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The shirt dresses with shelf life

— by Alyson Walsh

Photos: Claire Pepper

 

One thing I have enjoyed over the past few months has been the slowing down of everything. From grocery shopping to saddling up Shanks’ Pony. Having been on a hiatus, my column for the Telegraph has finally returned but over the last few weeks because of various pandemic-related logistics, the outfits featured have all been my own. Of course, I’m quite comfortable doing this as it feels more realistic  –  I have plenty of clothes so there was no need to rush online to splurge on a whole load of new stuff – and I firmly believe that fashion has to slow down, too.

The column has moved to the Saturday edition and is now called Ageless Style. To me, that means timeless, wearable clothes and faff-free dressing. I’m focusing on the items that women want to wear. Clothes with staying power, that make good, long-term sense. When Lockdown Brain kicks in and all you want to do is get dressed and get out of the house, it pays to have a reliable uniform to call upon. My collection of jumpsuits has seen a lot of love over the last few months but now the seasonal switchover has taken place, I’ve moved on to the shirt dress with shelf life. Presenting a more dressed up image to the world felt quite odd at first. Not that I spent lockdown in my pyjamas, just that while normal life was limited so were my outfit choices.

The military-inspired shirt dress in the photograph is the result of some first-class style stalking: khaki, cotton and covered up it might as well have my name rather than Weekend MaxMara on the label. As soon as it went down to half price in the January sales, I swooped in like a seagull with a bag of chips. The flatform sandals are last year’s bargain from Robert Clergerie, the Freedom style is one of the French footwear label’s perennial designs  – available HERE and HERE (though not reduced by nearly as much this summer).

Having to delve into my wardrobe, to experiment and create new combinations of clothes for the Telegraph has reinforced my view that an everyday uniform doesn’t have to be a ‘yawniform’. Simple, hardworking clothes can be quite easily revved up with interesting pairings and standout accessories. I haven’t worn a statement necklace since the Jenna Lyons Years (the one in the picture is very old Jaeger), but the chunky coral-coloured beads tally with the chunky fluorescent orange flatform soles, and bingo! Another winning, not-so-basic combination.

 

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More summer sandals you can walk everywhere in HERE.

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  One thing I have enjoyed over the past few months has been the slowing down of everything. From grocery shopping to saddling up Shanks’ Pony.