Look who's talking style!

WARDROBE WATCH

Look who's talking style!

Posh believes that looking good isn’t about money, it’s about style, and style never goes out of fashion.

Not so long ago, the mere mention of Victoria Beckham in the same breath as the phrase style icon would have resulted in much eye-rolling and rude snorts of derision from the fashion pack.

Back when she was Queen of the WAGs, as wife of England captain David Beckham, she’d lose no time in maximising her non-existent chest, flashing as much cleavage as often as she could, channelling her inner tramp in denim hot pants, and rather improbably busting out of everything from black corsets to 20s-style flapper dresses. She could afford the most expensive, most cutting-edge designers, it seemed, but she that didn’t necessarily mean she knew if their clothes flattered her or not.

For Victoria the WAG, thin was in and ostentatious displays of football’s purchasing power were de rigeur. She teamed tiny hotpants and mini skirts with big hair and bigger accessories, so the end result was more often than not a caricature that caused fashion editors to smile quietly into their notebooks. Mr Blackwell even called her the Worst Dressed Celebrity of 2007, saying: “Wears one skinny-mini monstrosity after another, pouty Posh can really wreck ’em.”

But all of that changed when the former Posh Spice turned fashion designer.
“Don’t let it all hang out. It’s much sexier to leave a little to the imagination,” she told readers of Glamour magazine in a list of style commandments at the height of her WAG-dom, but it seems she only learned to take her own advice years later.

By 2008, she finally understood what that commandment actually meant, promising that her dare-to-bare look had been consigned to history. “I know how a dress should sit. I’ve worn so many in the past and when I see the photographs I think, crikey, my boobs are up round my neck again, because the corsets are too short and not cut high enough,” she said in 2008.

And proof that the penny had finally dropped was evident in her wardrobe choices since – and in the fact that she made the cover of three different editions of style bible Vogue in the space of a year: British Vogue in April 2008, Indian Vogue in November and Russian Vogue in 2009. (She’s also fronted German and Turkish Vogue, but American Vogue remains a distant dream).

It’s one of the most remarkable fashion transformations of our times.
British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman said the change reflected a newfound fashion savvy: “She’s realised that the obvious isn’t always fashionable.”
That education came in stages, though, proving that style can be acquired.

As a Spice Girl, her look was more street smart than red carpet, more high street than French avenue. Money can buy you labels, she seemed to have learned (although why it took so long is a little mystifying given that she was actually embarrassed about the family’s wealth while growing up) and expressed it in her style choices. As a WAG, she experimented with her hair, perhaps high on the attention each flick of a stylist’s scissors brought, going from long to short, from blonde to brunette in weeks, if not days.

But it was around this time that her education began in earnest. As she grew into her WAG-dom, she experimented with her love for fashion and began designing in 2004 – a limited-edition range of denim for Rock & Republic called VB Rocks – before moving on to design her own jeans line, dvb Style, and launching a fragrance with husband David. But she only came into her own years later, after moving to the United States with David’s career, and after an endorsement from Marc Jacobs brought acceptance from the fashion fraternity.

By this time she was championing Roland Mouret and Herve Leger, channelling her inner Holly Golightly (or Jackie Kennedy, take your pick).

Perhaps it was America that changed her, but by the time first her collection of party frocks hit the ramps in 2008, she had earned herself a master’s in fashion. Critics were stunned into submission, praising her attention to detail and describing the line as “classy”, “desirable” and “accomplished with not a single dud”. Perhaps they weren’t cutting-edge designs and maybe they were inspired by Roland Mouret and Givenchy, but Beckham’s garments – both what she wears and what she sells – are sharp and chic.

By fall 2008, when David and Victoria turned up at Macy’s to hawk their new Signature line, she had got it just right. A sharp grey number actually endowed her with curves, although all the attention was on her Antonio Berardi patent leather thigh-high PVC boots that added five and a half inches to her height without benefit of a heel. Once she had figured out what worked for her – unabashed 50s glamour – she was able to tweak the look with the odd attention-grabbing accessory.

Now, the 36-year-old’s outfits are well thought through and beautifully accessorised, whether it’s jeans with statement jackets and It bags, or elegant pencil skirts that elegantly accentuate her femininity. She may not be particularly good looking, but she is now always stunningly turned out.

And even though she rarely cracks a smile, it’s clear she’s fascinated by fashion, enjoys dressing up and totally believes a woman is only as chic as her last outfit. “I love fashion, and that’s how I express myself. I think about (what I’m going to wear) before I go to bed at night,” she said this year.

So for those looking to channel her style, the first lesson is to find out what works for you and own it. “Whether you’ve got £20 to spend in Top Shop or £2,000 to spend at Gucci, looking good isn’t about money, it’s about style — and style never goes out of fashion,” she said in her list of ten commandments.

Second, pay attention to bags, shoes and sunglasses, which Posh believes should always be perfect no matter what you are wearing. “I’m not a supermodel,” she said. “I make the best of what I’ve got. I work out to look the best that I can, but I’m no Gisele.”
In other words, even an ordinary looking women can show off her advantages to perfection. Particularly in high heels, which she says are necessary to the look.

“Absolutely (heels make my feet) hurt. Absolutely! I’m not going to lie. But no pain, no gain, as they say. I don’t mind. I will suffer. I don’t wear heels every day, but when I’m out, that’s how I feel confident.”

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