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Porter
Art of Style

Alexa Chung on the 5 styling rules she lives by

Designer and bona-fide style icon ALEXA CHUNG shares what fashion means to her, the styling formula she swears by, and how to develop a look that’s all your own

Fashion

HAVE FUN WITH IT

“My relationship with fashion is nuanced. I find it fun because I love clothes, but I also appreciate that it [can be] serious – it’s a tool almost everyone has access to that can massively affect how people perceive you, while also allowing you to express yourself more fully. When I’m getting dressed, I’ll often reference different things that interest me, whether it’s art, music, film, literature or history. I’ll add these little references that no one else can really read, but that make a look all my own. However, on a different day, I might just put together a look that accentuates my bum or broadens my shoulders. Then it’s more about creating balance than being highbrow. I don’t have a methodical approach to shopping or building out my closet, I just buy random things I love. I’m purchasing a house at the moment and I’ve realised my motto is the same when it comes to clothes, property and boys: if you can’t resist, then it’s the right one for you.”

I’ve always had a really strong sense of my own personal style; I hate looking the same as everyone else – I was the same in secondary school

EMBRACE CHANGE

“Lately, I have been dressing in a much more sexy, grown-up way. When I was younger, I found it really funny not to lean into that sort of alluring side of dressing up. I loved the irony of wearing a sexy underwear set under a smock dress. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found it more empowering to occasionally put on a tight dress, pair it with skyscraper heels and almost play the role of an ultra-femme version of myself. I think the change has a lot to do with being 37 and, over time, becoming more unapologetic and worrying less about how other people perceive me.”

EXPRESS YOURSELF

“I’ve always had a really strong sense of my own personal style; I hate looking the same as everyone else – I was the same in secondary school. Teenage girls tend to really enjoy dressing alike, but I absolutely hated that uniformity. I would deliberately wear outfits other people wouldn’t want to. I always understood the power of clothing as an extension of yourself and a way to enhance your personality. For anyone trying to find their distinct look, I’d recommend remembering that everyone is unique, so be inspired by things that are personal to you, whether it’s a movie you love, a bunch of flowers or a great article you just read – tap into more obscure sources of sartorial inspiration.”

BOOST YOUR MOOD

“I’m so aware of the power fashion has to lift my mood. That’s why I found designing my FW21 collection during lockdown such a cathartic process. I wanted to feel proud of where I was from again, so it was actually a selfish endeavor to rediscover London’s past and reignite my love of the place. London is an incredibly creative and resilient city, so it was kind of a love letter to that spirit. I was inspired by everything from the city’s iconic buses to the style of the Swinging Sixties and the early ’80s. If I had to choose, I’d say my favorite pieces [from the collection] are the cashmere moulinet sweater and the black leather skirt, which are just perfect and will work with anything and everything.”

I believe you can never really go wrong with men’s tailoring – it’s timeless and works in any context

IDENTIY YOUR APPROACH

“I choose my look each day depending on what I’m doing, where I’m going, who I’m encountering and how I want to feel in that situation; I react to the day’s plans. For instance, if I have a board meeting – a typically male-dominated environment – I might want to wear a blazer to show that I can meet them toe to toe. Or, on the flip side, I might decide it calls for a more feminine approach and opt for a cotton-voile doily dress or a fiery-red mini skirt as a subtle act of rebellion. That said, I believe you can never really go wrong with men’s tailoring – it’s timeless and works in any context. I also love getting dressed up, so I’d say every woman needs a stunning party frock in her arsenal. You never know when someone might spring a jazzy dinner on you!”