When Alexa Chung first started being photographed in 2006, she almost instantly changed the way we dressed. Over a decade (and many pea jackets, navy sweaters, thigh-skimming dresses, ballet flats and denim cutoffs) later, she is still one of the most copied style icons on the planet. There’s a reason she’s won the British Fashion Awards Style Icon Award three times (and counting).
Alexa has managed to turn her innate style into a business, of course, with sellout clothing collections for AG Jeans and Marks & Spencer, and in 2016, she launched her very own label called AlexaChung. All the pieces are exactly what we imagined she’d wear herself, from pinafore denim dresses to pretty collared shirts—meaning we’ve never had such a clear-cut chance of paying homage to the style setter.
In the past week alone, we’ve seen more of Alexa and her 2019 wardrobe than one could have even hoped for. Just last night she chose the above all-black ensemble for a Roger Vivier party in London. Elegant and yet full of British charm with the battered-up jacket, embellished shoes and beaded Shrimps bag, Alexa persuaded us back into wearing a moto once more.
A few days earlier Alexa experimented with a different night-out smart-casual combination of hoodie, faux-fur coat, skinny jeans, crystal-front pumps and that trusty Shrimps bag again.
And, staying true to her often ’70s-inspired fashion DNA, Alexa wore a suit from her eponymous fashion brand for a Vogue conference in Germany. Overhauling a white flared trouser suit into the modern age, Alexa wore a motif tee and classic black boots.
The secret to her enduring coolness, it seems, is always staying true to her trademarks, such as Peter Pan collars, leopard print, Converse sneakers, miniskirts and simple jumpers. Keep reading to see the style rules we’re certain Alexa swears by.
See the best Alexa Chung outfits of all time…
1. You can’t go wrong with a hairslide (or two).
On Alexa: Simone Rocha Hairslides.
Style Notes: Alexa is a big fan of statement hairclips, and often layers pearl slides against her parting.
2. Jazz up simple outfits with a statement coat.
Style du Monde
On Alexa: M&S x Alexa Chung Vinyl Trench.
Style Notes: One of Alexa’s go-to fashion week outfits is a pair of straight-leg jeans and a band T-shirt paired with a statement coat. Alexa might have a thing for navy peacoats, but she doesn’t always play it safe when it comes to outerwear—this black PVC coat from her second collection for Marks and Spencer is the perfect example. Fear not, though—there are plenty similar jackets coming out this season (e.g., this Mango coat).
3. Use a white T-shirt to keep things casual.
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Style Notes: Alexa’s style always has a laid-back London feel—you’ll never see her in a tight dress and heels. One trick she uses to relax a smart dress is to layer a white tee underneath, ensuring she never looks too done.
4. Don’t overlook the power of a simple navy jumper.
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On Alexa: Converse trainers.
Style Notes: One of Alexa’s key staples is a navy jumper (often from the men’s department). The Londoner wrote in her style book, “A navy blue jumper is potentially the most boring item anyone could design and yet it’s my most important possession.” Not only does she wear hers with Converse sneakers on the weekend, but the navy crew neck has long been a part of her London Fashion Week wardrobe.
5. Carry Jane Birkin–esque straw bags.
On Alexa: J.W. Anderson dress and shoes.
Style Notes: Alexa has been very vocal about her love of Jane Birkin and her ongoing mission to dress like the ’60s icon. “I love her so much that I’m actually almost bored of her somewhat,” she once told Who What Wear. “I google her every day, once a day.” One thing she’s picked up from all that googling is a love of the other Birkin bag (the straw basket).
6. Don’t forget to have fun.
On Alexa: Ashley Williams top; Shrimps bag.
Style Notes: She might wear a lot of classics, but Alexa is also a big believer that you should have fun with fashion, often in the form of playful handbags as well as tees and sweatshirts. She wore this lilac tongue-in-cheek ear piercing sweatshirt to London Fashion Week and couldn’t help but grin in every single picture.
7. Consider vinyl trousers a rock ‘n’ roll alternative to jeans.
On Alexa Chung: Hunter boots; Barbour jacket
Style Notes: Alexa made the Barbour jacket a festival staple in her early days at Glastonbury, and in 2016, she added another item to her festival-dressing category: vinyl trousers. Nothing says “I’m camping in VIP” like some impractical PVC.
8. Experiment with Wednesday Addams styling (even after Halloween).
On Alexa Chung: Topshop jumper and skirt; Chanel bag.
Style Notes: While most save Wednesday Addams dressing for one night a year—Halloween—Alexa cites the character as one of her main style inspirations and often rocks cute Wednesday plaits. Obviously, her version is slightly less gothic…
9. Keep hemlines high.
On Alexa Chung: Carven dress
Style Notes: Throughout her decade in the spotlight, one thing has remained consistent about Alexa’s style: her love for miniskirts and minidresses. Whether it’s a denim, leather or a super-short sundress, Alexa keeps it short and with a slight A-line shape.
10. Don’t turn your back on ballet flats.
Style Notes: Ballet flats were declared “over,” but always one to stay loyal to her signatures, Alexa has never stopped wearing her black ballet flats.
11. Find a perfect pair of denim cut-offs.
Style Notes: As Chung wrote in her book It, “My relationship with my denim hot pants is incredibly special.” She always wears her ripped cutoffs in the Glastonbury mud or the Coachella desert, and they are a key part of her summer-in-the-city uniform.
12. Wrap your jumper around your shoulders in a Kings Road fashion.
Style Notes: Knotting or flinging your jumper around your shoulders in a public-school way was a styling trick reserved for gilet-wearing Kensington residents until Alexa came along and made it her own. She has been known to do this with a cable-knit crew-neck, really working a Princess Diana look.
13. Invest in a velvet tailored jacket.
Style Notes: Velvet remains high up on the fashion food chain, but Alexa Chung has been championing the plush fabric for years. A tailored velvet jacket like Alexa’s will be an investment that will see you way beyond the winter months.
14. Treat leopard print like a neutral.
On Alexa Chung: Shrimps coat
Style Notes: Alexa has been wearing leopard-print coats for as long as we can remember, and she’s proof that this print can work as a neutral. Here, she wore a leopard-print Shrimps number with a furry lilac collar.
15. Use Converse to make even the raciest dress look effortless.
Style Notes: Alexa has embraced the ’90s slip dress revival, such with this hot pink, lacy NK iMode lingerie slip she wore to her Villoid app launch. To make this work outside the boudoir, she paired it with her faithful Converse trainers—another staple. Alexa wrote about her Converse obsession in her book: “Looking effortless takes a lot of effort. When I get new Converse I dedicate some time at home to shoving mud on them so they don’t look squeaky clean.”
16. Don’t be afraid of clashing unlikely prints now and then.
Style Notes: Alexa might have a roster of tried-and-tested wardrobe staples, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t experiment with unlikely combos too. At LFW, Alexa tucked a printed Shrimps shirt into checked trousers.
17. Look for neat collars.
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On Alexa Chung: Emilia Wickstead dress
Style Notes: Another Alexa Chung trademark is her Peter Pan collar. She often wears elegant collared looks in the evenings, too, such as this Emilia Wickstead dress she wore to the 2014 British Fashion Awards.
18. Soften anything risqué with heavier items.
Style Notes: The Chungster has previously said that she’s “scared of sexiness,” so it makes sense that, to play down the thigh-high splits of this skirt, she adds an oversize shearling leather jacket to keep the tone casual.
19. Don’t be afraid of looking prim.
On Alexa Chung: Gucci dress
Style Notes: Elegant looks are a cornerstone of Alexa’s style. To keep this type of outfit fresh, opt for interesting fabrics and colours, such as metallics.
20. Never dismiss the trusty blazer and jeans formula.
On Alexa: Gucci blazer and jeans
Style Notes: Even Alexa isn’t immune to the power of the blazer-and-jeans formula. It’s one of the only outfits in the world that makes everyone look chic.
21. Princess dresses should err on the side of casual.
On Alexa Chung: Loewe dress
Style Notes: While ball gowns aren’t a usual look for Alexa, this Loewe dress bridges Chung’s love for princess frocks and her casual fashion outlook.
22. You can wear tights to an evening do.
Getty Images/Karwai Tang
On Alexa: Erdem dress
Style Notes: Braving bare legs in winter is never fun, and at the Vogue 100 Gala dinner, rule breaker Alexa proved you can wear black tights with eveningwear. Follow her lead, and opt for a pair of 10 deniers (hers have cute polka dots). If they are good enough for a gold Prada gown…
23. Bring Attitude With Statement Sunglasses
Style Notes: At Wimbledon, Alexa showed the easiest way to bring extra attitude is to wear a pair of statement sunglasses — hers came in the form of a pair of embellished white cat-eye frames. ■
This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.
Opening image: @alexachung