An A-list stylist answers our 6 most-pressing fashion questions

We've all spent 2020 getting familiar with technology that many of us had rarely even used before never mind relied solely on (Zoom, we're looking at you), but if you've simultaneously been navigating the world of dating this year then you deserve a medal.

But in lieu of such insignia - a medal *really* doesn't go with the #lewk does it? - we've gone one better, and are rewarding you dating troopers with some exclusive access to one of fashion's favourite stylists right now, Leah Abbott, who has been giving us all of her top tips on how to dress for a successful virtual date night.

Yep, as if dating wasn't already enough of a minefield, 2020 decided to ensure you could only do so via a computer screen. And they say romance is dead...

I was proposed to on a group video call during lockdown and this is how I felt

Having teamed up with dating app Bumble and rental fashion app By Rotation, the woman behind Jorja Smith's most epic looks has curated an edit of the very best pieces on the rental app to loan for that candlelit (*laptop-screen-lit*) first meeting.

Affordable, sustainable and stylist-approved... Virtual dating just started looking up.

Q Tell us a bit more about the partnership and your curated edit?

A Bumble found that almost half (46%) of people get ready for a virtual date the same way you would in IRL, and I think it's super important to feel great but also be comfortable when wanting to show the best side of yourself when virtually dating. This is why I created the Bumble Edit within the ByRotation app. It consists of just over 30 luxury designer pieces of clothing, jewellery and accessories to help give women the confidence to put together a great look whilst virtually connecting on Bumble this festive season. The Bumble Edit covers a range of sizes and styles for all personalities.

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Q If you were going on a first date yourself, what would you wear if it were IRL and what would you wear if it were virtual? How and why would they differ?

A For me a first date outfit is a great opportunity to show a bit about myself from the moment I walk in - or video chat! IRL I would certainly play with a lot of accessories, I have a tonne of piercings which is a great conversation starter and so statement earrings are a must, this is something that can also be shown via video chat easily. In terms of clothing I would go with something comfortable, bright and easy, you don’t want to be adjusting something on camera or in IRL every five minutes, in fact once you’ve started speaking you don’t want to have to think about it at all. I love the below options from the Bumble Edit:

(L-R): Valentino dress from £40 | De La Vali from £8

These 5 fashion rental services make designer shopping cheaper *and* more sustainable

Q How do you address sustainability in your styling and within your own wardrobe in a world that's still so obsessed with ‘newness'?

A A lot of the brands I love to work in to styling, and my own wardrobe, currently are young designers who have a huge focus on sustainability. It's pretty important if you want to be taken seriously in the 2020 fashion world. I also love to pull from vintage dealers and archive costume houses as they have such a wide and incredible range of pieces they still feel really new and exciting.

Q Do you think fashion is moving fast enough when it comes to sustainable innovation?

A I think in general it took us all too long to notice the irreversible effects different worlds were having on the environment. However everyone in Fashion I work with now is trying their best to do their part whether it be changing packaging or using scraps to create and that’s a great step.

This is why you need to pay attention to sustainable fashion (and these are the brands you should look out for)

Q How has 2020 been for you as a stylist considering the impact of COVID on events?

A I spent a lot of last year travelling and so it’s been really quite strange for me to be in one place this year. I’ve certainly enjoyed the slight break and ability to rethink what I want next but I’m also very ready to kick start again hopefully in the new year.

Q What's been your most 'pinch me' moment in your career so far?

A I would say styling my client Jorja Smith for The Grammys in 2019. The awards are so prestigious and something you hear and dream about from such a young age when I found out I was going to be working for them I couldn’t believe it! We did an incredible custom Balmain look which I still have in my archive now.

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If only we had Leah and Olivier Rousteing on hand for a custom virtual date night look... now that would be a Zoom outfit we'd happily get on board with.

Scroll down for our Fashion Editor's pick of the best By Rotation rentals from Leah's epic Bumble edit...

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