The Chic List: Time to dress up again… at last!

Introducing fashion columnist and influencer Joanne Hegarty

I’m thrilled to be starting this exciting new column just as we stand on the cusp of a brighter new world. As we eagerly await the key turning on what has felt like the longest prison sentence, let’s celebrate by throwing off our joy-sapping lockdown uniforms. And let’s make a promise to each other never to mention that heinous word – loungewear – ever again. Loungewear bonfire party, anyone?

This Sezane jumpsuit delivers extra evening wow factor. Team with a blazer or trench until temperatures rise.

During the pandemic, fashion has had to take a back seat. It’s hard to get too excited about dressing up for yet another trudge around the park or trip to the garden centre. But – fingers and toes crossed – that’s nearly behind us. I have to admit, just the thought of getting dressed up to go to a restaurant or pub after months of being stuck at home is making me feel euphoric. I cannot wait to be sipping my first cocktail clutching a beloved handbag and wobbling around after being reunited with my heels. I am going to be the girl who never stays home on a Saturday night again. Lunch? Yes! Dinner? Yes! A party? I’m there, I’m there.

With the end of lockdown in sight, there really couldn’t be a better time to start a column dedicated to modern-day chic, packed with carefully curated style advice, tips and shopping picks. However, before we go any further, we need to destroy the biggest myth about chic: that it doesn’t apply to you. Many believe that if you are not anointed at birth by the chic gods–or if you are not a pouty cigarette-smoking Parisian with the latest Chanel bag – you can’t possess this magical quality.

How many of us have sat opposite a friend or acquaintance silently envious of their immaculate style? ‘God, isn’t she just so chic,’ we will say afterwards, with a resigned shrug of the shoulders.

Rather than being something easily attainable, chic is too often seen as impossibly mysterious and sadly destined only for other people. This column will show that, in fact, the opposite is true: any of us can be chic: you just need to know the secrets.

Chic is all about shape and silhouette – those special details that elevate an outfit. There are no distractions. It’s a clever style that tries to deflect attention, yet, in the very act of deflecting attention, you’re actually making people pay more attention.

Clothes have been a passion for me since I was a child. They excite me like the first time you lock eyes with someone and feel that thrill of attraction. Wearing them, feeling them, thinking about them, seeing other people in them, makes me feel utterly happy.

What you wear helps you open your front door every morning and tell the world who you are. It’s your armour to deal with whatever reality throws at us. I hope you enjoy this column as much as I will enjoy writing it.

Alfresco smart? Easy!

Are you ready, like me, to get dressed up again – even if it is to sit huddled around a heater for alfresco April? Great. The ideal wardrobe for our new social life is going to be a clever mix-and-match one that doesn’t make us break out in a sweat every time we step outside the door.

Let’s begin with two great staples that will be a must for spring’s daily average high of 14 degrees and nightly low of four: a light wool blazer and trench coat. One of my favourite French influencers Jeanne Damas says she always buys blazers a little too big because they look more chic. And she’s right. Don’t forget to push the sleeves up a little to show off your wrist jewellery too. When it comes to a trench, I can’t resist a special sleeve detail – an exaggerated cuff, for example – to make it stand out from the crowd.

With the right company and the right wine, the atmosphere will warm up under that heater. So what to wear underneath? The knitted dress is an ideal option and easily layered with outerwear.

A pencil midi in real or vegan leather is a must-have staple. Team a high-waisted one with a pretty blouse or a chunky knit and heeled ankle boots for this time of year. My favourite leather ones have a front or back slit so you don’t look like your skirt is holding you hostage and are too hemmed in to walk to the powder room properly.

Not a dress or skirt person? You can’t beat khaki-coloured trousers this time of year. Dress them up with knockout heels, a blazer and a crisp shirt.

An entire no-fuss outfit in one, the evening jumpsuit never fails to pack a punch. Opt for one in your favourite colour. A wide or flared leg is also super flattering.

And, lastly, don’t forget a handbag to add instant interest to your outfit – and, for spring, the more zingy the better.

Meet your new best friend: the oversized wool blazer. Jacket, £135,

This is both elegant and edgy. Necklace, £170,

An exaggerated collar adds evening clout. Shirt, £350, Awake Mode,

This roomy trench is your perfect transitional cover-up. Coat, £150,

My new LBD is knitted! Dress, £335, Loulou Studio,

Team with a spring knit. Leather skirt, £250,

Dress these up or down with gold jewellery and a white shirt. Trousers, £69,

Big shades make the rest of your outfit look more expensive. Sunglasses, £220, Givenchy,

This bold bucket bag is great for day and night. Bag, £295, Esin Akan,


You can follow me on Instagram @thestylistandthewardrobe