Our Editor’s Advice On Power Dressing

I’m 29, from a terrible town and unfashionable family, and have worked in the fashion industry with an editor title since I was 23. I’ve felt out of my depth, intimidated, underdressed, inexperienced, childish, unpolished, inexpensive, unrefined, uncouth and downright common. I’ve sat between Kate Moss and Kendall Jenner willing my phone to light up at fashion shows, shaken my way through interviews with Donatella Versace, Raf Simons and Phoebe Philo, and got stuck on a wall when asked to dance by Kanye West at Paris Fashion Week. I never felt like I belonged in this industry – until the day sportswear became cool, like three years ago. Until the moment when knowing everything there is to know about Air Max and the suburban high street evolution of the Cortez became relevant job experience. At that moment – the great athleisure style revolution of our time, mocked by so many fashion editors married to their stilettos – I finally fitted in.
While my fellows at fashion college cited graduate collections of designers I’d never heard of and specific looks from autumn/winter 90-something, what I knew was trainers, tracksuit bottoms, hoodies, and the unrivalled thrill of debuting my Nike Air Max Plus on the number 129 bus home from school. It’s taken me most of my twenties to realise that all this makes me powerful, and good as opposed to bad at my job – that feeling so self-conscious in the end makes you self-aware, that feeling uncouth means you live in the real world, that feeling common means you'll never lose the common touch, and that feeling unpolished means you’ve got your own sense of style. Sportswear (fine, athleisure) is integral to my identity and Nike is my personal heritage brand. In 2016, I don’t feel underdressed turning up in box-fresh Nikes to a meeting with Chanel. They’re Frank Ocean’s opening track “These b*tches want Nike-eeees”, and over the last few years they’ve collaborated with irrefutably high-fashion brands and individuals such as Riccardo Tisci, Kim Jones and Commes des Garçons. There’s nothing I love more than a sports luxe collab…

I still feel the thrill of a new pair of trainers. That's the way I power dress.

Wearing sportswear and its fashion incarnations puts me in a good mood. It’s when I feel most like myself and at my most capable, creatively. So, naturally, I wear it all the time. I wear Nike performance leggings which are specifically designed for performance not for fashion – to work, to meet my friends, and also to run, which is the only time I really switch off because my body is so busy that my mind can’t keep up. I always run at night because I love running through London when it’s quiet – around 9pm on a weekday in winter over the lesser-used city bridges like Southwark Bridge where the view is motivational. I run with the Nike app on my Apple watch, my keys in my pocket and feel free as a bird. That tick (though Nike tell me it’s a swoosh) makes me feel fast. It’s a positive affirmation, a ‘just say yes’ mentality, or to put that another way: just do it. I like carrying that mentality with me to work and out after. Refinery29 is all about being your authentic self – which is your most powerful self. I don’t believe that as women, we should have to change from the person we are at home, to the person we are in our social lives, to the person we are at work. And I don’t believe we have to change our clothes either. So my sportswear to workwear to nightwear look is pretty consistent: monochrome, masculine, clean cut, comfortable. I feel at my most powerful in T-shirts, trackies and trainers. I feel at my most powerful being a grown up version of the girl on the number 129 bus in her Nike Air Max Plus. I still feel the thrill of a new pair of trainers. That's the way I power dress.
Start your own journey at www.nike.com

More from Fashion

R29 Original Series