High 5: Alexa Chung

The renaissance-woman-about-town lists her wardrobe essentials.

Collage and illustrations by Marjainez.

Collage and illustrations by Marjainez.

It’s Thanksgiving in the States, and one of the things we’re thankful for is cool smart girls like Alexa Chung. This month’s High 5 comes from her gorgeous new book, It, and lists the writer, model, and TV host’s essential wardrobe items. These five things, she writes, “are the cornerstones I rely upon to make newer, weirder clothing look OK. Without them I would be lost.”

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 16.24.091. Denim hotpants. My relationship with my denim hotpants is incredibly special. I pack them in my hand luggage when I travel because I fear that one day we will be separated and I will be forced to go out bottomless forevermore because no other shorts will ever be able to replace them. Since the day I found them lurking in a Brixton charity shop we have become so inseparable that even when I take them off they still retain the shape of my bum as they lie on my bedroom floor. I use them to dress down a flashy top or as a practical alternative to muddy trousers at festivals, and over the years I have cut them shorter and shorter so that they are now borderline obscene (they keep getting cheekier). Until the denim disintegrates and falls off me, these hotpants are here to stay.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 16.20.362. Navy blue sweaters. A navy blue sweater is potentially the most boring item anyone could design, and yet it’s my most important possession. The one I own belongs to an ex-boyfriend, and before shops caught on and made “boyfriend-fit jeans” and “boyfriend sweaters” everyone was happily throwing on their actual boyfriend’s belongings to keep warm. I have never traveled without it, and it has rescued me from many mornings of outfit panic. Once when I was heartbroken a male friend of mine sent me his navy cashmere sweater to wear as a perpetual hug to cheer me up. It worked.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 16.22.583. My Burberry trench coat. This is something I saved up for a long time to buy. When I wear it, I feel like a French detective from the ’60s. Yet I love how quintessentially British it is, in that it’s practical yet proper. It was either this or a parka. I think I made the right choice.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 16.19.104. Canvas tote bags. Every woman needs a transportable receptacle to shove her collection of clutter into, and as much as I love some It Bag arm candy, I am just as happy to pile everything into a canvas tote. Sometimes I wish I could live like a man and fit everything I need into a single back pocket, but that’s never going to happen, and besides, then I would lose out on the daily drama that occurs when I think I’ve lost something and have to tip the contents of my bag out, only to discover my phone is in my hand. I think a canvas tote bag is as classic as a Chanel 2.55, and the bonus is you can shove it in a washing machine without having a mental breakdown.

alexacollage35. I thought I could narrow it down to five items I couldn’t life without, but I can’t, so: Ankle boots, because you can wear them with literally anything. A pair of Wayfarer sunglasses—wear at night to seem extra aloof. Ballet flats—I can’t dance, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Overalls—it’s fine that only toddlers and me like these. A white shirt—a no-brainer. ♦

An excerpt from IT by Alexa Chung. Reprinted by arrangement with Penguin Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Alexa Chung, 2013.


  • navyblueguava November 28th, 2013 3:14 PM

    Omigosh omigosh I love her! She had an amazing styling with Nylon magazine- I think it was in October, but I’m not sure anymore. When I saw this, though, I got instantly reminded!

  • Kendra November 28th, 2013 3:16 PM


  • Chloe22 November 28th, 2013 3:51 PM

    I love Alexa! For a while I never really knew what she did, but I always adored the way she dressed (which as most of know is something she is WELL known for). She does classic British style so well.

  • lydiamerida November 28th, 2013 4:24 PM

    I absolutely adore everything about her

  • Ana November 28th, 2013 4:25 PM

    <3 <3 <3

  • streaked lights November 28th, 2013 4:35 PM

    I love her style! It’s just so classic and perfect!

  • hoflan November 28th, 2013 4:42 PM

    I love Alexa so much!! I was lucky to meet her in person a few months ago and she’s soooo lovely and wonderful.

  • JadeTayla November 28th, 2013 5:46 PM

    EVERYTHING SHE CHOSE IS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!!! Alexa is my No.1 fashion icon!! So much love for her <3

  • DymondMag November 28th, 2013 5:49 PM

    god bless the navy blue sweater

  • kirstenjade November 28th, 2013 7:46 PM

    queen of the knee socks and leopard coat seriously why can’t the whole world dress like alexa chung

  • littlediamonds November 28th, 2013 8:18 PM

    To be quite honest i don’t really know much about her, but boy, she dresses really well! Alexa’s like, my number 1 fashion icon. And i’m happy i’m not the only one that loves overalls.

  • Mimi7 November 28th, 2013 8:49 PM

    Everybody loves Alexa Chung, including me. I just don’t see how you can’t! This also reminds me that I lost my favorite navy sweater a couple weeks ago, she’s right, it’s essential.

  • Sarah November 28th, 2013 10:50 PM

    I love this article!!!! My overalls are my favourite item in my wardrobe.

    And on a totally unrelated note, I got the second Rookie Yearbook today and IT IS INCREDIBLE!

    Thank you so much Rookie for making such as awesome book that talks about real stuff! The pictures and photos and drawings are beautiful!

  • julalondon November 28th, 2013 11:25 PM

    I love her so much! <3

  • Pearl November 29th, 2013 5:26 AM

    Yay for Alexa!!! She’s such an inspiration!
    P for Pearl

  • Jane-Eyre November 29th, 2013 7:01 AM

    My fashion icon! :) I am always inspired by her not-caring-what-anyone-thinks vibe in her dandy outfits :)

  • Joyce November 29th, 2013 7:06 AM

    i kinda read this whole thing in her accent and voice. haha

  • honorarygilmoregal November 29th, 2013 11:36 AM

    I adore Alexa and her fashion sense! I first heard of her when she was dating Alex Turner from one of my fave bands, Arctic Monkeys, and I still find her endearing even though they’ve broken up.

  • November 29th, 2013 12:52 PM

    Alexa is absolutely perfect… I love her so much !!! <3<3<3<3

  • Maddy November 29th, 2013 12:53 PM

    nice, yay, wardrobe essentials. I like these.

    buuut why can’t I comment on the Friend Crush article? I can’t even reply to comments!

    • Anaheed November 29th, 2013 7:30 PM

      Try now? Seems like there was a WordPress glitch.

  • LilyB November 29th, 2013 1:22 PM

    Ballet flats and Navy sweaters!!!

  • Maggie Clancy November 29th, 2013 2:58 PM

    Love Alexa – grabbing this book today!

  • daniellelucy November 29th, 2013 5:14 PM

    i adore alexa. she is just so cool! i am hoping for her book for christmas, looks like such a good read :-)


  • SugarVendil November 29th, 2013 10:03 PM

    Great list. Aside from the suggestion of wearing sunglasses at night, I’m liking all of this! – Fashion + Classical Music + Art

  • Nadifa November 30th, 2013 5:32 AM

    Yay Alexa!
    Ex-boyf? Could it be Alex? ._.
    Anyway, her book seems awsome. I think I might check it out sometime.

  • lexilikes December 1st, 2013 10:12 AM

    She really does have great style. I’m desperate for her book now!

  • madame_addie December 2nd, 2013 7:17 PM

    *fangirls hard because she talked about her exboyfriend and said cornerstone*
    I looooooove her #1 fashion icon <3