Going out? Find out what a fashion editor wears


carolyn asome feature


By Carolyn Asome, deputy fashion editor, The Times. (Image: Squiz Hamilton).

What do fashion editors wear as the party season gets into swing. Contrary to expectation and er, the rest of the nation, they do not channel their inner Tinkerbell. Instead they turn to hardy festive perennials such as velvet and leopard print (glimpses of) that they dig out each winter. The aim is to look glamorous in a polished – but not too polished - way. They do not try to look sparkly. Ever. If all this sounds remarkably laid back, so much the better, because the fashion editor would hate anyone to think that she has spent many, many hours trying to get the following looks right.

1. Mis-matched textures

Even when the occasion is formal or dressy, fashion editors look to architectural shapes, block colours and subtly luxurious fabrics as opposed to glitter and sequins. There are plenty of ways of revamping ordinary-ish clothes: that workaday grey tweed skirt gets a new lease of life when teamed with a sliver of oyster silk top or pops of coloured cashmere. Or try juxtaposing heavy wool with something flimsy. If in doubt, a fashion editor always dresses down.

Image: By Jason Lloyd-Evans

2. Bare skin but not too much of it

Look around at the most stylish dressers you know. Mostly they are covered up with just the barest peep of flesh in the most unexpected places – a toned bare shoulder, the peep of an ankle or a bare wrist. Trust me: cover up and you will stand out for miles.

Image: Stylists Kate Foley and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld

3. The velvet tux jacket

This is one way of cutting a very dashing - not to mention practical - figure. It suggests a boyish, rakishness that fashion editors LOVE. Combine with tailored trousers in thick tweed or possibly leather. It is dressy and festive without being too obvious; the holy grail of what they are trying to achieve.

Image: Alexa Chung

4. It’s all about earrings. Actually one earring

The truth is, most fashion eds don’t wear much jewellery, preferring instead to be remembered for their carefully mussed up bed head or glowing skin (see below). When they do wear jewellery, it’s incredibly pared back and usually very fine gold or increasingly, rose gold. Ear cuffs are very popular to add a bit of a “rocky” edge to an outfit (N.B a rocky edge is achieved by earcuffs as opposed to leather skinnies), but they only ever one ear-cuff. Always.

Image: Earcuff, £135, Katie Rowland (Available at Fenwick Bond Street)

5. Dewy skin

This might not sound obvious but actually great looking skin is possibly your passport to looking the best dressed person in the room. That is, skin that does not look caked in make-up but looks as if you have the hottest power-facialist on speed dial. You may have to cheat to get that look, in which case head to the new Charlotte Tilbury counter. Because you might be wearing Zara but if you have short, clean-looking nails, dewy looking skin and fresh looking hair you will ALWAYS look sexy and appealing. And what every fashion editor knows, is that actually takes a lot more effort than chucking on a sliver of silver latex.

Image: Shoe designer Tabitha Simmons, Moda Operandi’s Lauren Santo-Domingo, models Constance Jablonski and Joan Smalls and editor Derek Blasberg

6.Faux fur

Obviously you are not going to spend all evening standing in a shaggy coat which is where the fake fur stole or shaggy clutch comes in. Not only will everyone want to come up and stroke you (a great conversation opener) but it’s the snappiest way of providing a colourful jolt (clashing pink and red stripes on a Helen Moore scarf , say) to a fashion editor’s predominantly neutral wardrobe. It’s the 2014 version of chucking on a bit of leopard print to an outfit.

Image: Saliana faux fur jacket, £239, Ted Baker (available at Fenwick stores)

7. Angular shell top

An angular top, ie one that has slightly rounded shoulders and possibly with a smattering of judiciously placed sparkle (paste jewels rather than sequins) is the way to do festive without resembling a Christmas tree. The strong, architectural shape is enough of a statement and can be paired with a skirt shape to suit, or tweed trousers for a mis-matched Mitford-esque feel.

Image: Top, £42, Topshop (Available at Fenwick stores)

8. A very long, full skirt

You can’t move for 101 articles on how to wear the midi but style bods are one step ahead with the swooshy, floor-skimming skirt. It’s surprisingly easier to wear in that you don’t have ankle/cankle issues to contend with and it looks as great with heels (something blocky) as it does with trainers. Preen’s monochrome print skirt is on the wish list but the most important thing to remember is this only works with a very casual top: a T-shirt (Zoe Karsen or Etre Cecile) or crew neck sweater. The outfit suggests a sense of occasion without being too full on.

Image: Yasmin Sewell

9. Bare Legs

A word about bare legs. Fashion editors will sing the praises of a bare-leg except at this time of year it becomes increasingly hard to pull off. Because mottled-looking flesh will never do. If you’re going to wear tights they should be thick black thick ones and if you’re heading down the denier route, then the rest of your outfit needs to be simple. You should never wear nude tights. Never ever. Those are for Kate Middleton and your grandmother, NOT for fashion editors.

Image: An editor at Paris Fashion Week by Jason Lloyd-Evans

10. A Mary-Jane block heel

Possibly the compromise between the endless heels versus flats debate. Comfort is very ”in” yet fashion editors still want to feel that they have won in the one-upmanship shoe stakes. Sophia Webster’s block heel style with different swatches of leather is particularly coveted thanks to its ability to work with literally everything in your wardrobe.

Image: Mary janes,  Sophia Webster (Available in Fenwick Bond Street)

11. The USP of a jumpsuit

The USP of the jumpsuit is that it makes you feel sassy and dressed up without feeling as if you’re going to spend the whole night tugging at a dress hem. And,there are no tights/bare leg conundrums which is always a plus. Don’t do loads of jewellery, but keep it sleek. Now is the time for a knock-out heel (or even the towering heels, currently buried at the back of the wardrobe). A novelty minaudiere and one earcuff will update this (see above) but don’t be tempted by distracting bangles or a statement necklace.

Image: Editor Caroline Issa

12. The novelty Minaudière

The quickest way to update your outfit is the minaudière, aka the tiny clutch. This is infinitely more attractive than a slouchy, oversized, organic bag which will ruin the line of your clothes. Let’s overlook for a minute that you can’t actually carry much in one because simply knowing you have bagged (sorry couldn’t resist) one of the season’s key pieces will more than make up for it. Anya Hindmarch’s sell out Coco Pop box or Custard Cream bag is the holy grail but popular too are Rocio’s stunning Mid-century looking clasped boxes.

Image: Minaudière, from a selection Rocio (Available in Fenwick Bond Street)

By Carolyn Asome