Trend Prediction: Young, Wild and Free – The Donna Sheridan Look

If you haven’t seen any advertisement yet for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, you must be living under a rock; from television adverts to sponsored Instagram posts, the trailer is everywhere. The film itself is exactly the kind of cheesy, sometimes cringe-worthy, glitter-infused, feel-good fun you’d expect it to be, though it wouldn’t have been any kind of fitting sequel for the original had it not been for the “all-singing, all-dancing, scene-grabbing, screen igniting presence of the wonderful Lily James” as Will Gompertz said in this review. Young Donna could not, in my opinion, have been cast any better and surprisingly enough for a movie in which spandex appears more than once, Lily James’ outfits were almost as scene-stealing as the actress herself.

“You’re going mad,” you might be thinking, “the only fashion era worse than the 70s was the 80s”. Well, before Mamma Mia 2 was released, I would have said the same. Then, I watched the movie (a solid 3 times, and yet I am unashamed) and came out of the cinema to find myself wanting not only to immediately board a flight to a remote Greek island, but also wishing I owned every single item of clothing worn by Lily James in the film, and I’m not the only one. Considering there are already a number of 70s-inspired trends hitting stores (read: flared trousers, baker boy hats, printed twist-headbands, jumpsuits), it’s a safe bet that before long, almost every girl will be dressing like Donna Sheridan. So, to grant all our wishes a little early, here’s all of Young Donna’s best outfits, ranked, and how to imitate them:

Donna pic 1.png

6) I Have A Dream

I, personally, would love for ponchos to start gracing our shop shelves again – it was like being able to go outside in your favourite blanket, but actually look cool doing it. Why did we ever decide these were uncool?

Lily James’ poncho isn’t actually the only one to appear in the movie, though Amanda Seyfried’s is perhaps a tad more questionable. The poncho that James wears, however, is a gorgeous cherry-red colour which is paired with a clashing teal-blue floppy hat and leather shoulder bag for the ultimate dreamy, bohemian-chic traveller look.

If you also want to look this gorgeous wearing what will essentially be a comfy blanket, here’s where to find the items to recreate this look (for maximum impact, pair with well-used suitcase and enviable vacation destination):

Note: as hard as I looked, ponchos and hats which exactly match these beautiful colours apparently don’t exist; however, as long as you stick to a poncho with a relatively open weave (that way, because your figure and your bomb outfit can be seen underneath, it won’t look matronly) and avoid a mix of toomany colours either in the poncho itself or in the hat you’re pairing it with, you’re sure to look as dreamy as Donna.

Donna pic 2.png5) Donna Dungarees

Of course, we can’t leave out the iconic Donna Sheridan look: dungarees. Dungarees are one of those items of clothing which, despite being associated most commonly with painter-decorators or small children, has never really disappeared completely from the retail world; dressed right, they can actually be stylish in an effortlessly laid-back way (see image to the left).

James’ dungarees are paired with a mustard yellow, printed top – a colour which is bang-on-trend for this summer – with a button-up neckline which shows off her unusual statement moth pendant.

Find similarly iconic items here to turn yourself into a mini-Donna:

Note: To add a modern twist on the iconic look which would give it a touch more sex-appeal, you could swap the long-sleeved button-up for a bralet, and show off a bit more skin – find one here.

 

4) Covetable Cover-Up

Cover-ups are a hard thing to get right. Outside of a beach holiday environment, you probably want something which is not completely transparent (like a sarong, kimono or kaftan), but which is still a stylish and lightweight piece to be able to easily throw on over swimwear so that should you want to jump in the sea with a moment’s notice, you can easily do so. Cue James’ enviable embroidered dress; it is a little bit see-through, so that we can see the outline of her outfit underneath (which gives her shape, since we can see her waist), but is still appropriate for any number of travel activities, be that dance routines atop sailboat decks or just seaside brunch. It is light and airy, ideal for the hot weather, and features a very bohemian embroidered pattern and off-shoulder neckline.

Paired with diva sunglasses and matching leather suitcase and boots, this is the ideal outfit for the first day of the rest of Donna’s life on Kalokairi. I would not, however, recommend wearing leather boots in Greek weather, as James’ feet were probably oven-baked by the end of filming that day. Copy the rest of the outfit with these killer pieces, and wherever you go, pair with your own well-loved suitcase:

 

 

Donna pic 4.png3) Double-Denim Done Right

Double-denim might be a look most commonly associated with country music or that terrible photo of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake (you know the one), but on Lily James, it stuns. The high waisted-shorts and bralet she wears show off her figure in an effortless way, and the contrast in colours of denim make sure that the look doesn’t appear overly-coordinated. Paired with hair as wavy as the sea around her and a natural make-up look, this is an outfit that highlights the actress’ natural beauty.

 

 

How to be a denim bikini babe:

Donna pic 5.png2) Maxi Skirt, Maximum Impact

The best outfits in the film were no doubt the offstage, laid-back looks (in fact, most of the songs are performed out of the sequins-and-spandex costumes you might associate with ABBA) and perhaps no outfit showcases that sense of effortless style more than this simple orange maxi-skirt and t-shirt combo. The bold colour of the skirt does all the talking, and the tie at the side of the t-shirt takes the outfit away from being baggy and shapeless and makes it pretty flattering. Swapping out your trusty jeans for a maxi skirt like this one once in a while, and styling it with a cropped or tied t-shirt and a pair of stappy, flat sandals could be the ideal way to nail a look that can actuallybe taken from day to night, and feels a little more special than your run-of-the-mill jeans.

 

Find an outfit like this one here:

Donna pic 6.png1) Star of the Show

And finally, the best outfit in the movie. Comprised of stunning mustard-yellow, printed culottes (out of shot) and a blue bralet – which she later wears when singing Andante, Andante – paired with the best piece in the movie (in my opinion); her star-printed denim jacket. It’s only fitting that the star of the entire movie should be bedecked in stars; especially considering that even if she hadn’t been cast as Donna, her talent still would have shone through over the rest. The movie’s stylist has cleverly clipped half of James’ hair back so that the print can be seen and appreciated. James’ shape is also enhanced by the culottes and bralet she wears, the plunging neckline nicely showing off her moth necklace, which is a constant throughout the whole movie; and her blonde waves are complimented by the colour scheme.

This is an outfit which one can easily see translating into modern day fashion; culottes are already bang on trend, as are bralets, along with denim jackets featuring motifs, prints or embroidery. The colour scheme is one which you will see as soon as you walk inside any high street store at the moment (particularly yellow). Here’s how to copy this killer outfit:

 

So, there you have it – all of the best outfits worn by Lily James in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, ranked, and imitated. Of course, we can’t magically transform ourselves into Lily James, as much as we might want to; but many of the pieces she wears in the movie would actually be universally flattering, and the colours would look gorgeous on any skin tone. So, say hello to the return of the 70s, and be warned – outbursts of ABBA songs are extremely likely.

Cailin Campbell

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