If twins are defined by their clothes in childhood, what happens when they grow up? Let’s delve into the closets of Alice and Jessica Parr to find out.
As children, twins are often seen dressed in matching outfits with the same haircut; telling the difference is a challenge for anyone who meets an identical set. But this pair is different.
“Our mother never dressed us in the exact same clothes. She always treated us like individuals; we would wear similar outfits but they would compli- ment each other,” says Jessica Parr, as she reminisces with her twin, Alice. “We had Laura Ashley playsuits with similar patterns but they were different colours so that we weren’t completely identical.”
The 20-year-old sisters explain that growing up in Bristol and Puerto Rico exposed them to all sorts of style, and moving to Edinburgh two years ago for university brought them into yet another world of fashion.
As Jessica rakes through her clothes rail, it is obvious she has a wide range of tastes – from skin tight dresses to slouchy hoodies; high fashion to “dirty secret” Primark. She lusts for labels like Balmain known for its daring strong shoulders, ripped tights and chunky boots, and vows to buy a Mulberry Bayswater bag one day.
Her favourite designer? “Chanel! Chanel! Chanel! My fund is growing strong and since I was little my dream has been to go to Paris and buy my Chanel quilted lambskin handbag. This dream is finally coming true for my 21st birthday this year!” Alice is also treating herself to a Chanel handbag this summer when the twins shared dream comes true.
A self confessed slave to Topshop, Jess likes mixing and matching: “I will always be wearing something by American Apparel. I own loads of hoodies, T-shirts and leggings by them- they are the core of my closet. The cotton basics are so versatile and comfy. I can’t get enough of them.”
Jessica’s favourite piece is a classic emerald green bodycon dress by Diane Von Furstenburg: “I found it in a vintage store in New York last summer, but it’s brand new!
“My style changes so often and I tend to follow whatever is fashionable. My opinion on what’s hot can change on a daily basis. Right now I love underwear as outerwear, chunky heeled lace up black leather boots and anything in that dusky nude light pink colour.”
However, even up to date fashionistas can make bad choices: “The worst outfit I have ever worn was on a night out in Edinburgh … an aqua strapless dress with a gold belt, black tights and cream patent high heels. None of it worked together. I did also once wear a lime green T-shirt with bright blue flared leggings which had tiny green stars on them – but I was ten at the time.”
Alice has a more traditional approach to fashion, with summery tea dresses, bodycon and the all-impor- tant wardrobe staple the grey hoodie featuring in her favourite looks. Despite the luxury handbag being her “future favourite item”, Chanel is not Alice’s ultimate label: “My favourite brand is Burberry; I love how Christopher Bailey has made it into a young, cool British phenomenon, and it annoys me how some people still have a stereotype of it being chavvy.
“I do like designer labels but I buy most of my clothes from Topshop, Primark and Urban Outfitters (when I can afford it).”
The standout item in Alice’s collection sits on her shoe shelf. “I got these black patent platform shoes from Office for £18, reduced from £70 in the sale. They are comfortable and an absolute bargain.” In contrast to Jessica’s ever changing trend led collection,
Alice’s wardrobe contains simple key items: a black velvet backless bodycon dress, worn in Converse trainers, Levi’s dark-wash straight cut jeans, American Apparel wet look leggings and a grey hoodie from H&M – “I bought that in 2005 and still wear it.”
The twins both admire celebrity style: the Olsen Twins are their favourite icons. “I think they always get it right, even when it’s wrong,” says Jessica. “They have an ability to mix crazy pieces with everyday basics which is admirable.”
Alice is an Olsen fan too but prefers a more relaxed style: “Alexa Chung has a good look – she’s cool and casual but she also mixes designer with vintage. I love the mix of old and new. I really like Daisy Lowe as well.”
Whilst the Parrs share an admiration for Burberry, Mulberry and Chanel, each has an individual style based on high street pieces with a designer twist, Jessica explains:“Fashion is totally individual. We are twins but we have our own styles so even though we look the same at a glance, our wardrobes help to define our individuality.”
Words and photography by Mairi Thomson