To find the origins of this moment we should perhaps scroll back on TikTok to the viral Frazzled English Woman that populated our feeds earlier this year. Where memes of Bridget Jones and The Holiday’s Iris Simpkins became exemplars of the messy scarf-swathed look. But the trend really began to gain force when the SS24 catwalk signalled the arrival of a new style that anyone with a chaotic diary would recognise.
The looks placed a focus on hastiness: Irregularly splayed collars, untucked shirts, bags spilling over, a ramshackle palette and messed-up hair all became legitimate styling tricks championed by fashion’s biggest players on the runways this season.
Miu Miu gave new meaning to the term bag lady with models holding carryalls spilling over with high-heeled shoes, a change of clothes and a mangle of cords and cables.
Meanwhile Acne Studios emphasised a creased appearance across tailoring, which was mirrored in Balenciaga’s distressed debutante-esque gowns seemingly thrown on straight from the garment bag with no time for steaming whatsoever. At Marni, models wore purposefully undone hairstyles with accentuated flyaways and locks piled high with intentional carelessness.
Even the classic white shirt had a makeunder, moving away from the catwalk-standard meticulousness. The new way to wear it: with a messy, haphazard tuck as championed by Michael Kors in New York, 16Arlington in London, Bottega Veneta in Milan and Stella McCartney in Paris.
If you need proof that there is beauty in carelessness then Maison Margiela is a case in point. John Galliano’s undone collection was made up of a conceptual jigsaw of pieces elegantly falling off the models, who marched down the catwalk at a quickening pace.
Ultimately, this response from the catwalk speaks to how we’re feeling right now. We’re distracted. As we grapple with devastating news cycles and a cost of living crisis, getting dressed, for many of us, is at the back of our minds and designers are clearly understanding of that. Who has the time to focus on perfectly ironing that tailoring? Instead, wear it as it comes.
The joy of getting dressed is not lost or forgotten. Instead, there’s a welcome shift to accommodate the growing responsibilities of modern life, reflecting the mood of the moment with each abandonment of the usual sartorial rules. The juggle is real and this approach makes getting up and out to take on the world that little bit simpler. Sartorially, at least.
So, ready to give your frazzle a fashion spin? Start with these five pointers and run (possibly through the hedge) with them.
Think Bag, Think Big
The intention when it comes to size should be to make Succession’s Tom Wambsgans shiver. The bag should be huge, but nowhere near large enough as you intentionally allow your belongings to hang out with cautionless nonchalance.
No Brush, No Bother
Glossy blow-dry be-gone! Save pennies and time by letting the frizz fly free.
Oversized outerwear is essential. Does this coat belong to you? Well, it sure does now. Look to Prada who juxtaposed a canvas hunting-style jacket with a barely there skirt for the ultimate example.
Say Bye To Your Iron
Save time on immaculate execution by embracing the crease, as seen at JW Anderson, Acne Studios, Altuzarra and Balenciaga.
Leave It Hanging
The intentionally messy shirt tuck was the season’s universal styling trick. Find examples at Bottega Veneta, Stella McCartney, Michael Kors and 16Arlington.
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