Nobody’s Business

As far as I’m concerned, the awkward denim jacket is back in the game. Think James Dean. James Dean. James Dean. James Dean.


Eleven-year-old Margaret was inexplicably awkward. I’d just started Year 7, and was the smallest person in the entire Senior School standing at a hefty 4 feet 3 inches, with disproportionately skinny limbs, and a weird hairline (truth be told, my hairline is still bloody weird – Paloma can attest to that). Keeping in mind that past-the-knee board shorts emblazoned with ROXY (and matching pencil cases twice the size of my then-face) were still the best thing since sliced bread and/or Paris Hilton, my favourite weekend jacket was a deep blue washed denim jacket with square pockets, square shoulders and a hem that stood squarely away from my pint-sized torso, just above the hip. All the hardware was gunmetal, all the seams were artificially distressed, and we were the very best of friends.

In Year 10, I sprouted 8 inches and happy jacket and I were to be no longer, though I got over this devastation pretty quickly upon discovering some sort of personal style beyond ballet leotards and sweaters, and developing a distaste for distressed denim altogether – indeed, I was still too short for distressed knee patches to actually fall at the knee, and gave up on the idea of crawling around on carpeted surfaces in multiple vain attempts of wearing out the correct region of cheap denim.

For the past five years, I’ve avoided denim jackets like the plague (save one or two of my Mother’s from the 80s during my fleeting Vintage phase of being Sweet Sixteen and a Half). On somebody with a baby face such as mine, they seemed invariably awkward and restrictive, as if my paternal Grandmother in China… she does love a good ill-fitting denim shell. My acceptable outerwear lengths, too, have fallen ever closer to my ankles (I have now plateaued at mid-calf length coats, for I have not the balls to drop it to the floor), until the day Ben at Nobody introduced me to this little Miss.

Part of the magnetism was surely some form of nerdy nostalgia – the proportions of this shell are essentially panel-for-panel to my yesteryear bestie. A charcoal wash and minimal distress later, my little black jacket is all grown up as a more street-level incarnation of that damned blazer-across-shoulders obsession that

this industry won’t shake for as long as Carine Roitfeld reigns supreme. And so, as far as I’m concerned, the awkward denim jacket is back in the game.

I will admit, though, that the grown-up element requires a helping hand in the form of lace. I will admit, too, that I’ve never been a strong lace wearer: exhibit A being this image directly above, in which I neglect to notice the sheer lace panels on either side of this Self-Portait dress, before electing to wear look-at-me baby blue underwear for the world to see.

At least it wasn’t red.

Meanwhile there’s something uber sexual about a lace-and-leather combination that makes me a little uncomfortable, so again, dark denim to the rescue. Lace for your Mad Men, your My Fair Lady, your Great Gatsby, and your Jane Eyre, and denim for James Dean. Or so I like to think.

Treat them like your boyfriend jeans – roll around in bed in them, red lippie and black stiletto them, Hey Macarena them.

Got it?

NOBODY Denim Jacket and Cult Skinny JeansHansen & Gretel White Lace Top – Self-Portrait Lace Dress

  • I love your writing Maggie, you’re so talented! The second picture is absolutely stunning, I like the contrast of the refined dress with a denim jacket.
    PS: would love to see a picture of Maggie as high as 3 apples as we say it in France!

    Mafalda ❤

  • Wow, you are amazing. You make people love themselves, truly inspirational! Thank you for being so

    Personal Blog:

  • Fanny

    Dark denim works so well with lace ! We’ll see if we’re all capable of sporting this coming back trend as you do !


  • your sense of aesthetics is just impressive, you have created sucha a wonderful looks with a denim jacket as an accessorize… that is not easy at all!

  • Evvie Clare

    I’ve avoided dark denim since my awkward early high school days (not that I’ve actually become significantly less awkward!) but you have almost made me reconsider. The lace dress combination is to-die-for on you !

  • Perfect! Great pictures and great story! Love it :)

  • Amanda Chan

    Oh I remember the Roxy board shorts and huge pencil case phase all too well. My sister and I used to match in double denim skirts and jackets – but starting a fresh page now, I think I’m ready to handle the double denim jacket as well this time. Beautiful photos as well!

  • Mega babe!!! Love this sooo much, Margaret! You’re totally slayin it. So well written too. xx

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  • Joe Beverly

    too sexy for words
    you are so beautiful

  • shershegoes

    Love the dress!


  • intodreams

    That is the loveliest denim jacket I’ve ever seen! I absolutely love your sense of style, your attention to details, and every photo composition. You’re so amazing!

  • Haha such a fun article! I was the same with my denim jacket back in primary school, and ever since I grew out of it, I never purchased another one. Today…I have changed my mind. ^^ You look gorgeous!

  • After just reading 2 posts, I’m already a big fan! Gorgeous work…

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  • fashion altitude

    Love your writing, so entertaining..and what a fabulous look wow!

  • Stephanie Schafer

    I love how each of your posts tell a story; and of course, looking amazing as usual.
    Stephanie Schafer from

  • Xincerely

    Totally love you! New post inspired by you!


  • Great post, as always!

    xx Nicole

  • Tahlia Sanders

    You rock the wet hair look like no other, Margaret! I adore your take on the denim jacket – so lady like, yet edgy. You can do no wrong in my books.

  • Sharon

    I was like you too in yr 7. The shortest, smallest and skinnest little asian amongst a school of predominantly white people. Oh and I wore those (shameful) denim jeans with embellishments on them … *shudder*

  • I have an awkward denim jacket that I hardly wear yet can’t bear to part with! There could be some strange nostalgia for difficult teenage years that’s caused me to hand onto it. Perhaps it’s time for me to give the denim jacket a second chance?


    hahaha i used to love more oversized black guess jeans jacket in gr 7 also…

  • Great post!
    Love your story and the way you combine the denim jacket with that lace dress here.

    Bisous from Paris.

  • Can’t even focus on the denim jacket with that lace dress. Freckin amazing. Awkward always turns into something great it seems.

  • I’ve avoided the denim jacket for my whole life and now I’m dying to own one. Preferably the oversized Acne version.. What is happening to me?! :P

  • Marta
  • Maggie A

    Just saw the same dress on another blogger but I have to say you seriously look the most amazing <3 :)

    Maggie A

  • Chelsea Dunstan



Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese director, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Margaret has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, UNIQLO, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Margaret’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NYLON, Marie Claire, GRAZIA and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for the past four consecutive years. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim.

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