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The Joy of Dressing Up

Fashion, we’ve missed you. This season, we’re falling back in love with the fabulous side of our wardrobes — and it’s about time too.

Since time began, every era has had its defining fashion piece. The 1960s had the mini dress, the 1920s had Coco Chanel’s LBD, and the 1950s had the cinched waist and full skirts of the ‘New Look’. The year 2020? We got joggers.

In a year more terrible than any of us could have imagined, loungewear became the go-to look of an entire nation. Almost overnight, jeans were switched for elasticated waistbands, work meetings only required a respectable top half, and comfort became the must-have feature of every wardrobe. As we went into survival mode, our clothes had a different role to play — cushioning us from the outside world. The very idea of putting together an outfit, no matter how fun we knew it could be, seemed futile.

But there’s a reason period drama Bridgerton was such an instant hit when it was released at the end of last year. And we’re not talking about the saucy scenes. The regency-era fashion, with all its colour, texture, frills and finery, was everything we weren’t wearing. Like Sex and the City, Mad Men and Downton Abbey before it, we watched as much for the clothes as we did for the scandal, eating up each intricate detail. At Toolally, we even designed an entirely new pair of statement earrings inspired by the show’s ‘diamond of the first water’, the Daphnes.

It was pure escapism; its lavishness a tonic. And while we’re not sure anyone rushed to lace themselves into floor length gowns and pull on the white satin gloves, it was a perfectly packaged reminder of just how powerfully positive getting dressed up can be.

And now, somehow, it’s summer 2021. And we’re calling it: the thing that defines fashion this year won’t be a signature piece, or an iconic style. It’ll be joy. It’ll be that feeling when you sidestep the trainers and slip on a pair of heels instead. It’ll be putting on a slick of fire engine red lipstick just before you leave the house. It’ll be finishing an outfit with the perfect accessories — the kind that will make you flick-flick your hair when you look in the mirror. The kind that make you feel you can take on the world that day.

And even if that day isn’t particularly special; even if it rains on your al fresco dinner, and even if Christmas is cancelled again (ok, we’re kidding about that one), it’s about finding the delight in dressing for yourself and using fashion, in all its fabulous forms, as an instrument for happiness.

The late, great Edith Head, who designed the costumes for some of Hollywood’s most stylish films – including Roman Holiday, Rear Window and Funny Face – famously said, “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” And so, at a time when what we want most of all is to find the joy in dressing up again, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.


Photo credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix