Best Wardrobes in Britain: Julie Adenuga

No one has more energy at 10 a.m. on a grey Thursday morning than Julie Adenuga. Fresh from filming, editing and promoting her new show Work In Progress, Adenuga is camera-ready and raring to go, and all before coffee. As you would expect from the second youngest sibling in one of Britain’s most prolific musical families and a DJ in her own right, the soundtrack to her Best Wardrobes in Britain shoot is a heady mix of party-starting R&B and Afrobeats, although she changes songs with each outfit to curate the right kind of mood.

Once we’re in the spirit of things and switching effortlessly between Raey tailoring and Corteiz tracksuits, we’re eager to ask about the rest of her wardrobe—is she a handbag collector? A jewellery obsessive? Well, one thing you won’t find are any jeans (her house is a denim-free zone), but if you’re a shoe fan, you’ll be entertained. “Bags and accessories aren’t really my thing; I prefer to spend my money on shoes. It already takes me long enough to get ready without having to choose between five or six different bags,” she muses as she sifts through a wardrobe of carefully archived red carpet gowns. The shoes in question range from box-fresh Nikes to killer stilettos, and should you be wondering, they have their own immaculately organised wardrobe separate from the rest of her collection.

(Image credit: Phill Taylor)

Whether you know Adenuga from her beginnings at Rinse FM, her stint hosting shows for MTV and Comedy Central, her live tours and karaoke nights or her celebrity interviews, once you’ve seen her you’ll remember her. She may be small in stature but her presence is mighty, and she comes alive on camera with an ease that reiterates why she’s such a sought-after talent. Although she may be used to asking all of the questions, this time around, she’s comfortable being the subject, and we took the opportunity to ask her all about how she gets ready in the morning. From embarrassing fashion faux pas to being a front-row mainstay, keep scrolling to read about the intriguing style evolution of Julie Adenuga.

julie adenuga

(Image credit: Phill Taylor)

You’re a born and bred Londoner. How did growing up in the capital influence your style?

A lot of the things that I thought were cool to wear happened because I grew up around boys. Growing up in North London, specifically surrounded by grime and music, everything that was cool to me was tracksuits, Nikes [and] Reebok classics. The look of a “roadman” was my favourite style. I didn’t have any female fashion icons going up at all, and I loved baggy men’s clothes, baggy clothes—actually [like] Eminem used to wear; I don’t know why. But the dungarees and hoodies? That was my thing. You wouldn’t see me in crop tops, low-cut, cleavage, all that stuff. I was just drawn to warm, comfy trackies and T-shirts. Any hand-me-downs were from my bros, so it might be an old Moschino something from Junior.

So, designer hand-me-downs and tracksuits aside, what is your earliest fashion memory?

Oh, it was a red dress that my mum made me wear, and it was almost like lederhosen, you know with the straps at the top? Yeah. The skirt was huge, like a big Princess-style skirt, and then there was a floral pattern on the chest. If I look back at pictures of myself as a kid, that’s what my mum and dad were dressing me in, and I don’t know why. I don’t know if one of the aunties had also bought their daughters one and they wanted me to look like that. It’s so depressing. But that’s my earliest fashion memory of when it wasn’t my own choice. When it was, I would wear Spice Girls merch. That white T-shirt that had their faces in the “S.P.I.C.E.” That and terrible, terrible BHS trousers. As a teenager, I’d shop in Jane Norman, but I never really had an idea of what I was doing—I wasn’t looking for clothes that made me look good; I just wore clothes because I had to.