What should a Spice Girl wear in 2018?

Spice Girls 2.0
Spice Girls 2.0
Image: Getty Images

Their Nineties wardrobes set trends and were copied by a generation – but what happens when girl power grows up, asks Charlie Gowans-Eglinton

When the Spice Girls entered the cultural consciousness in 1996, what they wore influenced a generation – every girl had a favourite Spice to ape.

It wasn’t that they looked good – they often didn’t, strictly speaking, as their clothes rendered them characters, not fashion plates. But they were having so much fun with clothes.

Long before trainers became the wear-everywhere staple that they are today, the Spice Girls rejected the stilettos of their peers – because how could you dance properly? Instead, they wore chunky Buffalo trainers – the same styles that have inspired this season’s biggest shoe trend, the ugly trainer, and Balenciaga’s Triple S, which sold out in three hours on MatchesFashion.com.

Sporty gave tracksuits fashion credibility; Baby made us want bunches. Geri Halliwell’s Union flag minidress, fashioned from a tea towel and worn to perform at the Brits in 1997, was memorable enough to beat Princess Diana’s wedding dress and Marilyn Monroe’s white halter-neck (the one that came awry over an air vent in The Seven Year Itch) to be crowned the most memorable dress of the last 50 years in a 2010 Telegraph poll.

Which is why, when the news that the Spice Girls (sans Posh) were reforming for a UK tour, people want to see what they will be wearing.

These were the women who gave us girl power, after all, and in the highly charged current climate – through the lens of #MeToo, the latest alleged case of which centres on Philip Green, a key figure in the British fashion industry – a 2018 update on their style couldn’t be more relevant.

Except that’s not what they delivered in the new portrait released on Monday. Instead, they seemed to have gone to pains to distance themselves from their characters. Melanie C had a Melania Trump-over, swapping sportswear for soft-power-tailoring, Geri looked like an Apprentice candidate, Emma a runner-up in the Great British Bake Off, and Melanie B seems to have stepped out of a Christmas TV advert.

Girl power for grown-ups, this was not.

The original Spice Girls
The original Spice Girls
Image: Getty Images

Perhaps they missed a trick. The Spice Girls of old didn’t take themselves too seriously – and as a result, their tongue-in-cheek style continues to be referenced to this day. So, consider this an open letter to the stylist booked to dress the Spices 2.0: please, put down the newsreader dresses and court shoes. Here’s what they should be wearing.

Ginger Spice

Image: Getty images

Redheads finally got their own emojis last month — and how better to celebrate than Ginger wearing a lorry-load of sequins courtesy of Halpern Studio. Maybe a minidress, maybe flares, maybe a minidress over flares?

Think Cilla Black on Top of the Pops circa 1964 and you’re on the right track. Also, since the name is Ginger Spice, not honey-blonde-highlight spice, here’s hoping a trip to the salon is on the cards.

Scary Spice

Image: Getty Images

There was nothing scary about Mel B’s polite one-shouldered sequin dress. Back in the day, Scary was known for leopard print and catsuits — and sometimes for leopard print catsuits; she championed man-repelling fashion before it was a trend.

And leopard print has made a comeback, so Melanie Brown would have her pick.

Tom Ford’s neon leopard suit is spot on, or she could ask to borrow that stand-out leopard-print coat from Victoria Beckham’s AW18 catwalk collection – the designer formerly known as Posh has given her support to the comeback, after all.

Sporty Spice

Image: Getty Images

I would’ve thought this one was a no-brainer.

Back in the Nineties, Mel C’s Fila and Adidas-logoed staples would have seen her stopped at the door of any nightclub but that was before the athleisure movement made sportswear a wear-everywhere staple.

Along with a pair of Balenciaga’s sell-out Triple S trainers, I’d also recommend a look at the Fenty x Puma collection by Rihanna (who Mel would do well to take style cues from).

Baby Spice

Image: Getty Images

Emma Bunton had the hardest challenge of the lot, dressing to match the moniker Baby as a 42-year-old in a #TimesUp world.

Yes, as Scarlett Curtis’s new book, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and Other Lies) points out, feminists can wear whatever colour they like.

But it’s not the colour that’s jarring: it’s the prim miniskirt, ruffled-blouse and court shoe combo: just a pottery-painting class short of a cliché.

I’m not asking Bunton to go full kawaii, but a Molly Goddard tiered tulle dress, as seen on Killing Eve’s Villanelle? Zigazig-yah. – The Daily Telegraph