These are the outfits that brought me JOY as a stylist in 2020 (and how you can make 2021 your most stylish year ever)
Hi, friends! This might be my second blog post in a week (!), but it’s been a hot minute since I actually shared any content featuring my own actual outfits. It’s funny how this little corner of the internet of mine has evolved: from a place to share the outfits I was most proud of back in 2014-2018, to an actual business as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant where I am blessed to help other people discover their love of clothes.
Most of those outfit posts from over the years are archived now (but you can still find a couple I loved too much to discard here and here). However, I’ve worn some fabulous outfits in 2020 I wanted to share with you, just because I can. It wouldn’t be New Year without some sort of reflective post, after all!
Let’s be real: most of these looks were purely for Instagram. 2020 did not provide an abundance of opportunities to wear anything remotely exciting. But I’ve really enjoyed putting together some of my most colourful outfits ever, as this year felt like when my personal style finally fell into place. I feel more secure in my looks than ever, and I can genuinely say I LOVE my wardrobe!
January – March outfits (or pre-lockdown fashion. Ahh, simpler times!)
Yup, way back when a national lockdown was merely a twinkle in Boris Johnston’s eye, and before sweatpants became the look du jour, I had a couple of opportunities to wear some rather excellent outfits.
First up is one of the only IRL, genuine, out-and-about looks from the year, which was what I wore for a day exploring Berlin back in February. Oh how I agonised over this look, I tell you! Putting together something comfy, stylish, and warm enough for the time of year, I actually love this outfit, and the printed face tee is a style I definitely regret putting in the charity pile. You can be too thorough during a clearout, which is something I’ve learned the hard way over the years.
Second is without doubt one of my favourite photos, let alone outfits, of 2020. Juuuust before lockdown began in March, I was lucky to go on a shoot with my creative friend Teresa Dickson at the stunning Edinburgh seaside suburb South Queensferry. I loved putting together this zesty outfit, and the contrast of the phone booth couldn’t be more perfect. Side note, if you’re sat thinking ‘I could NEVER pull off a colour combination like that’, then I can assure you that you can! Here’s a post I wrote earlier this year about how to wear colour well.
The lockdown looks (when mirror selfies were king)
What was your approach to being at home for four months: living out of sweatpants and PJs, or wearing totally ostentatious outfits purely for fun? I was a bit of both. I largely went for comfort and practicality, but equally I found solace in wearing fabulous clothes.
Pictured here is two outfits featuring some fabulous thrifted finds (which was a key feature of my 2020 style). First up is this INCREDIBLE 1970s vintage maxi dress, which I originally purchased for a 70s-themed editorial shoot that lockdown sadly cancelled. That model’s loss was absolutely my gain though, as I can’t get over how exquisite this dress is, as well as how well it fits me. I’m hoping to wear it FOR REALZ to a wedding in 2021, but only time will tell if that will go ahead!
The rainbow skirt was another secondhand buy, purchased in a thrift store in Budapest back in 2019. I think this might be my most liked piece ever, as anytime it features on Instagram it receives so much love.
I also used lockdown to really hone in on what key pieces were missing from my wardrobe (which simple pieces to tie together my bolder styles, no real surprise there!), as this is one of the biggest tips as a wardrobe consultant I can give you to shape up your own style. As we go back to spending more time at home throughout January, this is an excellent time to try auditing your wardrobe to figure out what clothes you should be buying in 2021, and which styles you have in abundance.
August outfits (or the halcyon days of warm weather and excuses to leave the house)
Ahh August, those sweet few weeks when bars and restaurants were open, which perfectly timed with my move back to Edinburgh. In all honesty I barely went out, but I did enjoy a little more hustle and bustle in the city, as well as the warmer weather to wear some outfits that I really loved. I also fully launched my business as a personal stylist, offering wardrobe consultations. It was undoubtedly the best decision of 2020 for me.
Both of these outfits were shot while catching up with my good friend (and Common Threads Podcast co-host) Ruth MacGilp. It was soooooo hot this day, my feet were covered in blisters from sliding about in those cute orange sandals. Yup, there’s the fun fact you didn’t know you needed.
You can juuuust see it hanging from my wrist in the first photo, but matching masks to outfits surely must be the styling theme of 2020. It’s fair to assume NONE of us expected for reusable face coverings to be the must-have accessory of the year, but that’s 2020 in a nutshell!
September style shoots (featuring some of my fiercest looks of all, if I may say so)
September was a big one for me, as I launched my online personal shopping service, ‘Curated by Alice’. This month also featured two of my favourite photo shoots ever. First up was with Mags from Into the Woods Photography. Mags is a total photography ninja, and we managed to snap three looks, created through some clever mix and matching. The general consensus in style circles is that new clothes should work with at least three pieces in your wardrobe, and I agree is brilliant advice. I hope my magenta and orange outfit combination here also proves to you that bold colour combinations don’t have to look childish or clown-like, but instead can be seriously chic.
Another brilliant shoot from this time was with Olly of ORiginal Visuals. We shot until after 8pm, when the streets were quiet and the lighting was beautiful. Summer really is the best time of year in every way!
Looking at these two shots shows me two things: one, that this one-hand-on-hip situation might be my signature pose now, and two that several pieces of clothing have appeared in multiple shots throughout 2020. And that’s good. We shouldn’t be afraid to rewear our clothes: that’s normal! And actually, true style comes from being able to wear things multiple ways, not from buying the latest thing constantly. Truth,
Autumn fashion (a season which lasts precisely two weeks in Scotland before winter sets in and attempts to be stylish are futile)
Autumn is a funny season I think. In theory I like it, but the window of opportunity to wear cute, warmish outfits is sooo small that I end up in winter mode from early November. But for that brief time, autumn fashion has plenty of things I love – namely faux leather, animal print, alll the hats, and an overall 70s style that this season suits so well.
The first look is from a shoot with Vlada Nebo. Edinburgh was looking very autumnal that day, and Vlada managed to perfectly capture the season without making the shots too ‘sepia’: not a vibe when you’re a colour queen like me!
Next up is another actual out-and-about outfit, from a great day charity shopping with my friend. I love helping my personal styling clients master outfit layering, and I put those skills to good use with this look. I created the effect of a cropped jumper and maxi skirt by tying the yellow jumper at my waist using a hair bobble! The result was a seriously cosy and comfy ensemble that must be one of my favourite looks of 2020. And if you’re wondering about the backdrop, the photo was taken at Edinburgh’s hidden Wild West village. Located off a builder’s yard on a side street in the salubrious area of Morningside, legend has it that the facade was used to promote a furniture store way back when. It’s one of the most quirky places in the city for sure!
Festive fashion (or when I turned a dress inside out to make two different outfits)
And just like that, it was December! I actually had several amazing looks planned I wanted to shoot throughout the festive season, but tightening lockdown restrictions meant that wasn’t feasible. I guess that means I have a head start on outfit ideas for next Christmas!
Both of these looks were shot on a pre-Christmas shoot with photographer Andrew Morris, with our goal to make the most of Edinburgh’s minimal decorations this year to put together some festive shots. I bought this gold lurex dress secondhand with the intention of styling it with the beaded jacket on the right. However, something just didn’t seem quite perfect with the outfit. So, in a stroke of sheer good luck, I turned the dress inside out and discovered the burgundy side was much better!
I love finding new ways to style clothes, and layering, inverting, and mix and matching outfits is the best way to maximise an outfit shoot without the awkward finding somewhere to change scenario! I actually wore the gold and green poloneck iteration of this outfit on Christmas Day too, so arguably this can count as a ‘real life’ outfit too.
So there we have it – my year in outfits, even if they were mostly worn for Instagram! It’s been a vibrant, vivacious, and heavily 70s-inspired year as far as my wardrobe is concerned, even if the year itself wasn’t quite as joyful. Here’s a couple of bonus looks I loved too:
Now it’s your turn – learn to love your clothes in 2021
Are you ready to finally fall in love with your wardrobe? My personal styling books are OPEN, and I’m taking on new clients from January 2021. My packages start from only £60, which means discovering your style could be more affordable than you think. I’m postponing my annual price increase until March 2020, which means you can still benefit from my best prices. Plus, working with a wardrobe consultant is great fun!
All of my personal styling services are available in-person in Edinburgh, and online for people all over the world. Here’s how I can help you:
Wardrobe consultations (£150) : This is my most in-depth service, perfect for people looking for a style overhaul. I’ll help you created a streamlined wardrobe that only contains clothes you can’t wait to wear during our wardrobe clearout day (in-person or via Zoom, depending on your location and ongoing Covid restrictions). As part of this day I’ll help you style up amazing outfits using the clothes you already have to inspire your clothing choices every day. You’ll also receive a follow-up personalised document including a guide to the ‘hero pieces’ you should invest in.
Mini wardrobe refresh (£60): This more streamlined version is the perfect option for fashion lovers looking to get more out of their wardrobes, or those looking to style looks for a specific occasion. You’ll get a 2.5 hour Zoom consultation tailored to your styling needs. Think of it as a try-on party, but with a professional stylist to guide you! This is my most affordable service, and is ideal for fitting into a busy life.
Online personal shopping (£80): This service is known as ‘Curated by Alice’, as I’ll curate the best buys from ethical brands, just for you. After completing an online questionnaire so I can get to know you and your style needs, you’ll receive a comprehensive, tailored document with at least 12 product picks from ethical brands, as well as styling tips on how to wear them. Your document will also include a ‘mini capsule’ checklist to inspire your daily outfit choices, a personalised style moodboard, and a guide on how to tell if a brand is ethical. My early bird offer for this service sold out, and it won’t be long before places at this price are snapped up too!
I hope 2021 is a better year for all of us, and that we can all make our outfit dreams a reality! For more colourful style inspiration, or to pick my brains about anything ethical fashion-related, hit me up on `Instagram – @styledbyalicex