Words: Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
The online sphere is full of extravagant and in-your-face aesthetics; Dopamine dressing, maximalism, the ever-trending styles of clowncore, coquette and whismigoth subcultures. It’s understandable that our online world is desperate to look different to the IRL one we’re forced to inhabit for most of our time. That’s the main draw to these digital platforms. But there are certain looks we all are forced to doubt have ever seen the light of an actual day out. Even for those who do enjoy dressing in loud and proud styles, for a quick jaunt to the corner shop or an impromptu visit to the in-laws, are these online aesthetics the go-to everyday casual wear for the masses?
Sorry to burst the bubble, but a quick step out the house where you look up from your phone and actually at the people passing by, everyday is not brightened up by the mismatched colours and layers of tulle we’ve become so accustomed to through TikTok GRWMs and Instagram mirror selfies. The real world is dominated by practical pocketed jeans, cold-combatting coats and shoes whose main purpose is comfort, not Instagramability.
However, the offline look is slowly making its way online. Dubbed ‘plain-chic,’ this everyday, wearable style is every bit as fashion-forward and put-together as the extravagant online outfits we tend to see on social media, but feels more authentic, less daunting to recreate, and more in tune with life offline.
Here we help you to build the perfect plain chic outfit with pieces from the best up and coming brands out there.
Streetwear outlet brand UN:IK is home to the perfect balance of comfort and chic. With the brand working exclusively with a collective of young independent designers, shoppers are inundated with a diverse collection of streetwear brands whose items are not only original, but exclusive thanks to the often strictly limited runs UN:IK commissions. Their ethos has worked to create a truly unique and immediately identifiable style, most obvious through their brilliant basic t-shirts and hoodies. With aesthetic graphics and witty slogans, our favourite of which has to be their ‘Pasta La Vista’ pieces, any everyday outfit is made all the more chic with the addition of the bold yet muted designs UN:IK is increasingly gaining recognition for.
Denim is a staple that often feels impossible to nail perfectly. Luxury British brand ELV Denim is here to solve that problem. Handcrafting their timeless staple pieces from 100% preloved and upcycled materials, you can trust in the loving and skilled hands that build these jeans up from nothing and rest assured that your staple denim will last a lifetime.
There’s a pair for everyone. The Boyfriend Jean with a relaxed cut through the hip, bottom and thigh, which gives an effortless, oversized look; The Flare Jean with it’s fitted cut through the hip, bottom and thigh that kicks out at the leg with a subtle yet striking flare; or The Straight Leg Jean with a stunning mismatched hem and fitted silhouette from hip to ankle. All ELV’s styles are available in a variety of denim whether you’re after a deep, dark black that won’t fade or prefer a bold acid wash finish. And, if ELV haven’t got it, they’ll actually make you it through their made-to-measure bespoke service.
Fur and leather jackets are, as they have long been, the perfect cold-combatting coats that still evoke a chic and fashion-forward look despite their practicalities. However, the material often causes controversy and, rightly, many tend to avoid brands with questionable supply chains or low-quality fake replicas of the fabric. But not only are all of Jakke’s coats animal friendly and cruelty free, the brand has also previously been awarded ‘Best Faux Fur Brand’ and ‘Best Wool Free Brand’ by PETA. There’s nothing more chic than ethically sound business practice. Taking the practical trench coat to a whole new level, the brand’s Bailey Coat boasts a simple oversized profile with statement-making yet subtle faux fur detailing around the cuffs that works to add a luxurious feel to the otherwise simplistic style. Similarly, their Katie Coat hits the eye as a simplistic and pared back design. But on closer inspection, the thoughtfulness in the design of this long faux fur coat is obvious through its perfected tailoring, discreet fastenings and effortless fit.
VIVAIA may only have been founded in 2020, but they’ve already shot to fame and it’s no surprise why. Their dedication to high quality craft has borne a stunning selection of footwear that isn’t accompanied by an extortionate price tag for customers. The perfect brand for elevating basic everyday footwear into chic and comfortable pieces, standouts from VIVAIA include their Round-Toe Renee Mules that are the closest and chicest you’re ever going to get to outdoor-appropriate slippers, and their Melissa Heel Ankle Boots with an architectural heel and stunning perforated fabric upper that evokes the style of Yeezy without the hefty price tag.
Specialising in casual fashion for cycling fanatics, the aesthetic of The General Classification is effortlessly cool and unique. Add to that that most of their designs are made-to-order using sustainable materials and there’s not much more you could ask of them. Their bags are what drew us to the brand, with their site boasting a huge range of relaxed styles that are perfect for everyday wear. From their cross body cotton totes available in a variety of colourways, to their canvas and denim over-the-shoulder totes that can transition effortlessly from handbag to shopper, there’s something to finish off every outfit with ease and elevate it to something incredibly chic and put-together.