Welcome to the latest highly exciting instalment of Who What Wear UK’s Best Wardrobes in Britain. It’s where we do exactly what it says on the tin: delve into the most fantastical, awe-inspiring and downright influential wardrobes in this fair country of ours. We’re honing in on the women who cause the street style photographers to press their shutters as much as the characters you don’t yet know—the ones who fly under the radar with secretly incredible clothing collections.
Lucy Williams’s Instagram feed is as sun-drenched as they get… On her “grid,” she takes her followers to Miami, Mauritius and back again in a matter of weeks. She might spend a big chunk of the year getting dressed out of a suitcase, but Shepherd’s Bush is her base and the home to her wardrobe. Lucy even manages to embody her “life is a beach” aesthetic on the dreariest of days in London.
She started taking pictures with her just-washed hair still a little damp, air-drying as if she’s just taken a dip in the Pacific Ocean. She often refers to herself as a “retired Floridian,” and she hopped onto her kitchen counter, mug of tea in hand, in tequila sunrise colours and flip-flops looking like a resident of the Sunshine State. One quick scan around her living room and you’ll see evidence of a life well-travelled—there’s a gigantic shell next to the kitchen sink, pictures of surfers and palm trees, and Assouline books filled with fantasy swimming pools.
Despite her love of island life, Lucy’s way of getting dressed has a very London sensibility. She lives in jeans and printed dresses, doesn’t wear heels, and never likes to feel too “done.” She’s one of the country's original influencers, with over 450,000 followers, and her fierce fan base makes her a safe pair of hands for any fashion brand. The word “influence” is certainly overused in 2019, but Lucy’s impact on how British women dress is undeniable, as shown by her recent jewellery collection with Missoma. The chunky necklaces and bracelets had a waiting list of more than 2000 people.
She might have hundreds of thousands of followers, but Lucy isn’t one of those influencers sat refreshing her feed every two seconds like a nervous twitch—she left her phone in the other room, and doesn’t let likes dictate how she gets dressed or what she posts. Keep scrolling to see Lucy’s wardrobe, read how she has assembled her collection over the years and meet her dog Finn.
How has your style changed over the years?
There has been a lot of trial and error—funnily enough, I feel like I dress younger now than when I was 25. I think when I was younger, I was trying to be chic, but now I realize I’m not very chic, and that’s okay. I’m probably a bit more experimental, playful and wear more colour more than I used to. I still have a real affinity for great denim, leather jackets and classic boots, but I mix it up a bit more. I probably take more risks and have more fun with it now, and I don’t overthink it.
How do you balance playful pieces with classic investments?
If you look at my wardrobe, it can sometimes look like its all colour and a bit crazy—but behind the scenes, there are a lot of basics. I live in Re/Done jeans and good white T-shirts, leather jackets and denim jackets. If I put a leather jacket over a dress, it immediately feels like me. It’s the same with a great pair of boots, whether it’s Dr Martens, my new Miu Mius or my chunky ’80s ones; having a big solid pair of boots makes me feel like me. It’s having those staples that can solidify stuff, and then you can play around with the rest.
Colour and print can be intimidating—how did you start being more experimental?
You can get so caught up with what’s chic and what’s cool—but now if I like it, I wear it. I don’t think too much. I do try to balance it out and think, All I’ve bought in the last month is orange; I should probably mix it up more. And I do sometimes have to remind myself, You don’t own a pair of black shoes, and make some classic purchases that balance everything out.
What do you choose to invest in?
Bags are a real weakness of mine and are something I really invest in. They always have been—even when I was a teenager buying bags from Accessorize, I’ve always had a ridiculous amount of bags. I love vintage bags, and you can’t go wrong with a Loewe; they’re an investment, but I wear them constantly. Loewe is one of those great brands that is statement, but it isn’t too showy.
I also think everyone should have a great leather jacket, and you get what you pay for, so you need to buy a good-quality one. You can get great stuff on the high street, but I do believe in a false economy, and sometimes it pays to buy better-quality classics. Saying that, though, my first-ever leather jacket was from Topshop, and I wore it for five years, to the point there were no pockets left and my hand went through the lining.
You can find great things on the high street, but I’m a real perfectionist about details. I don’t really care where something is from, as long as the hardware is right or the fit of the jeans is perfect. For one person, their perfect jeans will be H&M, and that’s great, but for someone else, you might need to go to Re/Done or J Brand and find them that way.
Which are your favourite denim brands?
I’m going to be a bit listy now, but Re/Done definitely, J Brand, Mother, Agolde and then probably Levi’s. I love jeans and have a ridiculous amount of pairs. Re/Done are my favourites, but the others I wear a lot of, and for a pair of black skinny or kick-flare jeans, it’s J Brand.
What was your inspiration for your latest Missoma collection?
We started talking about it last November, and I knew I wanted to do something nostalgic. It’s called 1987, which is the year I was born. I wanted it to be staples—the perfect chains, the perfect hoops—but to have a maximalist feel to it with a foot in the past. It’s my dream collection of jewellery: everything I’d personally want to wear now. Lots of the pieces—the waffle hoops and the lucky charm bracelet—are inspired by my mum’s jewellery collection from the ’80s. My grandma had a similar bracelet to the charm bracelet.
On Lucy Williams: Bside Jeans jacket; Agolde jeans; Converse shoes; Loewe Canvas Bag (£775)
Does Instagram influence your style, or do you try not to pay attention to what people engage with?
I try not to let that influence me. It’s important with Instagram to put the blinkers on and not pay attention to other things; just do you. The whole joy of Instagram and why people enjoy following people is personal style. I’ve definitely posted things that are divisive and people are like “eww.” I’m not someone who will have a perfect pedicure, and I’m not always perfectly “done,” so there will always be someone who will be like, “It’d be nice if your hair was a bit more brushed.” But equally, I’m like, it is what it is, and that’s what I’m about. So you have to try not to think too much and stay true to why you started doing it in the first place.
It's tricky, because you can be influenced by things online—there can be cult items that you’re obsessed with and really want to wear, but it’s about making sure you can wear them in a way that feels like you. I would love a pair of the Bottega Veneta heels, but I rarely wear heels, so it’s probably not the best purchase for me. My “power dressing,” shall we say, is wearing a big chunky pair of boots, and I feel a lot more ready to go in something like that. Hey, I might still get a pair of Bottega shoes, but you have to try and think about whether that particular trend is right for you.
Do you shop a lot on your travels?
I do—I mainly shop online in London. London has amazing shopping, but when you live somewhere you tend to shop and do less. But when you're travelling you think 'oh I want to check out this vintage store or buy something from here.' It's not always fashion, it might be something ceramic or a book, but I always come back with something.
Where is your favourite place in the world for vintage shopping?
LA is probably my favourite for vintage shopping, but I got great jeans and T-Shirts in vintage shops in Syndey. Copenhagen also has amazing stores and I love the shopping there. All the brands over there are very me.
What are you most sentimental about in your wardrobe?
I have a couple of vintage embroidered bed jackets which I have bought in LA over the years at thrift markets—I don't wear them that much apart from at weddings over slip dresses, because they are falling apart, but they are so beautiful. I would never get rid of them. Vintage is what I'm sentimental about—vintage T-Shirts and anything I've picked up on travels, even if it's the most basic cheese cloth dress. I would never want to get rid of it because I don't know when I'd be able to get one again.
Were you interested in fashion growing up?
I had two older sisters, and they were teenagers when I was little, so we always had Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar lying around; I loved looking through those and playing imaginary games where I was a designer. But I had pet sheep and was always in wellies, but in my teens, I got massively into shopping. I’d love to say I was really cool and setting myself apart from the crowd, but really, we all wore the same Miss Sixty shoes and Buffalo shoes, and it was like tick, tick, tick. It took me a while to find my own personal style—more when I got to London and to university. You have to make so many mistakes, and I made some horrific ones, some of which are captured and online. That’s the problem with doing what I do! But I’ll probably look back at the stuff I’m wearing now and think, Oh my god, what were you thinking? But it’s a moment in time; it’s fine.
Tell me more about these mistakes…
I remember going to work when I worked at InStyle, and I wore over-the-knee socks with silk boxer shorts and brogues—so I made some errors. I think I thought I was in The Hills when I was first working in magazines, and I had all these little outfits; I really dressed up. I’m glad I did, though, because now I work from home and am in activewear half of the time. When you start working in fashion, you’re really exposed to trends, because you’ll do a feature and the whole fashion cupboard will be full of fringing and then full of PVC. So I’d come into work dressed like a cowgirl. But it works in a different way now; things are less trend-driven. It’s good for the planet and the fashion industry, and there’s now more of a resurgence of appreciating icons of the past and appreciating timelessness.
You wear a lot of ’90s pieces—why do you feel like this is your decade?
It’s so nostalgic for me—for the majority [of the decade], I was under 10, so you’re in that period of time when you are going through it and aware of things (the music, TV and films), but you’re not so in the thick of it that you get to be a part of it. So I now look back and am like, That’s cool, and I love the aesthetic. The ’70s and ’90s are my two favourite decades for style, which is where I got my inspiration from for the latest Missoma collection from. I love that the ’90s bridges the maximalist OTT ’80s thing and then the more grungey ’90s style that I always love.
Keep scrolling to shop Lucy’s wardrobe, plus the homeware gems you’ll see in the pictures above.
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Thanks for having us, Lucy!