‘The better I feel, the less I dwell on what others think’

Our resident image expert Mandy Lehto talks to musician Hattie Briggs about dressing to be happy and using music as a muse..


‘The better I feel, the less I dwell on what others think’

Hattie Briggs, 21, dropped out of her Russian language course at university to pursue her passion of singing and songwriting. Last year, she was nominated for the Radio 2 Young Folk Award. Hattie describes her music as a mix of mature pop and catchy melody. ‘It’s fairly relaxed and quite personal,’ she says. I ask if the same is true of her style. ‘My style is a blend, like my music. I have a lot of individual pieces with a distinctive feel – retro, vintage, folksy, sporty, modern. I like to mix subtle pieces with something off-the-wall.’ Music is her muse. There are parallels between songwriting and dressing –both are creative pursuits. ‘Writing songs has made me more authentic, as it’s so personal,’ she says. ‘As I’ve pursued my music, I’ve become more daring in what I wear. The better I feel, the less I dwell on what others think. That gives me creative freedom.’

While there’s no formula to Hattie’s look, she admits to a few style staples. ‘I’m obsessed with jackets. They can take a casual outfit from scruffy to cool. I love hats and headscarves, too.’ She got into wearing them while growing her hair in that awkward, in-between stage. ‘Now I wear them all the time. A headscarf changes the whole feel of an outfit.’ She often constructs outfits around high-waisted jeans (‘so flattering on long legs’) and flat shoes or boots. ‘I am 5’11 and have size 9 feet, so I’m not into heels.’ The more she performs, the more aware she has become of what looks and feels right. ‘Until recently, I was trying to find my style, and mostly dressed in baggy hoody tops and low-slung jeans. My only aim was to hide my bad bits. I just didn’t “get” clothes at all.’

Hattie was a tomboy growing up. ‘I’m sporty and came into wearing feminine clothes very late.’ This has infused her look with an interesting twist. She has never been into make-up or accessories either. ‘I keep things simple, and add lots of colour,’ she says. ‘I mix up bright pieces, and let colour do the talking.’ Bright and casual, that’s how she sums up her look. ‘And happy!’ she adds. ‘I’m quite a happy person and dressing is such a treat. It’s something
I look forward to every morning.’

How to let go of the rules

  • Pair a jacket with jeans to upscale a casual look 
  • Not into accessories? A great belt can be enough
  • Embrace challenges (like in-between-length hair) to find new style options
  • Try a headscarf – watch an online tutorial and have a go!
  • Play with ditzy patterns and checks



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