Fashion

4 things we can learn about style from architecture

From Gaudi to Piano, Foster to Hadid, there’s a lot we can learn about style from the architects that have given us the most unique designs in the world…

Whether it’s nailing the right silhouette or paying a close eye to structure, there are more than a few parallels that can be drawn between the buildings we see around us and the clothes we put on our bodies.

For instance, while the fashion world is briskly waking up to a more sustainable future, it’s something that architects have been considering for years.

From fabrics to structure, we spoke to style curator and art director Alexis Foreman to find out more about what we can learn from architecture and apply it to style.

Materials are key

“From my perspective, buildings that use pure materials are the most beautiful. By that I mean designs that incorporate things like woods, bamboo, reclaimed metals and the likes.

“There’s something striking about using natural materials and bringing your own shape to it to show your own style and personality.

“I think we can take inspiration from that and apply natural materials like cotton, silk, linen and wool to the clothes we wear.

“Natural doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable though, so it’s always worth checking that the materials in your wardrobe are sustainably sourced, are recyclable and have less of an impact on the environment.”

Old and new can co-exist

“These days old and new are coming together in terms of both architecture and style and it just goes to show that the two can work symbiotically. 

“London is a great place to see that in action. You have incredibly modern buildings like the Shard juxtaposed by something of the yesteryear like St. Paul’s Cathedral. 

“I like to apply that to my style too - the glasses I’m wearing are influenced by classic baroque details but the shape and colour are still very modern and give them that slight edge.

“It’s inspiring to see new talent like Emily Hill, who designed them for Specsavers Design Collective, pay homage to both old and new.

“There’s always inspiration taken from previous decades so its nice to see a mix of old and new. 

“When it comes to your wardrobe that can translate into having your base of classic cuts like a tailored pair of trousers or a traditional white shirt and adding your own modern touches.

“Whether that means a slogan tee or an on-trend accessory, it’s always nice to have a balance between modern and classic.”

Structure is everything

“When it comes to architecture structure underpins everything. 

“Before you even consider the aesthetics of a building you need to nail the structure. I think the same learnings can be applied to fashion as well.

“Well-designed clothing has a considered structure to it whether it be bodycon or voluminous.

“It’s often what sets designer and high street apart and I think it is a defining element in styling.

“The way that outfits are put together requires balance - colour, shapes, deciding which shoes and accessories to wear.

“Structure doesn’t necessarily mean fitted perfectly to your body. I take my cues from modern architecture, which is quite minimalist.

“I lean more towards voluminous pieces that are cut to give structure but not to be overwhelming.”

Make trends your own

“In architecture you tend to get buildings that are either designed to blend in with the style of a city or ones that are designed to stand out.

“In my opinion it’s better to be individual than to blend in. You can’t always escape trends, but you can make them your own.

“Think about the aesthetics that you like - for me it’s neutral colours, so I may pick an on-trend top but find it in a palette that feels very me.

“I also tend to let one piece shine. I don’t like to wear too many competing things.

“And of course, comfort is key. You have to feel like yourself in what you’re wearing in the same way you want to feel at home in a building.”

Alexis wears glasses designed by Emily Hill, who is part of Specsavers new range Design Collective. Emily was inspired by growing up surrounded by the decorative architecture in both London and Spain.

This summer, Specsavers is supporting fresh design talent with the launch of its Design Collective. Created by four students, the unique collection of 14 glasses and sunglasses draws on their personal inspirations to design a range celebrating individuality, encouraging everyone to wear their specs with pride.

Alexis wears: Look 1; dress by Cecilie Bahnsen, earrings by Rejina Pyo, shoes by Miista, Look 2; top by Cecilie Bahnsen, trousers by COS, shoes by Miista, bag by Staud, cuff by Marni, earrings by Rejiina Pyo, Look 3; dress by Lee Mathews, trousers by COS, shoes by Miista, Earrings by Rejina Pyo, Look 4; blazer by Arket, top by Cos, trousers by Cos, shoes by Mista, earrings by Rejina Pyo