On road trips, my family likes to play a game where we debate which outfit we would wear if we could only wear one for the rest of our lives. It’s an exercise that instantly reveals the essence of someone’s character–will they favor practicality or style? Something colorful or muted? Are they, for the love of a good sweater, concerned about getting cold?! At times, it’s an exercise that mystifies as well. My dad recently announced with pride over Sunday dinner that he had finally settled on his perfect formula: snow pants and no shirt.
I’ve always struggled to answer the (admittedly inconsequential) “one and only outfit” question myself. The thought of wearing the same outfit day after day, to the gym, in the blazing heat, to a job interview… sounds terrible. However, when we recently tweaked the question to ask which brand we would wear if we could only wear one forever, I was quick to answer: Miu Miu. I’ve waxed poetic about my love for Miuccia Prada before, but as uncertain as I am that I will someday grow into a Prada woman, I’m doubly certain that I am a Miu Miu woman at this very moment in time.
It’s not just that Miu Miu, Prada’s fun-loving little sister line, is chock-full of everything I like, with an abundance of bows, crystals, pearls, and precious prints. It’s also that the brand maintains a steadfast dedication to creating clothing for a woman who is polished but still emotionally youthful–and who absolutely does not take herself too seriously. She’s buttoned-up, but she has naked ladies on her collar. She’s got fuzzy socks tucked into her heels! In short, Miu Miu is the antidote to January style doldrums, so I set out to create five (please, I need a test run before I commit to forever) Miu Miu looks from the contents of my own closet.
#1: Overalls Over All, S/S 2020
When I glimpsed this outfit in photos from the Miu Miu show this past fall, I knew it would be only a matter of time until I copied it myself. White overalls with a white blouse is one of my long-standing favorite outfits–I can throw it on without any thought and immediately strike the right balance between casual and put-together. It’s a deceptively simple look, and the addition of a white sweater feels like an appropriately seasonal update to the formula. The one I’m wearing here is hand-knitted by my friend Shona and softer than buttercream frosting. I’d normally wear this with a pair of Chelsea boots, but, for the first time in my life, I tried to be faithful to Gigi Hadid’s look here with neo-Victorian knee-highs.
#2: Getting Thrifty, Resort 2020
Miu Miu’s 2020 Resort show was a masterclass in styling. Each garment that made its way down the runway, from drop-waist 40s-style dresses to baggy leather shorts, could easily be found at a thrift store. In other words, the collection focused on how to put together an outfit, instead of simply selling what you might need to make it–a feat that is both rare and hugely compelling. (Though I’ll note that having recently popped into a Miu Miu store to fondle the clothes for myself, I can confirm they are beautifully made and well worth their un-thrifty prices, if you can swing it).
Ms. Prada sends the same silhouettes (and sometimes the very same garments) down the runway over and over again here, and yet each time they look fresh because of how they’re combined. The aforementioned leather shorts were paired with a low-cut romantic white blouse, a preppy horseshoe-printed turtleneck, and a cardigan with boxy shoulder pads. This feels inspiringly authentic to the way people wear articles of clothing off the runway: many times and many ways!
Also, why have I never thought of using a sweater as a belt before?! It makes this vintage dress that I’ve been wearing for years feel brand new and decidedly more fun.
#3: A Nightie and an Overcoat, S/S 2016
This look is perhaps closest to how I dress on a day-to-day basis–again, it’s no wonder I love Miu Miu so much! I can’t resist a minidress of any kind, but I’m really a sucker for those of the sleepytime variety. A more tailored overcoat (hopefully) keeps me from looking too much like I’m in my pajamas, and a tiara-adjacent headband lets people know that even if I am in my pajamas, I’ll make it a pajama party. I’ve also tried my hand at recreating these mismatched lace-up Miu Miu flats by lacing ribbons over my Mary Janes. Are you sold?
#4: Après Tea (Party), F/W 2014
Having another why the **$3g*!* didn’t I think of that?! moment here. All this time I’ve been throwing Alpine sweaters on over my dresses when they obviously look much cuter underneath! Full disclosure, it was a challenge to zip this dress with a heavy knit jammed underneath, but all’s well that ends well. Pink flats and a headband make this ladylike ensemble far more appropriate for strolling than skiing.
#5: Literally the Only Outfit That Matters to Me, S/S 2010
Bold statement here: this is hands-down my favorite collection of. All. Time. While there are indubitably moments that have changed the landscape of fashion far more than this show, this one alone has captured my sensibilities for over a decade now! I still remember seeing these images for the first time and feeling like someone had perfectly articulated the way I wanted to look: feminine, playful, and topped with a twist of strange humor. Just like any other form of art, this is what fashion does at its best. It identifies and makes visible parts of us previously unarticulated.
In a very broad way, I feel like I make reference to this look every time I get dressed, seeking out items that give me that same rush of self-expression and self-assuredness. But getting down to brass tacks, this outfit right here makes me look cute as heck. I loved it so much I wore it straight out the door after snapping a photo and felt like a million bucks all day long.
I rest my case for Miu Miu. What designer would you hypothetically wear forever? What outfit?! Please don’t say snow pants and no shirt.
Photos by Ruby Redstone.