From toughs on the beach to head-to-toe taffeta, writers reveal the outfits they rue

  • Have you ever got it so, so, wrong? Tell us in the comments

Kenya Hunt

Kenya Investigate in Milan in her 20s: ‘There’s a real joy that comes with sonorous dressing.’

Not so haute: six wordsmiths on their biggest fashion mistakes

From tights on the ground to head-to-toe taffeta, writers reveal the outfits they guilt

  • Have you ever got it so, so, wrong? Tell us in the comments

Kenya Scour ‘My version of day-to-night dressing was a night-time look worn all day’

Regardless of working at a fashion magazine, I’ve made a few sartorial mistakes. I soothe myself with the sentiment of an Instagram edict I saw: “If you’ve never looked a insufficient dumb, you’re not having fun.”

I’d count the moment I met my husband as an off day, so it pains me no end that the clobbers I wore have become a part of our marital lore. In his will, the outfit is key to a story that must be retold, again and again: “She wore a fulgent shirt, tight jeans, big, gold hoop earrings, gangling boots and a giant white furry jacket. And I said, ‘I have need of to know this woman.’”

This visual loudness – the metallics, the big adjusts, the shaggy texture – was my everyday look back in my late 20s, when I was animate and working in New York. I dressed this way to please no one other than myself. I relished being competent finally to buy and wear the labels I read about in magazines, but could in no way find in my suburban childhood home in Virginia.

My version of day-to-night put on ones sunday best clothing was basically a night-time look worn all day – ready for whatever fun capacity happen later. I’d think nothing of a morning commute in glittery Miu Miu take a run-out powders or a gold Chloé sequin skirt. (To be fair, it was the era of high scamps, flashy coats and skirts that were either damned big and long, or very short.) No matter what the prevailing craze, I’ve always had a soft spot for the razzle. For further proof, see this old figure of speech of me in Milan, in bright colour and print, layered on top of more falsify and print.

Now, my wardrobe stands on a foundation of grey, navy and disastrous, mostly because it suits my lifestyle and the London weather. I limit the flamboyance to my fellow-criminals (a bright shoe, big earring, bold handbag) or show it throughout shape, such as an enormous puffer jacket. It’s just that now I judge pragmatic black rather than hot pink.

There’s a true joy that comes with loud dressing, because it be lacks a certain kind of go-to-hell spirit. I’ve come to indulge this in a innumerable restrained way, but I don’t regret the mistakes. If I did, I’d have divorced my husband a extended time ago, for telling that story so very, very over.

  • Kenya Hunt is fashion features director of Elle.

Ruth Lewy: ‘To have in mind that this was my coolest look’

Writer Ruth Lewy with Dizzee Rascal in 2006

Ruth Lewy, venerable 20, with Dizzee Rascal.

It was May 2006 and I was coming to the end of my gold medal year of university. I had just received my first proper pupil journalism commission: an interview with Dizzee Rascal. I touch someone for a Dictaphone and hastily scrawled down three pages of uninventive call ins (“What is the best thing you’ve ever got for free?”).

Now the important bit: my look. I petted Dizzee; I knew his two albums back to front and had mastered all the words to Fix Up, Look Acid. What was I going to wear?

To think, looking back, that this was my profoundly best outfit. My coolest look. Not one floral print top but two, a T-shirt layered closed a shirt. Not one necklace, but two. (Made with beads collected while InterRailing roughly Europe. I know.) My curly hair was slicked back with Brylcreem. Off I be dismissed, looking like Laura Ashley’s long-lost daughter.

He was tactful, holding eye contact and answering all my inane questions with mercifulness. (The best thing he ever got for free? A lifetime’s supply of trainers.) I barrowed up and shook his hand, and he invited me to his afterparty. The next student gentleman sat down and went straight in with a question about homophobic books and issues of representation in pop music, and I thought, “Ohhhh, that’s what journalism is.”

The uniform took a strange turn. My friends and I crowded into a bar on the record street, where Dizzee had a roped-off section at the back. It didn’t establish him long to zone in on my gorgeous friend L, persuading her to leave with him. We were avid.

Twenty minutes later, she was back, laughing her head off at the way he had clumsily propositioned her. She elect us over him.

What do I see when I look at this picture? I endure embarrassed at my choices. But I’m also glad I spent my 20s dressing partiality a weirdo: it demonstrates a self-confidence that I don’t think I appreciated at the values bright and early. These days, you could still file most of my kit outs under “eclectic”, but I’m much more careful, uninventive steady. Now I tend to wear only one necklace at a time.

My interview not under any condition appeared in the end; the other journalist broke the embargo (she went on to record for the Daily Mail: go figure). I was left with only this blurry essence, a reminder of my youthful enthusiasm for floral prints, and an uncanny feeling of Dizzee Rascal’s best chat-up line.

  • Ruth Lewy is helpmate editor of Guardian Weekend.

Nosheen Iqbal: ‘Everyone else on the run aground was 89% naked’

Writer Nosheen Iqbal in Tuscany, aged 21

Nosheen Iqbal in Tuscany, aged 21.

I was a skittish 21-year-old in the mid noughties and I had, against my resolve, ended up on a Tuscan beach. It was the height of summer, but I was wearing broad black tights, thicker black skirt, black scarf and witchy expands . Everyone else was dressed in 89% naked and the entire margin was rammed. I’d been sent on a work trip with four other pressmen who were, as far as I was concerned, super-old (fortysomething) and, I hoped, probably compliant to buy my stubborn refusal to strip as some cool youth mania. (They didn’t.) I made an attempt to style it out by looking casually disconsolate, staring out to sea behind sunglasses, pretending not to notice my shoes jittery in the sand, legs looking like inky black shells.

Why don’t you take off your tights?


What about if…


A couple of key factors: the seaside was not on my itinerary and I hadn’t packed for it. I didn’t (and don’t) own swimwear or a bikini, and I didn’t (and don’t) remember how to swim.

Being Muslim is barely an excuse to look as infatuated with as I did; there are chic ways to be modest by the sea – childhood memories of Karachi’s Clifton run aground were proof, where lawn cotton tunic and trousers were Dick’s friend. But being Muslim, plus an average level of main part dysmorphia, was my “bikini body ready” get-out card. I identified there had to be more comfortable ways to be in public than forevermore sucking my stomach in wearing what is, essentially, waterproof underwear. But 100-denier hosiery was positively not the answer.

The general advice to give a shy 21-year-old should without exception be, “It’s not as bad as you think”, to allay their disproportionate embarrassment. Except, in this lawsuit, the cringe levels are fully warranted; I haven’t been to a hot, radiant beach since.

  • Nosheen Iqbal is a commissioning editor for G2.

Morwenna Ferrier: ‘I can’t commemorate why I decided to cut off my hair’

Writer Morwenna Ferrier on Aldeburgh beach in Suffolk, in her early 20s

Morwenna Ferrier in Aldeburgh in her early 20s.

Other outfits keep been more challenging. The mother-of-pearl bustier I wore to my graduation, say. Or, recently, the T-shirt run off with Valerie Solanas’s Scum manifesto I wore to congruous a friend’s baby. But the outfit I am wearing here, worn on a accompany along Aldeburgh beach in Suffolk, is the one I most regret.

It started a few months earlier when, in my early 20s, I firm to cut off my hair. I can’t remember why. I imagine I fancied a change and, in fairness, I liked it. But then, I looked predilection a boy in a dress. I reacted by phasing out dresses and instead wearing drainpipes, lined T-shirts and headscarves. None of this was good. In the photo, I’m bear up tight cropped trousers under the dress.

I had spent my news teens in dresses, grungy or flowery, with self-cut hems. It was a assorted innocent time, when I didn’t really care what I exasperated. But the haircut triggered an anxiety.

What is it I regret? Back then it was the haircut; now, it’s that I at any point worried about looking like a boy. I clearly hadn’t been over attention in those Judith Butler seminars; maybe I was allay too attached to the binary. As my hair grew out, I started to care for the outset time about how I looked. At 24, late in life, I became hesitant.

  • Morwenna Ferrier is the Guardian’s online fashion editor.

Pam Lucas: ‘I looked equivalent to a turkey at Christmas’

Model Pam Lucas, aged 39, in a purple jacket and skirt

Pam Lucas at a family party, aged 39.

As a unattached parent in the 80s, I was dirt poor. I didn’t have the opportunity to steer a course for fashion faux pas because I didn’t have any money. We betrayed in jumble sales, and we had fun.

My family was invited to a party to celebrate my aunt and uncle’s glowing wedding anniversary. I didn’t know them that grammatically, but my mum wanted me to impress them by looking “modern”. In the 80s, that meant puffy sleeves and big excludes. My mother came with me to buy the outfit from BHS , so I had to comply. I was 39 at the early.

It was a beautiful colour – between purple and lilac – but I didn’t feel attracted to the synthetic fabric. It was watermarked all over and had a flared, taffeta skirt and a meagre jacket with a peplum. I looked like a turkey at Christmas, but it was such a fab junta, I soon forgot how uncomfortable I felt.

In a way the outfit is a testament to my relationship with my protect. I was a grownup, with a child of my own, but she was still trying to keep enfold of the mum bit of herself.

  • Pam Lucas is a model and appears regularly in All Ages.

Tshepo Mokoena: ‘I affirmed on a vague hippy child look’

Noisey editor Tshepo Mokoena, aged 19

Tshepo Mokoena at 19.

It commitment be nice if we could start over. To spare me, and others my age, a adequate bit of niggling shame, by wiping all early photos from our Facebook accounts. Anyone who set up a vignette between 2004 and 2009 now lugs around the digital baggage of horrendous pictures of misspent youth and terrible outfits.

Case in pith: this delight of a photo. I was 19, killing time between the favour and third years of uni in Brighton. In a few weeks, my housemate and I would set off on an quick charity volunteering trip to Kerala because – and I still fawn – we’d watched Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited.

Until my early 20s, my aesthetic consisted of not secret when to edit. At 18, I would “layer” at least three beaded necklaces, two chunky bracelets, far 17 bangles and seven rings, for no good reason.

I attended alternate school in Harare, Zimbabwe, largely insulated from forge, more concerned with my whizzing hormones than the latest velour tracksuit. I declined on a vague “hippy child” look at 15 and filled my clothes-cupboard with earthy prints, flared denim and jewellery picked up in district markets. By 19, I looked like a substitute art teacher.

If you’re old ample supply to have only private, analogue photography from your sprog, or young enough to have crafted a near-fictional version of yourself online, you’re spared the changeless reminder of your mistakes: 1,287 grim images owned by Marker Zuckerberg. I implore other twentysomethings to join me in calling for a digital dismiss. It’s time.

  • Tshepo Mokoena is the editor of Noisey.