We’ve run a lot of great stories on Wear & Where (if I do say so myself!), but this is by far one of my favourites. As a Fashion Editor at one of the UK’s biggest magazines, Deborah Brett not only knows everything about fashion (the trends, the labels, the insider tips that really work), but also as a founder member of the BFC’s Fashion Trust (a mentoring scheme for up and coming British design talent) she has the inside track on the newest and most exciting designers we should keep an eye out for.
Moreover, as a mother (who is currently pregnant with her third child), Deborah also knows all about the practicalities of looking good off-duty, the secret to stylish maternity dressing (no mean feat) and where to buy great children’s wear. So much so, she has founded the quite brilliant blog Mini’s Fashion File, chronicling her daughter’s Mini’s amazing wardrobe. Do check it out, it’s gorgeous.
In this, her first post, she gives us the lowdown on her style and her favourite designers. Next week, she’ll tell us all about maternity dressing, her must-have beauty buys and her top tips for gorgeous children’s clothes.
Over to Deborah…
Unlike some people who have honed a look for themselves over the years, I change my look every single day.
Anya Hindmarch generously gave me one of her bags inscribed with the words “Karma Karma, Karma Chameleon” and I think that sums up my style perfectly. Some days I’m a hippie in a long flowing dress with plaited hair and wedges, on another it might be 50’s Mad Men with a full pleated skirt and paste jewellery or it might be rock chick with leather leggings, stripy mohair sweater and kohl eyeliner. I like to dress how I’m feeling, in fact the only thing I find tricky is dressing super minimalist. I love an accessory and pairing down a look can be hard to do. I also love colour and pattern so although I do wear black, it tends to be occasional and when I do I will play on textures instead.
If I’m going for a hippy/70’s vibe I will go for a flare from Mother or MiH and a gypsy or lace edged Victorian style top. Failing that I love a printed dress, whether it’s from Zara or vintage, I might belt it with some of my mother’s old leather belts, add some beaded earrings (I love Alexis Bittar and Isabel Marant) and in the summer wear it with a pair of simple tan espadrille wedges from Michael Kors. In the winter I’d go for a pair of knee high tan boots (I have a great pair from Maison Martin Margiela and also a pair in damson canvas from Isabel Marant). I then layer up with a gilet from Yves Saloman for warmth and a cross shoulder bag like the Chloe Marcie.
- A hot new label called Talitha is also becoming a firm favourite with their beautifully intricate embroidered jackets and hippie shirts.
- I am also great friends with the designers Clements Ribeiro and love their aesthetic of mixing print and colour. They made an amazing cream lace dress embellished with oversized sequins to look like feathers called the ‘Deborah’ dress. I was so honoured to have a dress named after me! I’ve ordered a new version of the Deborah again as I’ve worn the original non-stop. This time, it’s red lace with more Masai beading at the neckline and I can’t wait until it arrives.
- I also make sure to do my hair accordingly, so with this style it tends to be wavy and bed headed or I plait it around my head Heidi style.
I also love the 1950’s look made popular by the TV series Mad men. It really suits my hourglass figure and works both with dresses as well as skirts.
- The doyenne of this look has to be Miuccia Prada who always does the most delectable dresses with off beat prints and colours each season. I try to head up to Bicester Village outlet centre and pick one up from the previous season.
- Another favourite is Samantha Sung, a Korean designer who sells at Fenwick as well as KJ’s Laundry. She does great prints and her fabrics are crisp but also have a stretch too comfort.
- My new obsession is Stella Jean, a Haitian/Italian designer who mixes African printed full skirts and dresses with crisp mannish striped tailored shirts. It’s such a fresh combination of print and colour.
- To top off these looks I love adding a bold statement necklace or bracelets from J.Crew. They really do the best jewellery.
- I try to steer away from the whole ensemble looking too twee, so I won’t wear this kind of look with kitten heels. Instead I try and add a more masculine feel with a pair of brogues (I’m loving J.Crew or Zara’s silver ones for winter).
The one new style I’m really embracing is a cooler, more minimalist way of dressing based on bold silhouettes and strong block colours. It’s a definite move away from my regular look and one typified by designers such as Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo at Celine. It’s such a simple and easy way to dress, and one that feels not only modern right now but also slots in beautifully combining motherhood with work. The clothes and shapes are comfortable yet incredibly chic, and adding a heel and clutch can change the look from school drop off to important meeting material.
- I’ve bought a few things in this vein for next season and am incredibly excited to wear them. I was lucky enough to pick up two Roksanda Ilincic trapeze coats in her sample sale. They look fantastic worn both open or belted.
- I love a grey sweatshirt as a lynch pin to this look and recently found a fantastic neoprene one with a peplum online in the Zara sale section. However, Whistles has done a fantastic one for autumn/winter as well as a glorious cherry red trapeze shift dress that I have my eye firmly on.
- A new label I’m currently obsessing over is Studio Nicholson, which does this look at a fraction of the price of Celine with wonderful cocoon coats and simple pants. I also love layering these pieces with more informal bits.
- 3.1 Philip Lim does the most heavenly silk front pleated pyjama style pants, which are beyond comfortable (Zara does a great version too).
- I also love mixing in a drawstring jersey tracksuit pant. My favourites this season come from Baukjen and The White Company in a light-weight charcoal jersey.
- For footwear think either simple or statement – I’ve gone a bit Zara shoe mad for next season and bought not only their lace-up peep toe booties but also their pointy flats. I loved them so much I plumped for a pair in both red suede and black leather, a snip at £19.99 each.
- To finish off this look I love a big strong structured clutch. I have a great mock croc one from Stella McCartney, a faux lizard one in tan from Baukjen and am dreaming of Chloe’s navy one edged in gold hardwear.
And finally there’s my off duty mum look. When you have kids (and I’m onto number three) your look has to evolve even if you only give in to a few concessions. I didn’t want to be a mum tottering around after her kids in vertiginous heels. So I’m afraid they mostly get kept for fashion week or fun nights out.
- Shoes may have become more practical but that doesn’t mean they have to be dull. This season I’ve plumped for a great pair of shearling moon boot style booties from Isabel Marant and am deliberating about Toga Pulla’s black buckle ankle boots, practical yet still a bit punk.
- Jeans have become slouchy boyfriends (my faves are from Current Elliott as they are so soft and they look great worn with a brogue in the day as well as a skyscraper heel at night).
- A warm coat to watch my son’s football games is a must. This season I’ve gone for a reverseable shearling one with black leather trim detail from Ines & Marechal at Matches. It’s not only warm but the simple cocoon shape means its smart enough for work too.
For evening I tend to focus on a simpler look.
- I have a great black strapless jersey jumpsuit from Top Shop that I layer up with a Stella McCartney navy and black tuxedo jacket.
- I will then add a stack of great bracelets from Alexis Bittar, J.Crew or my friend, jewellery designer Diane Kordas black diamond hoops and ring and a pair of killer heels.
- My current shoe obsession is with Tabitha Simmons, but even at 70% off in the sale (which is how I buy mine) they are still steeply priced. However they are super individual and always finish off a look perfectly.
- Ultimately I’m a hoarder. I tend to keep my clothes, especially the good stuff and still have amazing Prada, YSl, Gucci and Burberry pieces I’ve collected through sample sales throughout my fifteen year career in fashion.
Check back next week for Deborah’s tips on maternity dressing, her beauty must-haves, favourite children’s labels and finds for her gorgeous Ibiza home.