Casual style for the un-casual woman

Under no circumstances do I consider myself a purveyor of inimitable style, but, as a person that wears the hell out of a lot of nice threads, I thought posting pics of my less than perfect self, rocking my weird and wonderful concoctions, might just help me work it out. So believe me when I say that any advice I have for you in terms of style must be considered of little to no value.


That said, a friend recently asked how I always seem to get the mood of my outfit right. I don’t exactly know what that means, and as I was dizzy from praise, I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly delicious compliment by really understanding it. This constitutes possibly the greatest advice of all time: if someone pays you a compliment, read it in the most golden light, and don’t try to analyse it, it will inspire you.


So with this inspiration in mind, I thought that the person was referring to my wearing whatever I feel like, but without exposing myself to criticism on account of it’s too dressed up or down-ness for the occasion. My logic goes like this:


Fashion does trend (that’s that annoyingly un-fathomable change of look every 2-3 weeks, which always leaves you feeling more like a confused drama teacher, than a super spiffy Rhianna on the front row of every (just have to have it dahhhling) show.


The thing is that trends can also be longer lived, some things almost last for an entire decade, well they did at least until the 80’s…since then, quicker than you can say Internet, we’ve paced all hell out of trend, and no-one really knows if they are in-season, off-season, so last year, or Gucci! There is one thing I kind of noticed, that seems to have stuck around, and that’s the casual-ity of one’s attire through any given era.


The 80’s was all about super smart. Women were kicking ass in the boardroom, wearing head to toe designer, in colours that make a peacock blush. Massive hair, puffy sleeves, lace gloves, thousands of bracelets, and as much makeup as you could fit on your face. There was a decade wide movement towards being super smart and there was simply no such thing as Over-dressed. As with most trendy movements, the extreme opposite was the 90’s.

I came of age in an era where wearing anything was a bit crap. The clothes sort of wore you, and if you made any kind of effort to look nice, you would instantly sink to the bottom of the cool pile, where only Dame Edna was less un-rad than you! So your boyfriends old t-shirts, oversized shirts (preferable unwashed) and jeans that were 2 sizes to big, embarrassingly straight legged (that was the only cut available at the time), and utterly devoid of any kind of glam. Even if you went out on a proper night out, you had to throw your dinner down the front of your short body con black dress, and hope that no one noticed you’d just bought it from new look, while scratching up your DM’s with sandpaper. Seriously you had to work hard to look that casual.


The elusive golden balance is now about getting it right between looking polished but without looking like you’ve made a huge effort. Fantastic! Right? I mean women everywhere really have the time and be-arsed to deal with yet another bizarrely un-reachable level of perfection.


So, I humbly offer some of my tips for pulling together an outfit that covers the dressupdown-effortless-polished-notprissy-chic, that we are all dying to get right:


Wear trainers with everything. Whatever you need to dress down, trainers offer the perfect opposition, they also make your feet happy, so embrace wearing some cute sneakers with everything. Even work suits with the right trainers work the hell out of this, the Parisians have it down, so it’s got to be wildly chic.


Old t-shirts. I love old t-shirts, and men’s t-shirts, they are comfy and usually pretty damned cheap when collected from a charity shop, wear under or over the sequin cocktail frock or a loved floral skirt and you’re Milan fashion week ready.


Wear jeans and heals with everything. No matter how sparkly your blouse is, wear it with some old knackered jeans and a sexy pair of sandals, and you’re super cool.


• The sassier the frock the more you can dress it down, cosy old holey cardigans with a full length evening gown, a t-shirt and a pair of trainers should do the trick. Consider your favourite fab-ist duds in terms of dressed-up-ness, rate it out of 10 (10 being a red-carpet confection, 0 being the ropiest pyjamas and sweat pants). The closer to 10 the item the more casual items you can accessorise it with.




Don’t colour match. Colour matching is the ultimate in knowing what you’re doing when it comes to style, and when everything matches up perfectly, you always look like you’re trying. So give that shit up, and go for random. Mis-match those patterns, rock the clashing textures and colours, wear everything at the same time, go wild! The less you try to put a look together, the less it will look like you tried to put a look together, and that, my dear friends, is straight forward logic.


So there’s some ideas to get you started on the road to finding the correct mood, and I’m pretty sure that will take us through the next few years, cause it’s a lasting trend. Come back next week for more style stories.




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Eve Copper

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