Surprisingly, the most delicious thing on this season of Great British Bake Off is not the saucy pods, crisp-bottomed pies, or scrumptious scones. It’s the looks that one 80-year-old Prue Leith has been serving this season.
Prudence Margaret Leith, owner of one of the most English names alive as well as a chef, author, and host, has been in the cooking and fashion game for over 50 years, but sadly only came into my orbit during the latest season of Netflix’s Great British Bake Off. There are many good reasons to look forward to each episode, including finding out the answers to my many questions like: Will Peter’s meticulously crafted quiches turn out? Will Hermine nonchalantly win Star Baker again? What can Dave from Hampshire do to top his Tom Delonge cake? And, of course, what is Prue’s glam this week?
Currently, Prue Leith ranks top among my style icons. Bold lip colors that don’t smudge when taste-testing pastries? Check. Bold lip colors synchronized with the frames of her glasses? You Bet. A statement necklace with laissez-faire energy? Get me in that tent!
I’ve taken a few style notes over the past few weeks (Can we talk about Japanese week??) to see how I too can channel my inner Leith for Zoom meetings, around the house, in the mirror, and beyond.
Below, the best style lessons from Prue Leith.
Matching your lipstick to your glasses unlocks a new level of chic
This was my gateway into Leith’s enviable style. During Biscuit Week, I noticed her purple lip paired with purple eye glasses and I’ve been hooked ever since. Leith has not shied away from this signature look. It’s usually her classic red frames with a red lip—swoon!—but she has subtly matched a peach lip to a multi-colored set of glasses and a pair of hot-pink frames with an equally pizzazzed lip. While I don’t wear glasses, I have invested in a few sunglasses and attempted to pair my lip with deep purple and tortoise shell shades. I haven’t pulled it off like Leith but it’s early in week seven and I, just like fellow PL mentees, have time to improve as the competition progresses.
A necklace is always a good idea
“My love affair with necklaces started over 50 years ago and they have been a consistent obsession,” Leith writes on her official blog. “I don’t bother with all those teeny-weeny little necklaces, they’re hardly worth the bother—go all out for a fun, multi-coloured one with oversized beads, or layer several together to stand out from the crowd.”
Leith is her own show-stopper challenge: She adorns herself in the most dramatic neck pieces and consequently, I have been taking a local trip to my Chico's so I can really start dressing. I’ve typically trafficked in the teeny-weeny little necklaces, but I agree with Leith that it’s time to embrace the fun. Now, the moodboard is: If Miss Frizzle quit teaching to start a chunky necklace Etsy shop meets Prue during Japanese week, where her necklace almost matched the cooking creations.” Très chic.
Have fun with it
Leith took to Instagram to thank all her adoring fans (me) for the compliments (from me) on the looks she’s been serving this season. “Truth is, I’m having a very happy old age, am not averse to fake tan out of a bottle and all the glamour is added by Bambi and Debbie (the glam team) Sharon (wardrobe) and Jane and Claire the GBBO’s stylists,” she wrote.
She went on to talk about insecurity around getting old and finding the importance in embracing her beauty at every age. The honesty about struggling with confidence, the thanking her glam team, and the throwback picture further instill her idol status. You can have your cake and eat it too.
Fall in love with a good theme
Just like most sorority and fraternity members, or those who frequent Bachelorette parties most weekends, Leith knows a good theme goes a long way. If you’ve been watching GBBO these past weeks, you notice Leith always comes with a subtle nod to the theme that week—‘80s week and the necklaces got chunkier, Japanese Week and the looks matched even more.
"Buy a red jumper!"
"I didn't set out at my vast old age to become a style icon," Leith, then 79, told Express UK. "To wear all black is boring, boring, boring." She continued: "A lot of older women say to me when I'm signing books that they admire what I wear, but I look at them and they're all in beige and I say, 'Take a chance. Buy a red jumper.'"
If you’ve seen any of the promo videos, you'll see Leith in rainbow shirts and hot hues over anything black. Color is the new black!