My Style Dos & Don’ts: Anum Bashir
My Style Dos & Don’ts: Anum Bashir

My Style Dos & Don’ts: Anum Bashir

As @DesertMannequin on Instagram, Anum Bashir has become known for her discerning style. To get to the bottom of how she makes such good choices, we asked Anum for her style rules…

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DO embrace layers for the regional winter

“I’m based in Riyadh, where the weather is pretty consistent, but when it does get cold, I can finally whip out the cosy chunky knits, jackets and shawls I look forward to rocking all year. Desert winter dressing for me means layering, so you can shed pieces if it's too warm then add them back as the temperatures drop at night. For example, I love pairing a relaxed cotton dress with a chunkier knit at night. I also love wearing my heavier boyfriend blazers and jackets when going out for dinners. Denim is a wardrobe staple I turn to all year around.”

DO accessorise with scarves & socks

“Accessories are integral in looking put together. Beanies, ponchos, and capes are all items I would suggest turning to. A beautiful chunky knit scarf or a printed shawl from Etro is a nice way to add a chic touch to any outfit. I also have a few from Hermès that I wear season after season. For the colder temperatures, I love to turn to brands like Totême, Prada, Barrie, Khaite, Acne and Loewe – and my vintage Chanel jackets. They are my absolute favourites. Socks with loafers are another nice autumn/winter touch.”

When you’re in a style rut, turn to places like PINTEREST, YOUTUBE, or INSTAGRAM to see how people style pieces you would NOT HAVE CONSIDERED before.

DO go online for inspo

“When you’re in a style rut, turn to places like Pinterest, YouTube, or Instagram to see how people style pieces you would not have considered before. I love following so many influencers for their style and am often drawn to several brands and pieces I would never have thought of getting for myself. I wouldn't always advise people to adopt trends for the sake of being trendy, but definitely experiment and continue to learn what works for you, your body and your lifestyle.”

DO elevate your basics

“I am currently in my minimalist phase of dressing. As a mum, I rarely have time to overthink my outfits and looks. One forever trend I swear by is tonal dressing. Nothing beats an all-white, all-black, all-red or all-denim look. It's incredibly chic without trying too hard. Then you can add some edge with your accessories such as footwear – I'm always up for a fun, funky shoe. Khaite, Acne, The Row, Jil Sander and Alaia all have stunning pieces to add a little something special to any outfit. A bag is always a big part of elevating a look and I love that bigger bags are making a comeback. Lately I've been exclusively wearing my Hermès Kelly bags in neutral beige, black or red. I find that they work with almost anything I wear, no matter how dressed up or dressed down I may be.” 


DO get transitional dressing right

“I love a good blazer or coat. I have a navy one from Maison Margiela that's so timeless. I bought it years ago while on a trip to Milan and it has never disappointed me. Another great go-to for me is my Saint Laurent leather biker jacket. It's so edgy and effortless. I could be wearing my husband's jeans, a white tee and throw that on to instantly look like the fashion-loving girl that I am. In my eyes, Saint Laurent seldom gets it wrong.” 

DON’T be afraid to play with volume

“A boxy, oversized or relaxed fit has generally been my comfort zone. I like to play with shapes: for example, if you happen to be wearing a more billowing top like the ones from Cecilie Bahnsen, then going with something more form fitting on the bottom would work well to create balance. That juxtaposition is key for me. Since I'm short and on the petite side, I cannot go oversized from head to toe. If I'm going to wear a big, boxy blazer or an oversized denim jacket, I try to have the look inside be a bit more form fitting or tailored. I feel this balance visually works better and can still be quite flattering.” 

DO turn to your go-to styles

“I often turn to the beautifully structured blazers in my wardrobe to amp up a look. My favourites include a black oversized Acne Studios one, a cream one from Jacquemus, a navy one from Maison Margiela, a very special jacquard one from Rabih Kayrouz I bought in Paris many seasons ago, and some fun printed ones from brands like Osman, Ellery, Prada and Chanel. Living in Riyadh and having to adhere to a particular dress code, my failsafe pieces are things like a well-made and simple silk slip dress paired with a slightly boxy blazer or jacket. It ties it all in together beautifully and is still comfortable to wear.”

DON’T ignore high street & pre-loved finds

“I've always enjoyed brands like COS. H&M Studio also does some great pieces. The Real Real and Etsy are good places to get stunning designer pieces for less. I remember scoring a brand-new pair of Manolo Blahniks for $90 from The Real Real – talk about a bargain!”

DO add statement jewellery

“Accessories are key to ensuring your capsule wardrobe stays fresh and fun. Some of my favourite statement jewellery brands are Completed Works, APOA, Roxanne Assoulin, Tiffany, Laura Lombardi, Monica Sordo, Sophie Buhai and Sophie Bille Brahe. Jewellery is something I've been collecting for years and it instantly adds a unique touch to an otherwise tonal or minimal outfit. I'm personally a big fan of iterative dressing: for example, if you're wearing the same jeans and shirt, you can always style them differently by adding a jacket, a scarf and some fun earrings.”


DON’T just shop for the present

“I'm all too familiar with the fact the fashion industry is forcing us to consume and spend constantly. After ushering in my 30s and becoming a mum, I want a more practical relationship with fashion, where I only purchase the items I can see myself wearing for years to come. This includes pieces that will hold value and be worth passing down to my daughter one day – for example, everyone knows a Hermès Kelly or Birkin bag is a solid investment. I was so lucky to be able to get my hands on the purple sequin Fendi baguette made famous by Carrie Bradshaw. Items like these truly never go out of style.”

DON’T ignore what you loved when you purchased it

“Gone are my days of purchasing for the sake of purchasing. It's so important to use and enjoy the pieces we invest in, not to let them sit and collect dust in our closets. I like the way one of my favourite influencers Tamara Kalinic puts it: “Things are to be used and people are to be loved.” I strongly adhere to this statement now.”

At the end of the day if what you're wearing SPARKS JOY, then fashion has truly SERVED ITS PURPOSE.

DO dress for day to night

“I love flowy dresses which are appropriate for Riyadh. I layer pieces a lot with floor-length silk slip dresses. I tend to dress down quite a lot here, given my current lifestyle as a new mum. I also just find that less is more at the moment. I'll amp up ensembles with funky earrings from APOA, or some of my fine jewellery from David Webb or Bil Arabi. A formal coordinated silk PJ look from Matteau or Totême also works really well. The Row makes some gorgeous Gala pants that are great for day-to-night looks.” 

DON’T take yourself too seriously

“Fashion is meant to be played around with. Have fun, don't take it or yourself too seriously. At the end of the day if what you're wearing sparks joy, then fashion has truly served its purpose. The sartorial choices we make reflect where we are in our lives. Looking back at photos and special pieces can be such a cathartic and nostalgic experience – that’s why I love fashion so much. I'm already looking forward to the day when my daughter and I get dressed together and share each other's wardrobes.”

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