If anyone knows whether an item is worth buying or not, it's Tracey Lea Sayer. Having been in the business of fashion for 30 years now, Lea Sayer is a style insider who says it like it is. She wants her clothes to work hard for the money and is a dab hand when it comes to hunting down timeless high-street pieces. As well as sharing her knowledge via Fabulous magazine as fashion director, she charts her own wardrobe over at @TraysLounge. Her outlook is about buying less, buying better, and restyling what you already own. This month, she shares three items she loved in her teens and has suddenly started wearing again. Over to you, Tray!
I have worked in fashion for 30 years and have pretty much tried all the trends you could imagine. Some have looked great on me, and some have made me look like a dog’s dinner, but as I hurtle towards 50 this year, I have found myself reaching for the three items that I pretty much lived in as a teenager. No, I am not talking crop tops and spray-on Lycra dresses. Although I did have a few of those, I leave them to my teenage daughter now. I am talking about oversize blazers, a great pair of jeans, and a big pair of bovver boots. These three items took me through art college and beyond in the '80s. Back then, I shopped men’s secondhand blazers at my local charity shops, my jeans were vintage Levi 501s from American emporium Flip, and the boots were steel-toe-capped Doc Martens that I still regret losing in a house move…
Fast-forward to 2021, and here I am again, wearing these three pieces on repeat. I seem to be reliving the signature style I lived in all those years ago. Why? Well, the fact is that it’s timeless. A well-cut blazer and a pair of jeans will never date. The formula is just right for being down the pub (if we can ever go back!) as well as for more casual workplaces, and it never looks try-hard. These days, I now shop for my blazers at Arket, and I still have a soft spot for a great pair of Levi's with all the great new cuts to choose from. The Ribcage Balloon Leg is a favourite, and some are still available at a few retailers. In addition, I always wear a pair of big, comfy boots for my daily dog walk. These three pieces are the basis of what I have lived in during lockdown.
Keep scrolling to see how I've been styling out my favourite teen trends…
1. A '70s Take
On Tracey: Arket Oversized Wool Hopsack Blazer (£135) and blouse; Massimo Dutti waistcoat; Levi’s jeans; Chloé bag; Zara boots
I always seem to take a bit of inspo from the '70s when I want to dress up a bit. "Jeans and a nice top" has become a bit of a thing, but I don’t really suit the current trend for big collars, so I tend to go for a less frou-frou look and add some sharp tailoring on top of a pretty blouse.
On Tracey: Topshop blazer; Isabel Marant jumper; Ines de la Fressange x Uniqlo jeans; Mango boots
Smart casual has become a bit of a signature style for me. A boxy blazer with darker jeans immediately looks a bit more elevated. Just add a slogan sweat and big boots for a daytime outfit that feels put-together but effortless.
3. Sportswear Inspired
I love sportswear and always try to include elements into my day-to-day looks. This is a great look for work. I am totally comfy in my love-worn Levi’s and trainers. Comfort is definitely key for me as I get older.
4. Layers for Cold Days
On Tracey: Ines de la Fressange x Uniqlo coat and jacket; Vanessa Seward x La Redoute shirt; Levi's jeans; Kin bag; Arket socks; COS Cotton Canvas High-Top Sneakers (£59)
I love a bit of layering. A shrunken blazer under a Crombie-style coat makes me look "business" up top, but the jeans just take things down a notch, so I don’t feel overdressed. Another trick I borrow from menswear is a statement sock—a dash of colour looks surprisingly good with sneakers.
On Tracey: Arket Oversized Wool Hopsack Blazer (£135), scarf, and top; Levi's jeans; Kin bag; Mango boots
Jeans and a Breton top is one of my most-worn combinations at this time of year—it's my day-to-day uniform. A boxy blazer and knotted scarf add the finishing touches. It isn’t radical, but it just works.
6. Lumberjack Styling
On Tracey: & Other Stories hat; Arket scarf; Uniqlo jacket and bag; Ines de la Fressange x Uniqlo jeans; Mango boots
The price per wear on these boots probably works out at about 10p per outing! When I shop, I am a stickler for making sure that anything I purchase will work extra hard in my wardrobe. Big boots and jeans always deliver on that.
7. Comfortable Tracksuit
I love the fact that you can add big boots to practically any outfit. Add yours to slouchy sweats and dress the whole look up with a statement mac. This will elevate your trackies into something super stylish.
On Tracey: Modern Rarity coat; Monsoon dungarees; & Other Stories shirt; Chloé bag; Zara boots
Everyone thinks that a stylist will know exactly what to wear, but sometimes, I put stuff together completely by accident. Step forward, brown and black—my new favourite colour combo. These Zara boots are a little smarter than my other bovver boots but still look tough with their square toe, oversize sole, and chunky heel.
9. Sweater-Vest Update
On Tracey: Arket Half-Zip Bib (£69); Next shirt; Ines de la Fressange x Uniqlo jeans; Mango boots
I am not very good at doing traditionally "girly" clothes, so combining a twee gingham check with big boots and jeans just takes the saccharine edge off the pretty check for me. To be honest, I normally apply this to anything feminine that I wear!