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Your 2023 Wardrobe

As a personal stylist I spend a lot of time thinking about clothes. Mostly it’s other people’s sartorial challenges that fill my head - I think more about your wardrobe than my own. When I get up at 7am, I throw on leggings and a hoodie to have breakfast and accompany my son to the bus stop (no thinking required) and I don’t get dressed into proper clothes until around midday after I’ve done my online exercise class.

It didn’t used to be like this. Before Covid (BC) when I worked in town three days a week and did the school run twice a day, work outfits were carefully considered the night before. Lockdown, home schooling and online work changed all that and while I wouldn’t say standards slipped, there was a definite shift and I suspect most of us would admit to now owning more leisurewear and comfortable footwear than we once did. I mentioned to my shoe designer friend Becky that many of my clients now say they need a wide fit shoe and we wondered if it was a result of the sensible non-constricting styles we wore on our feet from 2020-22. Becky designs beautiful feminine footwear for a much loved British heritage brand that couldn’t be further from the pjs and slippers aesthetic - this must be a conundrum that plays on her mind too. Have our feet spread? Or has our pain threshold lowered?

Pulled together with a belt and heels
Pulled together with a belt

So where does that leave our overstuffed wardrobes now? Well, I think most of us who juggle work, family and the other stuff we squeeze into the in-between bits (a recent highlight was scrubbing chewing gum out of the bum of new school trousers), have found we’re buying less. Perhaps all that climbing up/bouncing off the walls we did during the “Stay Home” months made us realise less is more for a cleaner, less cluttered life in general. We’re making more considered choices thanks not just to the cost of living crisis but also concern for our planet.

I’m hearing from my clients that an outfit for a special occasion should have the wow factor, be something a bit different. In the summer, floral dresses with trainers or a tailored shorts and shirt combo have become the go-to for the day to day because they’re so easy to throw on, it stands to reason that we would want to create an elevated look for when we finally get to leave the house, one that is totally unrelated to those four safe walls we spend so much time in.

It’s an exciting time to get dressed (I would say that) but let’s look at the evidence:

  1. Despite the economic uncertainty, hemlines are all over the place so whichever your preferred length, there is something out there for you.

  2. Jumpsuits have become a contemporary classic, get the tailoring right and they’re a bona fide alternative to a dress, the fear of resembling a toddler or prison inmate long gone.

  3. Statement footwear is once more a thing - whether a platform trainer or a vertiginous heel floats your boat, your feet can do the talking this summer.

  4. Flares are back! And so are bootcuts… oh and barrel legs too. In fact denim is now so inclusive, you’ve got an excuse to have ten pairs.

  5. Any colour is the new black. We’re craving shades that make us look perkier, feel happier and walk taller. If you’ve had your colours analysed you’re ahead of the game.

Clothes should be fun and for a while there they were just a variation on the pyjama theme, a necessary evil. Well, 2023 marks a new dawn, the Third Carolean era, a time to pull out your glad rags whether there’s an occasion or not. Wear the dress, add another accessory, clash your colours.

This year, the rules are there are no rules.


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