Jeans and a Nice Top: a ’fit that is, to quote one of the smartest, funniest, bestest and all-round coolest actors, classique.
No, Aimee Lou Wood is not French. She’s from Stockport, and proud of it. But on- and offscreen, this graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art definitely speaks the international language of style.
The 27-year-old is the BAFTA-winning star of Sex Education, the blockbuster Netflix dramedy that wears its teenage emotions – not to mention its pick’n’mix approach to fashion – on its sleeve.
Wood, then, is the perfect face of Levi’s® UK for Spring/Summer 2022, a campaign centred around the forever uniform of jeans and a nice top.
As captured in a playful accompanying film shot by Rosaline Shahnavaz, she knows how to rock a simple statement combo, whatever the occasion: that first day of rehearsals “something comfy for a script read-through”), a night out at karaoke (“but I don’t want to look like I’m taking myself too seriously… even though I will be…”), Sunday brunch with the pals (“I’m thinking rom-com vibes…”).
Step forward this denim-wearing dynamo, pairing classic ’90s Levi’s® 501s with the Rey Smocked Blouse, or Ribcage Straight jeans with the Shelly Sweater Vest. Embodying the Levi’s® “Buy Better, Wear Longer” motto, Wood demonstrates that by swapping around your pairings – out with the blouse, in with a ’90s trucker – you can amp up your style with a core capsule wardrobe centred on your favourite pair of Levi’s® jeans.
Below, we catch up with Wood on her latest film set to talk Sex Ed, style switcheroo and the make-up lessons her mother taught her…
Hello Aimee! Why did you want to be involved in this campaign?
I think Levi’s® is a really cool and playful brand. They have provided classic staples for decades. The jeans last for years and years and are so versatile. Utter classics.
Levi’s® Jeans and a Nice Top: what’s the first “nice top” you had that you can remember?
I remember I had a T‑shirt with a photo of Freddie Mercury on it. I asked for it for Christmas and I thought it was the coolest top ever.
Can you describe, please, an occasion in your teen years when a jeans-and-a-nice-top ’fit worked wonders for you? Or, alternatively, when the combo failed to rescue a social situation?
I wasn’t really a jeans person as a teen. I think because my mum was never out of hers and vowed that they were the best item of clothing you can invest in, I wanted to rebel against that and be individual. Eventually, I had to admit she was right. I did love denim, though – denim dresses, skirts, dungarees.
Although one time my mum got me this beautiful vintage denim Levi’s® jacket and I went up to my room and cut the sleeves off and put loads of badges all over it. I thought I was Vivienne Westwood or something! (Badges bought from Affleck’s Palace, of course – if you’re Mancunian, you will get this). I walked down like, “how cool is this?!” And bless her, she lied to me and said it was…
But I’d completely ruined it. I wore it out and a friend said it looked like Tina Fey’s waistcoat in Mean Girls. I was distraught.
You say: “If my mum taught me one thing, it’s that you need jeans and a nice top – and that’s basically it.” What’s a second thing your mum taught you?
My mum has taught me countless lessons. Most are deeply profound. But another fun one she taught me is where to get the best mascara in the world. She has used one specific mascara since the ’90s and it’s honestly unbeatable. But it’s a Wood family secret.
You won a BAFTA for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme for playing Sex Education’s Aimee, “the everywoman who’s not that cool”. What is it about her that’s (a) so fun for you to play and (b) hilarious for viewers?
Aimee is so fun to play because she’s a complete individual with such a unique and idiosyncratic mind. She also doesn’t really have a filter when it comes to poo chat, which I love. I think what people find funny about her is that she says these quite ridiculous and silly things with real conviction.
What role does the era-surfing, genre-blending fashion play in Sex Education?
Fashion is very important in Sex Ed. The stories are very reflective of the real, contemporary world but the aesthetic exists in its own time and place. This timeless and placeless look means the show won’t date. People will watch it in 20 years and won’t be saying: “OMG those outfits are so 2022.”
It’s “only” five years since you graduated from RADA. What would the freshly graduated Aimee make of what five-years-into-her-soaraway-career Aimee has achieved?
I think the freshly graduated Aimee would be very overwhelmed. I don’t think she would be able to process it. I still haven’t.
You’re currently in Wales with fellow comedy ledges Lolly Adefope, Nicola Coughlan, Nick Frost and Jessica Hynes – not on holiday but filming historical comedy Seize Them!, playing Queen Dagan (“master of all she surveys, with an ego to match”). It’s set in the Dark Ages (which is 1000-odd years ago, give or take). What’s the Dark Ages version of jeans and a nice top?
I think the medieval version of jeans and a nice top was a tunic. Tunics everywhere!
Thank you, Aimée! We’ll let you go back to being a medieval queen now…