In the world of fashion, the merging of high and low is no new phenomenon. Indeed, it’s drilled into us that this kind of Prada-Primark pairing is the pinnacle of good taste and a barometer for one’s innate sense of style. If a person relies solely on high-end pieces, they’re considered lacking in imagination or – quelle horreur – even vulgar. Imagine the pressure, then, of being planted firmly in the politico-sartorial spotlight when we’re still ostensibly clawing our way out of a rather nasty recession. No Marie Antoinettes or Imelda Marcoses welcome at the helm, anymore, no siree. Our modern poster girls are K-Mid and Sam Cam. Both impeccable ambassadors for the cause, the newly-appointed Duchess of Cambridge and the Prime Minister’s wife both pull off that revered high-low mix with aplomb.
Sam Cam’s Royal Wedding attire was a perfect example; dressed in emerald green Burberry and Erdem accessories, she finished her look with a pair of on-sale nude Aldo heels. Well played, Cameron. Prior to the big day, the bride had been papped buying her Honeymoon wardrobe in Warehouse, and was spotted the day after in a cornflower-blue dress from Zara – no doubt trying to balance out all that McQueen. Even Michelle Obama’s support of homegrown talent in the form of Jason Wu et al is tempered by her love of pairing his pieces with J Crew. The best bit? These all seem like natural, unenforced choices, despite the amount of sartorial spin doctoring that has always existed in the political realm. Jackie O was famously only allowed to wear ‘American’ designers (which she interpreted as directing Oleg Cassini to copy Givenchy’s creations and pass them off as his own so she could wear them.)
Clearly, we’ve come a long way since then, with no explicit rules being dictated to these women anymore. There’s no doubt some kind of Malcolm Tucker figure is still lurking in the shadows, however, advising them not to wind up the hoi polloi by wearing nowt but high end. Ironically, this simultaneously proves the old maxim that head-to-toe designer is dull, if not a little silly in these economic climes. The new frontier? Coalition dressing. A thoroughly modern mashup that works. The government would do well to take note.
Originally published for Ly.st