SHANE WATSON: The year we refused to follow the fashion rules

How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: The year we refused to follow the fashion rules

  • Shane Watson says keeping up with trends was bottom of our priority list in 2020
  • We discovered what we really wanted to wear when there was nowhere to go
  • Here is what we learned including that you definitely don’t need so many coats

When we look back on 2020 we’ll remember staying home to save lives, rainbows in windows, compulsory staycations, the rule of six, shrunken weddings and not so much the fashion.

It would be fair to say that keeping up with trends was bottom of our priority list in this year of the pandemic, but that’s not to say that we didn’t think about our clothes quite a bit.

As a matter of fact, for many of us 2020 was a wake-up call to sort our wearable clothes from our unwearables; the things we loved from the things we hoped would work out and then clung onto even when they didn’t.

This year we refused to follow the fashion rules. Pictured: Fashion icon Anna Wintour in a tracksuit

It was the year we discovered what we really wanted to wear when there was nowhere to go, no dress code and no one to please but ourselves.

Here’s what we learned:

YOU DON’T NEED SO MANY COATS

But you need a couple. This year our mood was for practical, park- exercise-friendly coats with hoods, khaki jackets, and then, as it got colder, the teddy bear hug of a coat in sleek midnight blue.

…BUT YOU DO NEED A PRETTY DRESS

You probably remember the day, not long after we realised we’d been getting up in our exercisewear for weeks, when Summer Dress fever hit.

It was partly to do with the glorious weather, but also the optimism and freshness of a floral dress struck a chord. Even if we couldn’t be tripping down a cobbled lane in Tuscany, a midi-dress with a neat bodice and three-quarter-length sleeves hit the spot.

Shane Watson says keeping up with trends was bottom of our priority list in 2020 but that it was the year we discovered what we really wanted to wear when there was nowhere to go (stock image)

HANDBAG, WHAT HANDBAG?

We need to be hands-free in this hand-sanitising, mask-adjusting, NHS-app-sign-in world, and the top-handle bag (never mind the tiny purse bag) suddenly looked very pre-2020.

Instead, we opted for capacious shoppers, rucksacks, and cross-body bags sometimes with a patterned webbing strap. Functionality was the name of the game, and is until further notice.

GOLDEN EARRINGS

Blame all those Zoom calls and no one looking at your shoes any more. Big gold and pearl earrings and multiple gold chains were this year’s way to banish the blues.

BOOTS AND SHOES MADE FOR WALKING

At the start of the pandemic, the two things we reckoned we would not be wearing for a long time were our heels and our party dresses, but mainly our heels. What we fancied instead were all low, practical and comfy. We wore trainers, Birkenstocks (sheepskin-lined if you were pushing the boat out), espadrilles (the medium-low ones) and clogs.

And boots of all lengths with a heavy tread lug sole became the coolest footwear of 2020.

JUMPSUITS

Some people went mad for dungarees, some people lived in quality joggers, but the standout multi-purpose article of the year was probably a jumpsuit. Non-converts quickly discovered that a jumpsuit is ideal everyday WFH-wear. And then, with some earrings and a zip tugged an inch further south, it’s instantly transformed into modern, sexy cocktail wear.

NOT SO MUCH BLACK

We’ll never say goodbye to black, and we didn’t in 2020. But it’s true that colour, like birds and other wildlife, came out to play when Covid struck.

This year there were no parties (apart from Rita Ora’s birthday bash). But had there been, they would have been a riot of rainbow colours.

DECORATIVE SWEATER

If it’s true hemlines rise in an economic upturn, it may also be true that in troubling times amazing knitwear comes into its own.

Fancy buttoned cardigans, mutton-sleeved embroidered sweaters, Nordic patterned polo-necks — we couldn’t get enough of them. And the grey V-neck was relegated … maybe for a very long time.

ALL-ROUND BLAZERS

In 2020 a blazer was exactly what you needed to pull everything into shape, on those rare occasions when you were heading out: jeans… and a navy blazer; a smart blazer over a hoodie and posh track pants; a pale blazer over a dress.

It was the year of the shell pink blazer, and otherwise the khaki four-pocket jacket, both of which have made their way into our forever collection.

ELASTIC WAISTS

By the end of 2019, it did look like we were tiring of luxed-up track pants. Then lockdown hit and the elasticated waist — ideal for WFH, TV watching, a tiny bit of weight gain — was repurposed for the weirdest of weird years.

See you on the other side.

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