I haven’t done any proper fashion modelling in ages (being heavily pregnant means you can only model tent-like garments and the postpartum period is, quite frankly, a sartorial disaster**) and so it was a delight to get back into the swing of things with a shoot for the newly-launched denim brand AND/OR.
AND/OR has a very cool, LA-inspired aesthetic that makes you think of sunny, palm-lined boulevards and those effortlessly stylish girls you see milling about wearing jersey t-shirts and denim but looking a million dollars. Which is totally my sort of vibe. (See above – denim shorts thrown on with a chunky-knit jumper and sexy little ankle boots. Very Coachella-after-Sundown.)
They use authentic denim that’s cut, washed and sewn in LA and all of the pieces are inspired by that relaxed, outdoorsy sort of lifestyle that can only be enjoyed if you don’t live in Britain with its 362 days of rainfall per year.
There are four key jeans styles at the heart of the collection; the Abbot Kinney Skinny, the Venice Beach Boyfriend, the Silver Lake Straight and the style I’m wearing below, the Avalon Ankle Grazer.
Now look, I’ll admit that I am a jeans person in a big way. I have come to realise that – no matter how many times I try to overhaul my look, or push myself out of my fashion comfort zone – jeans are always going to be my wardrobe staple. Whether I’m wearing them with ballet flats and French Girl Hair (left to dry naturally, bit tousled, minimal styling – it’s a “thing”, apparently, which is great as I’ve been doing nothing to my hair all of my life and now finally I’m on-trend) or vamping them up with potentially life-threatening heels for an evening out, jeans are my uniform. The starting point for nearly every outfit.
One of my favourite ways of “making an effort” for the evening (note the sarcastic inverted commas!) is to simply throw on high heels with my daytime outfit. I swap ballet flats for heels, let my hair out from its top-knot and put some lipstick or lipgloss on. As modelled by Yours Truly, above, with the Avalon Ankle Grazers, a gorgeously soft charcoal Pigment Washed Top and some striking heels for dramatic effect.
(These are the Bandra Embellished Courts, which have very cool tassels at the back.) I have to say that the Avalon jeans are so soft and stretchy, really incredibly comfortable – as are the Abbot Kinney Skinny. Stretchy but with a good, structured fit that holds you in and gives you good shape. (Which is what makes all the difference between premium denim and that very cheap “jegging” style fabric, the stuff that makes you look as though your flesh has been pushed into a stonewashed denim sausage skin!)
Oh and here’s what I think will most definitely be my summer uniform this year – the AND/OR Shirt Dress, which has to be the ultimate throw-it-on piece. It’s simple, comfortable, but effortlessly chic and has that laid-back kind of feel that can be made more glamorous with a big pair of sunglasses or kept low-key and beachy with some flat sandals.
Look at the tassels on the amazing Levina sandals! I’m a total tassel convert after doing this shoot. And I love the cut of the shirt dress – I think it’s actually quite sexy, in an obscure sort of way. It reminds me of those gorgeous magazine shots when women wear oversized men’s shirts and their hair is all bed-head and tousled.
And that’s the beauty of the AND/OR collection – it’s all very undone and casual, but it’s so easy to make things look sultry or chic or a little bit edgy in that quintessential LA way. Jeans are really well-priced with the skinnies starting at £85 (they do quite a few different colours and washes) and accessories and tops start at £25 for a soft, flattering t-shirt. You can browse the whole range at John Lewis here.
*This post has been sponsored by John Lewis
**I talk about my postpartum body as though it’s a distant memory – it’s not. You’ve never seen anyone have to breathe in so much in your life – I almost turned blue at one point. And my boobs. The boobs! I had to strap them down with industrial strength gaffa tape. I wrote a post about postpartum modelling here.