Fashion Updates

What I wore this week: glam geek

Photograph of Jess Cartner-Morley
‘The glam geek look originated on the Gucci catwalk six months ago.’ Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

We haven’t got all that long so, in the interests of saving time, may I assume you’ve all had the Margot Tenenbaum memo? How Gwyneth Paltrow’s mink-clad, barrette-wearing, chain-smoking character is fashion’s muse of the season, etc. Yup? Marvellous. Because wittering on about Margot is all well and good, but I’m not sure it gets us very far in terms of what we are actually going to wear. Are you going to buy, let alone wear, a huge great fur coat? Do you, hand on heart, think a Fred Perry tennis dress is going to be a useful item to have to hand when you come to get dressed on a wet Tuesday in October? Well then. Quite.

The glam geek look – pussybows and thick-rimmed specs, long skirts and goofy loafers – originated on the Gucci catwalk six months ago in a collection that Alessandro Michele said was not actually designed with any Tenenbaums in mind. It was not an obviously commercial trend. (As in, it won’t help you pull, it doesn’t make you look thin and it’s mostly in colours that make you look ill.) And while the show was a critical hit, few expected it to chime with the masses.

But since the spring – in neat parallel, funnily enough, with the emergence of Jeremy Corbyn as a mainstream politician despite the wonky tailoring and general last-one-to-be-picked-for-rounders vibe – the geek look has struck a chord. The new season collections are a riot of nostalgic nerd chic. The look is part bookworm, part superpower. Think Violet from the Incredibles or Napoleon Dynamite.

Think it, I said. Don’t actually wear that: you’ll look ridiculous. To make the glam geek look work, you need to edit out the stuff that looks as if you found it in a teenage bedroom (bobble hats) or attic (paste brooches). Stick with turtlenecks under pinafores for daytime; prim blouses under mannish trouser suits for work; Lurex knits under crazy fake furs for parties. Break free of tasteful greys and embrace colour combinations last seen on Routemaster bus upholstery: yellow with bronze, scarlet with bottle green. Still not the easiest look to carry off. But compared to a mink and plastic hair slide, we’re laughing.