Fashion that makes it to the top of the fashion charts is not my favorite. The omelette gowns, nor the maternity negligees. The fashion moments that make me hot under the collar are the small print. The blink-and-you’d-miss-it changes in the fashion weather, when the style winds shift direction, and something suddenly looks chic.
For example, I was struck by the first time I saw someone tie their trenchcoat’s belt instead of threading it through its buckle. This was how I realized that a trench could look more Paris Vogue than French policemen. Or when I clocked that by shoulder-robing your coat, rather than putting your arms into the sleeves, you could instantly elevate your entrance to any social situation to quite extraordinarily dramatic effect – a bit like the free-styling-trick version of arriving in a private jet. Or when Phoebe Philo at Celine did the hair-tucked-inside-the-polo neck thing. Or when it was finally realized that everyone had stopped wearing invisible trainer socks with trainers and began wearing thick white sport socks (I believe this happened around two years ago, but I only recently noticed).
This is my favorite fashion style. How to fold your trouser sleeves in each season? Do you want to button your shirt up or take off two buttons? To tie your shirt up or loosen it? You can either carry your handbag across the body by tucking it under your arm or hooking the strap over your elbow. This is how I live. This is where the real meat is. This is the place to get your hands dirty (or not depending on the season).
This fashion style was lost for a while. Fashion split in two after the peak of the pandemic. There was the anti-fashion, anything-with-a-fleece-lining crew, and the roaring 20s brigade. It was clear that you had to choose between dressing down or eating feathers and frills after Lent.
The truth is that none of us can choose between going back to our old lives or moving forward in a new, more Zen way of living. All of us have to continue living in the new normal. This is good news from a fashion perspective, as this is where the real story is. Let’s take an ordinary, one-inch thick plain leather belt and wear it with slightly larger trousers, white shirt, and cat’s eyes sunglasses, just like the influencers. Let’s try a knee-high boot with a skirt below the knee. This combination will be very popular come autumn. If you don’t have one, consider wearing a chunky loafer. You might try a shorter skirt and a longer blazer to experiment with suit-adjacent tailoring.
Fashion doesn’t need to be headline-making. The best fashion doesn’t look like fashion at all. It is just modern clothes. No drama, no jeopardy, no plot twists. Fashion for a world where everything is easy. This sounds like something I should have.