. That’s a much healthier philosophy.
Clothes should be working hard for you, not the other way around.
Roughly cropped wide jeans and weird pointy-toed ankle boots? You’re fired.