Alice Levine Tries On Finery’s Great New Blouse With Everything In Her Wardrobe So You Don’t Have To
The Debrief: And also because you're not allowed in her wardrobe
Finery, that cool, new-ish brand that has all that nice stuff we want to wear, have just released their first ever collaboration. They’ve teamed up with six brilliant women, who are all brilliant at different things, to design forever pieces. There are six, of course, one for each woman: a jumpsuit, a jacket, a dress, a pair of trousers, a sweatshirt and – our pick – Alice Levine’s forever blouse. We asked the TV-and-radio-presenter-come-supperclubber to wear it nine different ways so that you can see what to pair it with, and to tell us about shopping, and clothes, and trying her hand as a designer.
1 The Denim Skirt
Finery said something that I felt really rang true; they said all women have an item that they buy over and over, because they’re constantly looking for the ultimate one… we want to create the forever piece, so you don’t need to keep buying it. And then they said to me, what would yours be? And immediately I thought, what do I have the most of in my wardrobe? And that would be blouses.
2 The Red Coat
I love that combination, with the frills and everything – there’s almost, weirdly, a really girly military look to it, the red and the blue. Also I’m such a coat fiend, that’s a bit of an Achilles heel of mine - I have about 1000 coats. I do need to get rid of some. All my other stuff is scrumpled up on the floor, and there’s this vast array of coats – oh and wait, I’ve worn the same coat for the last 5 weeks.
3 The Cropped Jeans
I started shopping for vintage when I was in sixth form, and I met a lot of very stylish girls who just seemed to have really cool second hand things. I lived in Nottingham and there’s really great vintage shopping there, so I kind of got into that, and enjoyed not looking like everybody else. Because there’s that period where all you want to do is look like everybody else, where I was like: I just want to blend in, I don’t want anyone to notice me, I need to have… I can’t even remember what it was, probably Kappa trousers that everybody else had that my mum wouldn’t let me have. And I think I emerged from that. You find a bit more confidence, I think, when you leave school, and realise it’s ok if I like something that other people don’t like.
4 The Pleated Skirt
I always like things that aren’t really supposed to be aimed at me, that aren’t supposed to be for my demographic, I suppose. Like I’ve always shopped in M&S, and I know M&S is super cool now, but I’ve always enjoyed finding things that weren’t. I probably shop in charity shops more than I shop in vintage shops, because I like the chase. In a vintage shop, somebody’s already decided what’s good and what’s not, and you don’t find a gem – you don’t always get the thrill of the catch.
5 The A-line skirt
I actually think blouses are really useful items. Sometimes people think they’re a bit… either nana-y, or a bit formal. But they’re so useful because they feel really put together, and you just sling them on. It’s just a nobrainer for me. Every time I went in for a meeting [with Finery], I was really intimidated - obviously because they dress in amazing Finery clothes every day, but also because they’ve all got such good ideas. I went in with a kind of GCSE style moodboard; I put together loads of stuff from catwalks, and vintage blouses I had, and I brought those in with me. They know their stuff, so I was more coming in with my ideas for features and fittings. They have that great technical knowledge: do you want a dart here? Do you want the placket to lie flat? And I’m like - I didn’t even know the word placket, this is great!
6 The Retro Jumper
I deliberately went for a more 70s pointy collar on the blouse. I was umming and aahing, because I do really like 60s shapes, and that’s what I would usually gravitate towards. But then I saw some really nice collars on the catwalks - Miu Miu have done quite a few nice 70s inspired blouses - so I thought, I’m going to go for a bit of a longer, pointier collar, and that looks so great layered under things. And this is a bit of a seventies vibe jumper, which is perfect, and then you’ve got the frills coming out at the cuff.
7 The Lace Pencil Skirt
As I get older, I know better what suits me, rather than just what I’m drawn to. I know a bit more what shapes are flattering. In the past I’d have though, ooh, that’s something everyone’s wearing, I’m going to try it, but now I’m a bit more reluctant to do that. I’ve kind of got my formula that works ok. Having said that, you almost can’t avoid wearing trends on the British high street, even if you don’t think you’re doing it. We’re all wearing polonecks, we’re all wearing velvet… But I don’t get the trend frenzy, I’m quite restrained in that sense. Probably because I can’t afford to be like: I’ve got to have it now!
8 The Dungarees
I always layer these dungarees with a little jumper or one of the blouses I have. lt feels like such a put together look but it actually is really casual as well. I’d wear it with my loafers and feel dressed down, or put it with some nice pumps and it feels dressed up.
9 The Trench Coat
[Designing] is definitely marrying elements, you need there to be a balance. I’d think, I really like that exaggerated lapel, and then I thought we’re doing all these frills, so that’s going to feel really over the top… So it’s definitely similar [to designing a menu] in that you’re thinking how do those pieces fit together – how do you make a menu feel like a while, and how do you make a garment feel like a whole, not just a series of finishes or a series of details. You come to it initially with all these disparate pictures – a picture of a cuff, or a collar, or a button, and you kind of have to marry it all.
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