My Life In Fashion: Jane Frances
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My style is best described as relaxed, modern and androgynous. I feel most comfortable in clothes I can move freely in, so relaxed classics work best for me. I tend to gravitate towards sharp modern cuts, but I do enjoy playing with interesting textures.
I grew up in Australia and lived in Italy in my mid-20s. That’s where I studied shoe design. Shortly afterwards, I was introduced to an artisan shoe factory near Milan where I had the chance to intern with their production team and learn first hand the age-old techniques of Italian shoe production. Through this process I refined my own style. About a year later we moved to London and launched Dear Frances.
The brand’s aesthetic and my style are one and the same. It’s a minimalist approach that feels somewhat relaxed, with clean lines offset by inviting textures or softer silhouettes. Minimalism shouldn’t mean stark. To me, it’s refined and uncomplicated, but always full of life.
The Dear Frances woman is independent and confident. But she’s also always evolving, which is why I maintain an open dialogue with our customers. Hearing their feedback and talking to them about what we are working on isn’t only enjoyable, it helps us move forward together.
Inspiration can come from anywhere, but much of my research revolves around architecture and furniture design. I enjoy many styles of architecture, though I'm often drawn to modernist design and the principles of clean lines, space and elemental materials. Any new heel structures or toe shapes often start with furniture – I love studying the curves, lines and craftsmanship involved in anything from chairs to lamps.
We’re always exposed to trends in this industry, some of which play important roles in our design development – for example, toe shapes or heel heights that feel more suited to current lifestyles. That said, it does create never-ending pressure to keep up and consume products at a rate that isn’t sustainable. There is something very calming about stepping back from this cycle, and investing in quality classics that are designed to last.
We’re constantly working to keep our edits sharp and current. Before we add a new style to the collection, we always ask who would wear it, where would they wear it and how versatile will this style be in their wardrobe. Is this something that offers newness and practicality in a timeless wardrobe? When looking at our designs, it’s important that each element makes sense. Does that stitch add character to the shoe? If not, let’s remove it. I don’t like to complicate things.
Finding your own style is not always easy, but it needn’t be as complicated as you think. It helps to have keywords in mind and to stick to them when you’re building your core wardrobe. It will automatically limit those awkward purchases that just don’t feel right for you.
Classic pieces are always worth investing a bit more in. You want your clothes to last a lifetime, so I recommend putting more money into wool coats, leather boots and bags, as well as tailored basics such as trousers and blazers.
Most of my wardrobe revolves around classics that I can mix and layer every season. It’s not always perfect, but I find high-quality classics make dressing in the morning so much easier. Some brands that feature heavily in my own wardrobe include Loewe, Bottega Veneta, Jil Sander, Raey, Max Mara, The Row, Tibi, Isabel Marant and basics from Agolde, Ksubi and The Frankie Shop.
The secret to great style is to be yourself. Sometimes I follow trends and work them into my wardrobe, but not often. They also tend to be the smaller pieces in my wardrobe – cropped tops, short skirts or tights. Or I’ll experiment with trend-led fabrics or colours, which layer nicely into an otherwise classic wardrobe.
There are five pieces every woman should have in their wardrobe. A flat knee-high boot – classy and so easy to style. A shoulder bag – you can throw everything in it for the day and still look chic. An oversized wool coat finishes off every winter outfit – it’s timeless and you will wear it every single year. A modern loafer is comfortable, polished and never goes out of style. Finally, great jeans. The hardest part is finding the perfect fit (I find 100% non-stretch is best). Get that right and the styling is easy.
Then you can use accessories and textures to add interest to your look. Gold jewellery works well with neutrals and you can layer up here – my motto is the more the merrier. Experiment with different textures and try to use different tones such as white with cream, rather than trying to match too many things of the same colour. There really is something to be said for having a classic wardrobe that feels edited so you know where everything is and what works with what.
Visit DearFrances.com & follow @DearFrances on Instagram.
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