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Anna Wintour: Bold Simplicity

Anna Wintour with coffeeOur Tahlo Muse series looks at successful women and how they manage their personal style, as a way of helping the rest of us simplify and demystify our own.

Is there freedom or pressure that comes with being one of the most powerful women in fashion? Are you allowed to have a ‘bad outfit day’ or, like the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes, does everyone simply think your bad outfit is wonderful because you chose it?

Either way, Anna Wintour has taken the step that many high profile women have, and created a structure in the way she dresses in order to give herself freedom.


The demands of her day

Anna’s day is dealing with trends, fads, new designers, dramatic silhouettes…. It is her full-time job to manage others to interpret the merry-go-round of fashion for the world. It would be an impossibility for her to find the time to apply this to herself. To outsource this to someone else would be too difficult unless the brief was incredibly tight: “Get me all dresses exactly like this”.

In her working day, she needs to present as:
  1. Visually interesting; a curator of beautiful things
  2. Not a fashion victim; to transcend the fad
  3. Commanding: not frivolous

Point to Ponder: If Anna Wintour, one of the most well-positioned women to do so, doesn’t spend time interpreting new silhouettes or fads to wear herself, should we?


Know what you stand for

It is clear from interviews and comments that Anna believes each of us should have a signature personal style. In the same way a designer has a ‘point of view’ and we come to know what they stand for, a woman should have a personal style that communicates what she stands for. Feminine, sexy, austere, quirky?

“Create your own style. Let if by unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others” - Anna Wintour


Anna’s style code

Given the world in which Anna Wintour operates, her everyday style code is beautifully simple:

1. A no fuss, classic silhouette. Typically this is a fit & flare or a pencil dress, and it is almost always below the knee. Often it will be a higher round neck.
2. An amazing print in a bold colour. The colour and print is the hero, or work of art, in Anna’s look. The classic silhouette becomes the canvas.
3. Nude shoes. As well as a nude pump, she also wears metallic as a nude. She isn’t afraid of wearing the same shoe often. She typically doesn’t match her shoes to her outfit.
4. Necklace. There is a subculture obsessed with Anna’s necklaces. She will layer multiple similar jewel necklaces to varying effect but their style is always similar.

Oh, and sunglasses and her signature hairstyle. 

She does deviates from this - she has an amazing collection of coats, sometimes wears boots and occasionally switches her classic dress for a skirt and top, or suit in a similar silhouette. But even then, she has distilled her style into something that is very much Anna Wintour.


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