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I’d like to up my game a little for dog walks. Could you suggest some looks to try out?
Dog-walking outfits need to be practical and can be super casual or smart-casual. There are a few formulas I lean on for walks with my fluffy and much-adored cocker spaniel: track pants with a tee, a knit and a jacket; leggings with an oversized top and coat; or baggy khakis with a slim sweatshirt and a bomber jacket. Let’s look at a couple of those in more detail.
In this in-between weather, check the forecast and then start with your shoes. Nothing worse than ruining those white trainers with an unexpected squelch fest. I invariably choose a trainer at this time of year — usually a Nike Air Max 90 (£94 on sale in pink, nike.com). For medium frames New Balance’s 574 is really light and good for a splash of colour (£95, newbalance.co.uk). And for smaller frames this neutral from Veja works well (£120, harveynichols.com).
For my usual park and river walk, I often wear a track pant — this is a fail-safe for me. I don’t like a jean for dog walks as I appear to attract muddy dogs who then jump all over me. Track pants are quick to throw on, washable and easy to construct outfits around. Plus, I feel fine if I bump into a friend or I’m going for a cuppa afterwards.
I have two on rotation — starting with the Gary from Sweaty Betty, which are slim but not tight and last for years (£90, sweatybetty.com). They come in two lengths, short and regular, and the short ones hit me at a pleasing, just-above-the-ankle position. (I am 5-foot-8 with shorter legs). Or I recommend the brilliant DayFlex high-waisted leggings from Tala. These hug all the right places and come in five colours (£59, wearetala.com).
Now the next layer depends on a) the outside temperature and b) how fast you walk. I’ve taken to doing a 20-minute speed walk — no, not the amusing hip-swinging type, just a superfast dash to get my heart rate over 100bpm — so I’m stripping off layers pretty fast. One benefit is that you end up tying your layers around your middle (at least I do) which gives a nod to a styling look from The Row’s Spring 2024 collection — so you will be way ahead of the curve! Don’t go mad, you don’t want to end up looking like you are wearing a lifebuoy.
Begin with an easy tee — anything light and cotton-based, such as Ninety Percent’s organic tee (add a grey jumper if necessary) and trainers (£45, net-a-porter.com). Then add a sweatshirt or light knit. With leggings or slim track pants, go slouchier on top; it looks better. You are aiming for a casual about-town look, not a PE teacher. Here I like something in a different colour to the track pant — often navy, grey or dark green. Speaking of navy and grey, one of the best sweatshirts out there is from Navygrey. The Relaxed-fit style works for taller women as it’s a generous cut, like a men’s sweatshirt (£130, navygrey.co). The Vintage-fit is better for more petite figures or if you want a more fitted look (£120, navygrey.co). I do a side tuck to give me a bit of a waist and add a scarf if it’s nippier. Extreme Cashmere’s mini triangle is a gem (£255, matchesfashion.com).
Once it gets truly cold, I will switch to a wool, cashmere or mixed-yarn knit. I love Alabaste’s cashmere Le Sweatshirt (£325, alabaste.com). You could layer a big scarf over this for more insulation, wrapping it around the shoulders and tie in the middle — Arket’s Triangle wool scarf comes styled this way (£67, arket.com). With the track pant I like a shorter jacket. Layer up like the Miu Miu catwalk outfit with a grey zip-up hoodie (if you don’t want to shell out for the Miu Miu one, I rather like this scuba style from Weekday, £57, weekday.com). I’d opt for a wool coat if it’s not raining (£310, gant.co.uk) and a Barbour if it is (there’s a decent second-hand selection on Vestiaire Collective such as this one in green, £158, vestiairecollective.com).
If you want something longer then you could go for this Aligne’s relaxed Kinny coat, which works for smart-casual weekends too (£229, aligne.co). And for the Rolls-Royce of coats look no further than a Marfa Stance parka or quilt for a premium dog walking look. The beauty of Marfa Stance is that you can change it up each season by swapping out your hood or collar for a new colour, and you can take out the liner to make it a light layer. Pure practical genius. The latest one has a wool inner and a water-repellent outer shell — I can’t think of a better combination as I write this with the rain pelting down on my studio roof (£1,245, marfastance.com).
They also have roomy pockets for dog poo bags, tissues, wallet and phone, so no bag is needed. If you must have a bag, use a cross body in nylon or something equally wipeable. I have a similar one to this and it’s just right (£67, arket.com).
Once the mornings become frosty, I switch to my light Sorel insulated waterproof boots. They are an utter joy to walk in (£125, sorelfootwear.co.uk). These Adidas by Stella McCartney ones also look great and are fully waterproof (£170, stellamccartney.com) Or, try these smarter hikers from Woolrich, with a thick but lightweight EVA sole for non-grassy routes (£370, woolrich.com).
I finish it all off with a hat. A baseball cap lends a sporty vibe and I put my big fat headphones over the top. This leather-peak one from All Saints is fun (£59, allsaints.com), or try a soft cashmere beanie for a hint of French insouciance (£119, johnlewis.com). Now where’s that dog lead?
Anna Berkeley is a London-based personal stylist and founder of the Think Shape app. She has worked in the fashion industry for more than 25 years, previously as a buyer for Selfridges and Prada, and a consultant for Margaret Howell. Every month, she will answer readers’ questions about fashion and what to wear. Have a question for Anna? Email her at [email protected]