After 40 years in fashion, I’m having a style crisis

Maggie AldersonAndrew Crowley

After 40 years of working in the media side of the fashion world, I’m having a style crisis. I wore the same clothes for three years, trapped in a micro wardrobe of jeans and sweatshirts with “funny” slogans, with chunky boots, branching out in the summer into an equally narrow range of brightly colored flounced dresses and Birkenstocks.

I’m bored stiff with it.

Two things put me in this fashion cage. First was lockdown, when there was no point in dressing in anything other than the most utilitarian threads and we were all too freaked out to make any effort, anyway.

Then there was the weight I gained during lockdown, which meant there were a finite number of things in my wardrobe that I could force my burgeoning fat into.

And those voluminous summer dresses didn’t help, offering an illusion of elegance, without any pinching reminiscent of the ever-expanding circumference of what used to be my waist. There’s a reason they’re called “buffet dresses.”

Now, I’m released from both of those prisons. Lockdown is a strange memory, and I’ve lost over 20 pounds on Dr. Mosley’s brilliant Fast 800 Keto Diet (so easy to do, I can’t recommend it highly enough).

So yahoo, now I can fit into all the clothes I wore three years ago – only problem is I don’t want to wear any of them.

The past is a foreign country and all, and after March 2020 it was foreigner than most, with the world and all of us in it completely reset to who we were before we ever heard the word Covid.

The problem is, I just don’t know what to wear in this brave new world we’re in now. And with life joyfully wide open again, I need to dress – and well – for business lunches, proper face-to-face meetings, socializing with friends and more special outings.

It’s hard when I don’t even know what to wear for my normal working day, writing in the studio I rent to leave the house – only what I fiercely don’t want to wear. I wonder if I could heat the house by putting those plump jeans and sweatshirts on the wood stove.

Searching for inspiration, I found myself scrolling through “over 60 fashion influencers” on Instagram, only to find a digital sea of ​​women even skinnier than my freshly trimmed me, but with endless legs.

It was annoying and I didn’t even relate much to what they were wearing.

My next search was simpler: “trends in fashion,” but the results almost had me running back to boho jeans. After investigating “Regencycore” – Bridgerton-inspired clothing – and “Gorpcore” (as if he was about to hit a mountain trail with pockets full of Good Old Raisins and Peanuts, who knows?), I felt not at all inspired .

And the 80s, 90s and Y2K style – strong current trends – don’t like it either. Nothing reminds you more of the harsh passage of time than fitting back into the looks you wore in your youth. The portrait in the attic in an oversized jacket.

No wonder most people stop trying to be “hip” at age 35, according to a new survey from online personal shopping portal Stitch Fix. It also reveals that more than a third of us feel “overwhelmed” by trends, which given the very idea of ​​Regencycore, let alone Cottagecore, doesn’t surprise me.

But with my business background, it’s strange for me to be confused by trends. With all those years at the forefront of fashion – telling other people what the trends will be – I’m used to absorbing the ‘feel’ of the moment and instinctively knowing what feels right to wear it, but my post-lockdown brain just isn’t processing it. atmosphere as before.

So, I knew I needed some help – and I was delighted when the person this newspaper suggested giving it to me was the designer Nicola Rose, someone I had many opportunities to observe in those shows in Paris and Milan, where she always wore just the right thing.

So what did Nicola advise me to turn to? As a new staple, instead of my jeans, she suggests the Every Day Every Way dress. A garment with the same integrity and comfort as my (formerly) beloved denim, that you can build on.

The secret to making this work, we decided, was to get a dress like this and subdue it, wearing it constantly, so that it became as easy to put on as your favorite jeans.

The Every Day Every Way dress

The Every Day Every Way Dress - Andrew Crowley

The Every Day Every Way Dress – Andrew Crowley

Maggie wears: corduroy dress, £270, Cefinn; Turtleneck Top, £19.90, Uniqlo; Shoes, Maggie’s

This corduroy dress (above) from Cefinn is the perfect Every Day Every Way dress I can imagine for my new work uniform. It’s so comfortable, but with the high waist and fitted bodice, it has a bit of structure, not a great tent. The moment I put it on, I felt like I already owned it — and it has pockets, which is a deal breaker for me.

The Every Day Every Way Dress - Andrew Crowley

The Every Day Every Way Dress – Andrew Crowley

I love the swishy material of this gorgeous dress (below), also by Cefinn, which has a high waist and structured bodice, so it’s nothing like the sacks I wore last summer. It falls so elegantly and it was so nice to walk into it. I would never have picked this jacket out at a store but the cut length looked great over the longest dress. I would wear this look anywhere. And yes, pockets.

The Every Day Every Way 2 Dress - Andrew Crowley

The Every Day Every Way 2 Dress – Andrew Crowley

Maggie wears: Silk Dress, £390, Cefinn; Leather jacket, £459, LK Bennett; Leather Boots, £195, Whistles

The “Wow Dress”

The second kind of dress that suggested me to consider is a Wow dress. A really great piece that instantly makes you feel Dressed (ha-ha) so can be worn anywhere elegantly, yet is so comfortable you’d also feel great wearing it with flat boots for daytime.

“It’s about learning how to wear a suit,” Nicola said. “In warm weather, you don’t need a coat, or even a proper jacket, so you can display your dress and add pieces to give it a different look. A gilet, a maxi sweater, a windbreaker, a short jacket…”

The dress below is such a clever mix of classic elegance with modern detailing, in the zip front, black trim and elasticated cuffs – great for pushing them up. There is no chance of the Dinner Dance look, which I particularly fear. And it has pockets, which is fabulous in a dress you could wear to any night out. It was so comfortable that I could imagine wearing it during the day too.

The Wow Dress - Andrew Crowley

The Wow Dress – Andrew Crowley

Maggie wears: Recycled Satin, £295, I + EM; Leather platforms, £329, LK Bennett

The versatile suit

One of Nicola’s other standbys are the Miracle Pants, but even though she tried very hard to convince me, I couldn’t feel comfortable in pants that didn’t have narrow legs. With swimmer’s shoulders and Mick Jagger-esque hips, I just can’t get over the belief that voluminous tresses make me look big all over.

What worked, though, was this denim overalls (below) — and I was thrilled that she found one I felt comfortable in. And trying it on with sturdy boots, then loafers — then a heel — I could see how versatile it would be.

I’ve been looking for a suit for years, which is difficult when you’re six feet tall. Most of them engulf me, groins at knee level. I felt a little masculine in boots, but I loved it with moccasins, which give it a chic touch that’s less obvious than a heel. I’d wear it around town like this, for meetings or lunch.

The Versatile Suit - Andrew Crowley

The Versatile Suit – Andrew Crowley

Maggie wears: denim overalls, £155, Puzzle; Lurex sweater, £180, Cefinn; Faux leather loafers, £59, Charles and keith

The curvy skirt

The latest new style idea for me has been a return to a garment that I feel like I haven’t worn in almost years: the good old skirt. And how much I love this. The swishing sensation around my legs is just wonderful and I don’t know why I’ve neglected the skirt for so long. It’s just as versatile as pants and has a strangely liberating feel.

This satin skirt from Ghost has been amazing from the moment I put it on. The slippery feel of the flirty skirt is so nice to wear, and the sweater will be so cozy, yet glamorous and fun. I’ll be wearing this outfit mostly with flats, but I love how it looks here, in heels, for socializing with friends.

The Curvy Skirt - Andrew Crowley

The Curvy Skirt – Andrew Crowley

Maggie wears: Cashmere jumper, £225, Puzzle; Satin skirt, £69, Ghost; Leather heels, £695, Manolo Blanik

I’ve already ordered this – and the glorious sweater – and hope all the other pieces will still be available next month. It will be a bit of an investment to replenish my depleted wardrobe, but I’m heeding another one of Nicola’s advice: “You have to spend a few quid to get something with wardrobe icon status.”

Looking forward to getting dressed again will be worth it. Buffet dresses need not apply.

Stylist: Nicola Rose Photographer: Andrew Crowley Makeup & Hair: Wendy Sadd @ Joy Goodman Using (hair) Bumble & Bumble and (makeup) Bobbi Brown products Assistant Stylist: Alice Dench

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