Easy ways to update your everyday fashion uniform (and ensure it doesn’t become a yawniform)

— by Alyson Walsh

Photos; Claire Pepper

Though it may seem like I’m always tinkering around with new outfits for That’s Not My Age and my style column in the Telegraph, I often wear the same clothes, on repeat. This is not working from home-induced slovenliness, it’s about practicality, comfort and ease. On a day-to-day basis, you know where you are with a uniform. Ready to get up and get on with the day ahead. No faffing. I wore a version of the above outfit to a press event today (same jacket and jumper, different jeans and boots), knowing I had a winning combination to rely on made leaving the building easier. And there’s no need to be too ‘Steve Jobs’ about this; once the basics are in place, then you can start to experiment.

The best way to mix things up, and ensure your uniform doesn’t become a yawniform is by following these five easy tips:


Look for colour cues

There’s a dismissive line in a Clash song about wearing blue and brown (and working for The Clampdown) but I disagree, faded denim goes with everything and never looks tired. Taking a cue from the colours in the new tweed blazer – mostly shades of brown with a line of blue running through – led me to the old cashmere jumper and the showbiz, sixties-inspired boots. Find clothes that mix but don’t match, exactly.

Add a textural twist

Tweed and cashmere, denim and super soft leather, combine the rough with the smooth to add a textural twist. Try a pair of khaki green, cotton drill cargo pants and a silk blouse. Team a velvet jacket, a denim shirt and an A-Line corduroy skirt. The options are limitless.

Elevate the essentials

Experiment with variations on a favourite theme to keep things interesting. I love a good jacket with old jeans. As well as the traditional blazer, I’m also keen on a shorter, Chanel-style. My uniform has been revved up over the last few years with the addition of a pink corduroy and jauntier designs, I’ve got my eye on this leopard print jacket from Jigsaw. Classic Chelsea boots have been swapped for chunkier, funkier styles. (If, like me, you’re a fan of Grenson’s there are some lovely boots up to 50% off in the sale at The Outnet). Your uniform is probably completely different – one of my friends always wears a maxi skirt with an unstructured, cropped jacket or cardi – find the shapes you love to wear and play around with colour, texture and pattern. The upgrade doesn’t have to be outlandish (unless that’s your thing), it can be discreet.


Photo: Claire Pepper for the Daily Telegraph

Play around with pattern

One way to whoop up a pared-down outfit is by introducing similar patterns on a different scale. In the first outfit, the cashmere jumper has a knitted design that looks like tiny squares, the Prince of Wales check jacket is a beautiful medley of woven squares and stripes. Layering up, I added the zigzag scarf from the That’s Not My Age Edit collaboration with Jo Gordon (see below), a bolder shade of blue with army green, and it worked. Result. (And good news is – there are still a few scarves available). Play around, experiment until you create an eye-catching ensemble.

Switch the details

News flash: after wearing silver hoop earrings for donkey’s years, I’ve recently switched to gold. My other piercings (ears only, nowhere else), and all my rings and bracelets are silver. I’m really into mixing metals, at the minute. It’s the little things…



Are there clothes you come back to again and again?


Style Notes

First outfit: my tweed jacket is MaxMara Weekend (sale bargain, last season). The lambswool scarf is a collaboration with Jo Gordon for the TNMA Edit. The cashmere jumper is an old Angela Cassidy (a small independent brand, no longer in existence). Jeans are my ancient APC favourites. Groovy boots are from Ops&Ops. Leather satchel is an old gift from M.Hulot (no longer available). Hoop earrings are a gift from Auree Jewellery. My rings are all Claire Stratton.

Second outfit: the tweed jacket was a generous gift from Winser London. Cashmere polo neck is old Gap. My jeans are vintage Levi’s 501s. The navy leather bag was loaned from Mimi Berry for the Telegraph shoot and the white leather boots are a few years old from Grenson (now only available in black).



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