Original Graphic by Alison Yousefi
Welcome to Who What Wear UK's first-ever Wellness Week. With that "back to school" feeling in the air we thought what better time to hit pause and reset on the health and happiness of you and your wardrobe. From the good mood-making outfits no one would ever feel sad in to the savviest ways you can update your look with little-to-no cash, the psychology of our purchasing habits to getting your sleepwear lined up for some extra z's, check back all week for a daily boost of style success.
If there's one girl who never fails to make me smile with her outfit choices, it's Anum Bashir of Desert Mannequin. In a sea of social media same-same, she stands out for her joyful wardrobe and ever-present grin or refreshingly comical poses, and makes my feed a far cheerier place. Such a rare combination in this supposedly "serious" business might sound like she couldn't possibly be über-chic—but hold that thought, because this rising style star manages to walk the line between looking entirely sophisticated and having a nonstop fun fest with her varied, personality-filled closet. It's basically the holy grail of personal style, and we have so much to learn. In the spirit of our fashion-based Wellness Week, we thought who better to fill us in on happy outfit-making than this Doha-based guru?
Keep reading to see the looks Anum shot exclusively for us, and to get her insights into creating a more uplifting style for yourself.
WHO WHAT WEAR UK: Are there any fast-track pieces that will instantly cheer you up?
ANUM BASHIR: Colourful printed silk scarves; a funky pair of sunglasses; furry slippers (like the ones Miu Miu, Prada and Gucci are making); a classic handbag; anything by Prada, Rosie Assoulin, Isa Arfen and Gucci too.
WWW UK: What's the best way for someone to start being more experimental?
AB: Get inspired. Look at what some of the crazy gals are doing, and then adapt. Always remember to make it your own. If you're not comfortable, it'll show right away. That is key! The best way to integrate prints into your wardrobe is to start small or buy vintage. You'll never lose; I promise.
WWW UK: Have you always dressed in such an upbeat way? Where do you think that attitude towards clothing comes from?
AB: No, actually I went through a serious normcore phase. I had such a minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired approach to dressing for a couple years, until I realised my entire wardrobe looked beige and dressing up felt more like a chore than a fun experiment.
I started small, just like I suggested, with off-kilter sunglasses, vintage Hermès scarves and lots of shoes. That opened the door to something way, way bigger. Today, half my closet is colourful, and chock-full of prints. It feels nice—almost like you're always packing for your next vacation.
WWW UK: If someone can't spend a great deal on their wardrobe, what would you suggest as an easy way to liven up a look?
AB: Vintage all the way.
WWW UK: Is it important to you that you look after your clothes?
AB: Yes, I am very very kind to my possessions, mainly because I work hard to be able to buy that next pair of expensive shoes, so I like to make them last. Ever since I was very young, organisation and care were key factors in the maintenance of my wardrobe. Those still hold true today.
WWW UK: Do you have any particularly sentimental pieces that you've worn forever?
WWW UK: In your opinion, can fashion be too serious at times?
AB: It can, most definitely. It can also be unattainable. Oftentimes, whilst surfing the web, I'll stumble upon so many amazing pieces that I'd love to own but won't buy as I simply can't justify the price to myself. Damn rent always gets in the way. Fashion can be serious, although I believe at its very premise it shouldn't be and more often than not isn't. The industry and those in it have such inspiring and creative capabilities to take us anywhere simply via clothes, which I find truly remarkable.
WWW UK: Do you think the runway's current eccentricity and vibrancy is in response to a gloomy global mood?
AB: Perhaps, but fashion has always had its eccentricities and vibrancy. There are designers who have become legendary because of it. If anything, I think fashion has become quite politically charged, which truly mirrors the state of affairs today. With movements such as feminism on the rise, we saw it injected every which way on the runway. Fashion, in essence, is a very porous bulletin board that reflects our global social, political, economic and environmental states. That's what I love about it. It's a community of individuals who choose to communicate via clothing.
Next up, how to detox your closet.