Politically authentic: literal dressing in politics

25.7.17


Politicians are not usually literal and in the age of spin and social media, it can be hard to decipher what is actually being said.

That's why literal dressing is so interesting and a handy way to read the minds and moods of our political figures.

Theresa May is one particular literal dresser. Known for her love of Amanda Wakeley, Escada and Russell & Bromley, May's sophisticated wardrobe can often be very literal. When visiting Wales, May often wears red, the bright hue referencing the fierce flag of the Celtic nation. And on her trips to Scotland, May subtly finds a way to merge the union into her outfit. Her wide ranging repertoire of navy pieces are frequently reserved for appearances as Conservative leader or when she is on the world stage as Prime Minister. The classic colour projects confidence and leadership - she's literally showing that she is in charge.


The bright blue Daniel Blake Orchid jacket and matching skirt is one example of this, and May has worn the suit on her return to Downing Street, for G20 meetings and PMQs. May also wore red and white to welcome the Japanese Prime Minister to Chequers.



May's Amanda Wakeley coat and dress that she wore to enter Downing Street in July 2016 is perhaps one of her most literal outfits, the neon flash of yellow projecting a new, bright change. And more recently, the acid green jacket May teamed with a black, white and green dress to Wimbledon neatly echoed the neat and fresh manicured lawns of the All England Tennis Club.


We also see May go literal in her choice of shoes. The Charlize steel toe pumps from Russell & Bromley were perhaps selected to project strength and her iron will, and the leopard kitten heels to show her fierce sense of style are just two of many examples that spring to mind.


Other politicians have also picked up on the power of literal dressing. Andrea Leadsom often dons a bright blue suit and a magenta top, perhaps a subtle nod to the UK flag. And she recently wore a vivid orange shift dress, with some commenting this was in reference to the recent UK Government agreement with the DUP.


Amber Rudd is also a literal dresser, with her black knee length coat with white piping detail a subtle reference to police uniforms and her responsibility for policing as Home Secretary.


It's not just our politicians who are in on the act. The Duchess of Cambridge is a fan of going literal, wearing a floral Rochas dress to the Chelsea Flower Show and a nautical themed Alexander McQueen dress with epaulettes to a sailing educational centre in Portsmouth. And of course, the Queen has been doing literal dressing for years.

So how can we embrace the literal way of dressing?

  • Pick out subtle references to your destination or event in your outfit. Accessories are an easy and fun way to go with a theme or feeling.
  • Select colours to show favour with your hosts- tapping into national colours is a great way to do this
  • If you're not feeling too brave to be 100% literal, experimenting with nail polish is a fun and cheap way to embrace this trend
  • Christmas is perhaps the best time of year to go literal- go glitzy or go home!

End of term and PMQs: Theresa May's Week

22.7.17

We've made it to the summer recess! Winding up the session- here's a recap of Theresa May's week.

On Monday, Theresa May attended the 1922 Committee summer reception at the House of Commons. Wearing a jersey green dress, navy blazer and vintage Russell & Bromley kitten heels, May addressed her fellow MPs.




On Tuesday, May welcomed the Estonian Prime Minister to Downing Street. Summer whites were back with May wearing her new white blazer, teaming it with a navy shift dress, the Amanda Wakeley oversized chain set and the LK Bennett leopard print kitten heels.


The Cabinet also had their new official photo!


On Wednesday, May took part in the last PMQs of the term. Bright blue was the order of the day, with May wearing her Orchid Daniel Blake jacket and matching skirt. May teamed her outfit with her custom Charlotte Olympia kitten heels and a string of pearls. The PM also took part in an interview on LBC with Iain Dale.




In the evening, the Prime Minister hosted a PRIDE reception in the Downing Street garden.

And if you missed it, here's coverage of our despatch infographic on Mail Online.

Happy summer recess everybody! 

Political Running: How Julie Bishop makes athleisure cool

18.7.17


There's no escape from a politician's busy schedule and in between the endless meetings and travel opportunities, it can be hard to fit in regular exercise.

Julie Bishop is perhaps the most active political exerciser. As Australia's Foreign Minister, Bishop travels the world in the name of diplomacy. But despite her gruelling schedule, Bishop always finds time for a run.

Her commitment to jogging has been widely reported, and whilst travelling the world, Bishop always rises early for an hour's run. From the beaches of Cairns to the sweltering climates of Indonesia, Bishop is dedicated to the cause.

Julie Bishop is well known for her fashionable dress sense and this stylish look also makes itself known in her workout gear. A true champion of athleisure, Bishop sports coordinated items for her jogs. Black running tights with graphic logos, matching quilted vests and neon tops are key to her look, as are trusty pairs of Nike trainers.


Aside from the motivation of doing a run, for most of us (me included,) choosing what to wear for a workout can be as tough as the physical pain itself! Bishop is a great example of how selecting simple, no fuss athleisure pieces is always a good choice. Her look is effortless, and displays her love of fashion that provides a function.

Julie Bishop's running look reminds me in many ways of Claire Underwood's athleisure attire in House of Cards. Classic and no-nonsense, the two also sport eerily similar haircuts.

So if you're a running enthusiast or an eager beginner like me, look to Julie Bishop for how to do athleisure in a chic and effective way.

Australia, Spain and Maidenhead: Theresa May's Week

16.7.17


The Prime Minister of Australia, the Spanish State Visit and visits in her constituency- here's a run down of Theresa May's week.



On Monday, Theresa May welcomed her Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull to Number 10. The pair visited Borough Market as part of their visit, remembering the victims of the terrorist attack and meeting with survivors and traders.



They then held a press conference in Number 10. For this visit, the PM wore an Amanda Wakeley Aztec print dress, black tailored jacket, Amanda Wakeley oversized chain necklace and bracelet and the Divine flats from Russell & Bromley.





On Tuesday, Theresa May spoke at the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices and at the FCO Leaders Conference. For these two events, the PM wore an Amanda Wakeley navy and sky blue coat over navy trousers and a white top. She accessorised with an oversized strand of pearls and the leopard Frame flats from Russell & Bromley.





On Wednesday, the Prime Minister was part of the welcoming party for the state visit of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain. Theresa May wore a navy Amanda Wakeley dress, white tailored jacket, nude leather wrist gloves, a selection of Swarovski Crystaldust bracelets and snakeskin kitten heels. Her hat was a custom design from Liz Felix Millinery.



In the evening, the PM attended the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace wearing a red stain gown, black heels and an Anya Hindmarch evening bag.


On Thursday, Theresa May welcomed King Felipe to Downing Street. She wore a red Amanda Wakeley dress in his honour, teaming it with a black tailored jacket, oversized pearls and the LK Bennett x Issa kitten heels.


In the evening, the PM attended the Spectator Summer Party in St James's Park.


On Friday, Theresa May was back in her Maidenhead constituency, attending the opening of the Sir Nicholas Winton Memorial. Here she wore black trousers, a black and white Amanda Wakeley jacket and the Charlize black loafers from Russell & Bromley.

Infographic: Theresa May's Clothes at the Despatch Box

13.7.17


It's been a year since Theresa May became Prime Minister- and what a rollercoaster 12 months it has been!

Despite the ups and downs, one thing remains constant- Theresa May's fabulous sense of style.

The PM's most visible commitment in her diary is her weekly outing to Prime Minister's Questions. Facing MPs and the Leader of the Opposition, May is a strong performer in this bear pit.

I've always been interested to see what May wears at PMQs, and what her sartorial selections for this often brutal event suggest. I decided to take a deeper look at the clothes she has been wearing during her time at the despatch box.

Focusing on PMQ appearances and official statements, I've created this infographic analysing Theresa May's clothes in the Commons chamber. From favourite designers to fancy footwear, I've analysed what Theresa May wears and considered the reasoning behind her choices.

Here's what I found: 

  • Amanda Wakeley and Escada are the two most frequently worn designers by Theresa May at the despatch box. Both combined, May wore items from these two brands for over 60% of her appearances.
  • Theresa May's favourite colour is navy. She chose this true blue hue for almost three quarters of these televised appearances. 
  • Russell & Bromley again topped the poll for the Prime Minister's most loved shoe brand. She wore a shoe from the brand 26 times at the despatch box. 
  • Theresa May wore the gold Twister block heel from Russell & Bromley the most for these televised appearances. This was closely followed by the chic Vivacious heel from the same brand. 
  • And unsurprisingly, British designers continue to be the Prime Minister's preferred outfitters, with a reliance on classic British tailoring and accessories. 

But what was different? 


  • Heels have overtaken flats as the most worn type of shoe. This is most likely because of the added height and confidence they give to the wearer in front of the TV cameras.
  • Bright colours didn't get a look in, with May never wearing red at the despatch box. With blue associated with the Conservative Party and red for Labour, this is a logical and obvious choice. 

What does this suggest about Theresa May's despatch box style?


May understands the power and complexities of a televised forum. She selects tailored, timeless pieces that will look good on camera and present her as a strong and sophisticated leader. She picks items of clothing that give confidence and make her feel good, relying on trusted brands to help her get the job done. 

Theresa May selects suitably serious pieces for big events, choosing classic, no fuss pieces like a white shirt and a sharp navy suit for big announcements like the Budget and Brexit negotiations. And for solemn statements, like responses to the Westminster terror attack, May uses black to convey her sympathy and solidarity. 

But just as May chooses classic pieces, she does like to wear 'wildcard' items. In this very public arena oversized necklaces and statement bangles are two favourites, as is a sophisticated silk scarf. Theresa May memorably used this public event to show her support of young designers, wearing an eye catching silk scarf by the talented Megan Ferris to a PMQ session for all the world to see. Genuine touches like these makes Theresa May a real champion of British fashion and provides us with an insight into just how much she loves to accessorise. 

As her political future remains uncertain, one thing does remain constant- Theresa May truly is the most fashionable MP we'll see at the despatch box! 


I'd love to hear what you think of this infographic- share your thoughts with me in the comments or on Twitter! View the full infographic here.

My top picks in the Russell & Bromley sale

10.7.17

It only happens twice a year, and when it does, you need to act fast! There are some great deals in the Russell & Bromley summer sale this year- here are some of my favourite picks...







PMQs and the G20: Theresa May's week

9.7.17


From Westminster to Hamburg, Theresa May's week has been a busy one! Here's what the Prime Minister has got up to.


On Monday, Theresa May welcomed guests to Downing Street to celebrate Eid. For the event, May wore the Dsill grey dress and matching jacket from Escada.


On Wednesday, we were back in the House of Commons for the weekly Prime Minister's Questions. May was on fine form, wearing our favourite navy blue skirt suit. Accessorising with a string of simple pearls, May wore the LK Bennett leopard kitten heels.



Later in the day, the Prime Minister welcomed the Ukrainian Prime Minister to Downing Street.


On Thursday, Theresa May and her husband Philip headed to Hamburg for the G20 meetings. May wore her familiar two tone blue Amanda Wakeley shift and matching coat, accessorising with the navy Balls necklace from Mirta Bijoux and the Divine black flats from Russell & Bromley.



On Friday, May took part in the G20 meetings, wearing the bright blue Orchid jacket and matching skirt from British designer Daniel Blake. She wore a string of pearls and a custom pair of animal print kitten heels from Charlotte Olympia. Her bag is the Radford design from Amanda Wakeley.



On Saturday, May took part in further meetings, wearing a white and light blue patterned jacket and navy trousers. The Delicious leopard flats from Russell & Bromley made a reappearance, as did the Amanda Wakeley oversized chain necklace and bracelet set.


One Beat Designs Mlekoshi playground