Today’s ‘Lockdown Fashion’ interview is with Mickey Elliott. Mickey is the Creative Director of a small, multi-discipline design studio, and an avid lover of good design. She is married, lives with her husband, son, and rescue cat, and is proud to be part of one of the oft-hidden corners of the LGBT+ community. Mickey is a non-binary, non-straight human, and she believes that good design can change the world. When she’s not designing or solving problems, Mickey enjoys reading and watching science fiction, especially Star Trek (Next Generation, since you asked). She documents her parenthood, baking and novice decorating skills on Instagram as @MxMickeyElliott.
1) Can you describe what your personal style was like before lockdown?
My personal style was fairly conservative. I tend toward neutrals – black, ivory, beige, navy and tweed – in fairly traditional silhouettes. I never wear heels as I’m 5’8″ and can’t walk in them anyway. I identify as Non-Binary and for me this means always matching my manicure to my pocket square. My style covers gender as a range – one end being very feminine with pink floaty blouses that I’d style with jeans and ballet flats, all the way through to high waisted trousers worn with a shirt, blazer and oxfords. The formalwear section of my wardrobe houses both ballgowns and dress shirts. My style choices for the day would always help to reinforce where I was feeling on the gender spectrum – and would give clues to those around me as to where my head was. Last year I worked through the Lizzie Edwards book Look Like The Leader You Are to understand my personal style and wardrobe choices and started to build a style ‘default’, which has had an immeasurable impact on my style confidence.
2) What is your daily routine for getting dressed to remain at home? If you don’t have one, why is that?
Currently there are fewer considerations for getting dressed. I don’t need to give any indication of my inward disposition as I’m with my husband and son. I do have to role model positive ‘morning routines’ for the little one, who is currently wearing his school uniform top on weekdays. More than anything, that is helping him to keep some sense of routine around homeschooling expectations. I have daily video calls with my team, and so far it’s been wardrobe staples all the way. The kind of outfit that not much thought goes into. Plain sweaters, oversized t shirts, simple shirts. I would usually add lapel pins or a neck tie, but I’m just sticking to simplicity at the moment.
3) Has your approach to fashion and style changed as a result of the current situation?
My approach to style has shifted massively during the pandemic. Working in a Creative studio environment, what you wear can have a huge impact on how people perceive you (think Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada). Being in the studio or speaking at events meant ensuring that my outfits were ‘on-brand’ for me as a contemporary and creative individual. Add in some gender fluidity to the mix and you get a potent brew. I’m meeting fewer people at the moment, and making fewer first impressions, so there’s less thought going into my outfits. That said, the same care and attention is going into my hair and nails – that’s something I do for me, not the benefit of others.
4) Thinking back through what you have worn since you’ve been staying at home, what has been your favourite item of clothing and why?
This is a tough one. Before lockdown I picked up some fantastic elastic waisted grey trousers from Marks and Spencer (pictured). They’re a tweedy fabric but very comfortable. I tend to wear these when I’m travelling for work as they don’t crease, but they’ve been great at home on a practical level. The other option is a ridiculous white shirt from ASOS. It got a great cut at the top with raglan shoulders and huge (H U G E) balloon sleeves. When I wear this I feel like I’ve still made an effort and have #GirlBoss vibes. It’s a good mix of masculine and feminine, too which is great for me.
5) Has your self-perception changed in isolation? How so?
My self-perception and expression is so tightly linked to my wardrobe. ‘Mama-mode’ clothes – clothes that I can get down on the floor and play LEGO in, trousers that don’t fall down when I run alongside Small’s bike, clothes that I don’t mind getting Play-Doh in – put me in that Mama mindset (regardless of where those clothes fit on the gender spectrum, which is a whole OTHER consideration to contend with). I’m pretty good at compartmentalising my worlds. I’m either Mama or Mickey. Currently with the schools closed and my whole team working from home, my worlds are all sorts of crashed together. Switching roles in a heartbeat is tricky. In the Studio, I feel I have a very different personality than I do at home, and maintaining that distinction is getting harder and harder the more time I find myself available as ‘Mama’.
If you’d like to take part in the project yourself, you can find all the information you need in the blog post entitled ‘Lockdown Fashion: an exploration of dressing at home in 2020‘ dated 9th April 2020.