Wednesday, 6 November 2013


Isabel Marant, the godmother of boring-but-cool

Boring clothes are having a moment. Suddenly we can't get enough of grey sweatshirts, cashmere joggers, ever so slightly battered converse. Blame it on bloggers. Blame the internet which has enabled us to see how fashion editors really dress - as opposed to how they tell us to dress - and rebel against the enforced turning of the trends, when it suits us. Blame Isabel Marant (the doyenne of comfy, useful, boyish and yet somehow strangely feminine). There's a reason why Marant's range for H&M (online at one minute past midnight Thursday 14th November and probably sold out before the doors open in selected stores at 9am) is the most sought after in the history of H&M's very sought after collaborations; everyone wants to dress like her, 46 and still got it, despite her protestations that she looks like a motorbike courier.

The fact is, cool women embrace boring. The mainstay pieces of most vaguely stylish women's wardrobes are peculiarly, well, dull. Cast your eye along most front rows, fashion blogs and pinterest boards and you'll see the same things: grey sweatshirts, slouchy coats, super-skinny black trousers, denim shirts, trainers, ankle boots you can actually walk in... Usually teamed with the most unlikely of wardrobe partners. Take the denim shirt. Give or take the grey sweatshirt it has to be the most boring thing it's possible to buy. But put it with a sequin skirt/leather trousers/white jeans/leather skirt/thrown over a black dress or under a chunky jumper and cost-per-wear it will be the best thing you ever bought. Here are five more brilliant but boring buys...

5 Boring-but-go-with-everything items every wardrobe needs...

1. The Grey Sweatshirt

Once you've got a grey sweatshirt in your wardrobe you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. This is one area where it really does pay to splash out on the best you can afford. But, that said, this one is just £18 from Topshop and looks far pricier.

Topshop, £18

2. Skinny Black Jeans (leather optional)

(I refuse to say The Skinny Black Jean)
Way, way easier to wear than they look, leather leggings or jeans make everything you own look instantly edgier. If leather is a bit scary, try these black leather-look skinny jeans, £98, from Jigsaw.

Jigsaw, £98

3. The Denim Shirt

The seventies throwback from your mum's wardrobe that you swore you'd never touch? Turns it out it's the most useful thing ever. You can get cheaper from Gap but this chambray selvedge shirt, £98, from J Crew will be your friend for life.

J Crew, £98

4. The boring bag

A boring bag will be the best investment you'll ever make. Should you be in the market for a £1000+ investment, the large Smythson Eliot tote is money well spent. Failing that, this black leather tote, £160, from The White Company, is made from lovely soft leather and big enough to fit your entire life in.

The White Company, £160

5. The mannish grey coat

Leave the pink coats for people who have time in their life for coats that are on the fashion scrapheap by Christmas. An over-sized slouchy grey coat will still be your fashion friend in February. I love this big-enough-to-fit-a-jumper-under grey shawl collar coat, £150 from Cos.

Cos, £150

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