For effortless style, let Fran Lebowitz be your guide

Jess Cartner-Morley
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Guardian

Television has been my surrogate social life for the past year, so all my style icons have been sourced via the small screen. Emily In Paris’s boss Sylvie gave excellent haughty French chic, at a time when I was watching fashion week on my laptop and pining for days ogling French Vogue editors across the catwalk. And Moira Rose from Schitt’s Creek is to the incoming roaring 20s what Daisy Buchanan was to the last time around, mark my words.

But the style icon I will be channelling in the low-key re-entry phase of real-world dressing is a woman who isn’t trying to dress up at all. In fact, I am sure she would hate being written about like this. I am trying to think of the bone-dry killer putdown Fran Lebowitz would fire back if I said to her face that, after watching her Netflix show Pretend It’s A City, I wanted to dress more like her. But obviously I can’t, which is why she’s Fran Lebowitz and I’m not.

Lebowitz, writer and larger-than-life New Yorker, has a uniform that consists of Levi’s 501 blue jeans with a broad turn-up, a starchy white shirt and a boxy double-breasted blazer. In Manhattan winters, she adds a long coat and a scarf. There is an intriguing side plot around cufflinks, but we don’t have time for that here.

What we can learn from is the effortless cool of Lebowitz’s jeans, blazer and white shirt. Blazer plus jeans has been a street-style “look” for a while, but Lebowitz makes the Instragram influencer version – slender tailoring, long mermaid hair, pop of colour via an impractically small designer handbag – look dated and bourgeois.

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Lebowitz looks better in denim than anyone, except maybe Bruce Springsteen. She is the best advertisement for giving up skinny jeans for straight-leg styles. She is also an excellent reminder that a completely plain white shirt, buttoned to the neck, looks effortlessly cool in a James-Dean-white-T-shirt kind of way.

And she proves that broad-shouldered mannish tailoring can look just as good on women as the glamorous, feminised kind. Most of all, she makes dressing for the real world – waiting impatiently to cross a busy road, cracking jokes that make your friends laugh in bars – look incredibly simple. Watch and learn.

• Jess wears blazer, £34.99, hm.com. Heels, £59, office.co.uk. Shirt and jeans, her own. Styling: Melanie Wilkinson, assisted by Peter Bevan. Makeup: Sophie Higginson using Chanel Les Beiges Summer Light and Hydra Beauty Camellia Glow Concentrate