Missing Normal People? Channel Marianne’s summer looks

Binged Normal People and looking for some summer OOTD inspiration? May we suggest the shows stylish leading lady…

By Jenny Brownlees

In 2018, Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People was released to critical acclaim, leaving fans dazzled by the lead characters and their on again off again love story. Just when we thought we couldn’t adore the Irish teen’s coming-of-age tale anymore — Hulu produced a 12 episode adaptation that surpassed all expectation. In short — we were obsessed. We weren’t alone either, in the seven-day period since the series premiered, requests to watch the show on BBC iPlayer reached over 21.8 million. It became an instant phenomenon, with the perfect casting of protagonists Connell and Marianne making actors Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones instant stars, adored by fans the world over.

Marianne’s story, in particular, struck a chord with many young women, who recognised the insecurities of the teenage years, growing into your own during university, experiencing the triumph and trauma of first love, navigating everything from friendship to family. The series had a nostalgic feel and was particularly poignant to viewers as the target audience would have been able to identify to the leads at the time, allowing them to look back on their own life experiences.

As well as the series as a whole being a worldwide phenomenon, something about the perfectly depicted fashion in the series particularly shone. Connell’s thin silver chain, worn throughout, has gained cult status, with a 186K strong Instagram following. For Marianne, we witness her style evolution from girl to woman, as she sheds her school uniform and makes her own fashion, and ultimately life choices. Many will recognise their own past fashion endeavours and missteps. Like many, at university Marianne experiments with boho chic and more eclectic looks, whereas her early outfits of baggy knits, vintage denim and cami tops mirror her girlish naivety. At a fundraiser night-out, her first attempt to look grown-up sees her look unsure in a tight black bodycon dress. This is later paralleled in perhaps her most defining fashion moment, where we see her in another black dress – this time, worn as a twenty-something holidaying in Italy. Here she looks comfortable, confident, and we see her growth in both style and self.

Costume designer Lorna Marie Mugan created the character’s now-iconic looks perfectly and didn’t disappoint die-hard book fans in recreating the beloved teens. Mugan reportedly searched vintage shops in order to create Marianne’s eclectic wardrobe, with a few high-street sourced items seen in the first episodes. In our eyes, she nailed it.

Since we’re missing the series already, and debating whether it’s too soon to re-watch, we thought we’d take inspiration from the reining cultural moment of 2020 and echo some of Marianne’s most stylish moments. Here’s how to get the look.

Cool and Casual

H&M Denim dungaree dress – £24.99

Channel young-Marianne in H&M’s dungaree dress, perfect to layer over tees and tops. The vintage-look denim just screams summer.

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Pretty Polka Dots

Kitri Bessie Navy Pussybow Blouse – £85.00

We love Marianne’s pairing of polka dots and tortoiseshell. Both of these items are wear-again classics that will out-last faddy trends.

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A knitwear moment

Warehouse Stitched Scallop Jumper, Coral – £25.20

You may not be frolicking on the beach with Connell, but you can still rock this stylish light knit on cooler summer days.

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Orange is the new black

Self-Portrait Shirred cotton-poplin midi dress – £280.00

We would love to take Marianne’s orange dress to slot it into our S/S 20 wardrobe. Taking inspiration from the Queen of Dresses, we’ll be nodding to her Uni style in this Self-Portrait frock.

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The holiday wardrobe

Next Blue Stripe Tiered Dress – £38.00

Every screen star has their iconic moment, and this 60s style shift dress brought to mind the classic designs donned by Audrey Hepburn and Natalie Wood in the foregone era. Recreate the ‘never goes out of style’ A-line look in Next’s striped mini dress.

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That black dress

Reformation Rosehip Dress – £‌265.00

Possibly our favourite Marianne moment, what is it about pairing trainers and a dress that looks so cool? Now, just to bag a bike to ride through the Italian countryside…

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The little white dress

Sandro Maxime Two-Tone Tiered Broderie Anglaise And Cady Midi Dress – £189.00

Miss Sheridan’s Italian wardrobe served some killer outfits, including a white lace-look dress we’d love to borrow.

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Cool for the summer

Uniqlo Premium Linen Sleeveless Shirt – £19.90 (now £12.90)

Sometimes, simplicity is king. Pair this yellow sleeveless shirt with a denim skirt, à la Marianne.

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Sheer confidence

New Look Mesh Long Sleeve Top – £12.99 (now £9.74)

When Marianne and Connell return to their hometown pub to celebrate New Year’s Eve, she rocks a red sheer top with ease. Steal her style in this long-sleeved mesh top, from New Look.

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Pool party prim

Mango Wrapped belt swimsuit – £39.99 (now £29.99)

We love that Marianne opted for a classic black swimsuit – it never goes out of style.

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Bl-nk Joann Mixed-Print Cover-Up – £60.00

Inject some colour into your summer look, whether you’re wearing this cover-up over a cossie or styled over casual daywear.

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Haute Hippy

Mango Lace Flowy Blouse – £29.99 (now £19.99)

Complete with silk scarf, just like Marianne’s.

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Blue beauty

Oséree Embellished Lurex kaftan – £270.28

Whilst it might not be the season for the velvet blazer, we love the batwing blue dress Marianne wears underneath. This Oséree version is a real show-stopper.

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Giving great dress

RIXO Billie – Mixed Ditsy Floral tiered Midaxi Dress – £295.00

Update your dress-game with RIXO’s Ditsy maxi dress, twinning with Marianne in the process. This is a case of buy-now, wear-forever.

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The classic coat 

Cos Classic Long Wool Coat – £180.00

Marianne perfectly demonstrates why every woman needs a great black coat in her wardrobe repertoire. Think of this as an investment piece. Coffee meeting with an ex – optional.

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RIXO Moss – Silver Sequin Stripe Blouse With Necktie – £205.00

When it came to going out-out, our protagonist donned a 90s style sparkly halter. If you have a special occasion coming up, shine-on in this silver sequin blouse, complete with pretty necktie detail.

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