In my last few posts, I have almost exclusively written about mental health. I loved blogging about Heidi Herkes and how her life-changing accident not only affected her state of mind but also her personal style. She found a way to be helpful to others and build a new life and a new identity. You can read Heidi’s story here, it really is remarkable.
This all fine and good but I thought that I should write something about fashion, seeing as this is still a fashion blog and a little variation wouldn’t hurt. I love fashion but not I’m not obsessed with it like I was in my 20s. In years gone by, I would be desperate to see the shows at London Fashion Week and I followed the trends with eager dedication. I’d often wear summer dresses in February and heavy coats in August I was hyper-keen to be the first to wear that season’s new looks. Now I’m older and wiser and I’ve realised that wearing clothes that are wildly inappropriate for the weather makes you look like a dumbass. There’s nothing chic about shivering at a bus stop, wearing a chiffon dress in the snow.
I am still influenced by trends to an extent, but only if they fit into my life and my aesthetic. My clothes have to meet a number of criteria but first and foremost, they have to be comfortable. When I was a fashion editor at an online magazine, I would totter around in spindly high heels, assuming that I needed to look the part in order to meet the demands of the job. For someone as clumsy as I am, this was a perilous endeavour and I frequently suffered spectacular accidents, most notably when I fell down the gangplank of a boat that was jam-packed with the industry’s most beautiful people. I still like a high heel, but I favour chunky ones I can walk in. I’ll occasionally wear a slim, elegant stiletto but only when I know I don’t have to walk too far or brave any seafaring vessels. I’ve realised that wearing comfortable clothing is more stylish than forcing myself into things that are an ordeal to wear. The notion that one has to suffer to be beautiful is nothing less than patriarchal oppression and I want nothing to do with it.
I believe that personal style can be used as a form of self care but clothes should not be impractical or make you feel self-conscious. Waisting money on trendy stuff that won’t be worn more than once and does not make you feel good, is not very self-loving. Not to mention the disastrous effect this kind of over-consumption has on the environment. Sometimes it can be hard to succumb to the pressure when an item is declared to be the ‘in’ thing. In the past I’ve tried to fit into trends that don’t suit me, believing that I had to alter my body in order to conform to some arbitrary fad. When skinny jeans became trendy about 13 years ago, everyone was suddenly wearing them and I felt obliged to join in. I’m quite proud of my legs now because they’re strong and powerful, but squeezing my muscular quads and solid calves into unforgiving skinny jeans makes me feel insecure. I looked at my friends with long, slender legs and I couldn’t help but compare myself unfavourably. This was around the time I was very unwell with an eating disorder. To add fuel to the fire, it was also the era of size zero and the media had a morbid obsession with women who were (probably) not so well themselves. Thankfully there are some more healthy role models these days and I’ve realised that if a trend makes me feel like I should lose weight, it’s probably not for me.
Having a streamlined look simplifies getting dressed. For me, that’s a soft, 70s inspired boho vibe that comprises of mostly dresses and midi skirts with simple accessories. I love a print; floral and animal are my favourites. A good print is also very practical when looking after a toddler as mucky handprints are camouflaged with ease. My look is not particularly edgy and I doubt the street style photographers at Fashion Week would give me a second glance but I don’t care. Getting older has its perks – primarily the liberating delight of giving fewer shits.
This dress from Maje (currently on sale) is a great example of something that is super comfortable and fits in with my look. I don’t usually wear it with these sky high platforms (similar here and here) but it goes great with a pair of espadrilles or Birkenstocks. To me, it’s pretty much perfect; beautiful floaty fabric, intricate print, shirred waist and it can go in the washing machine. What’s not to love? I’d wear this everywhere from playgroup, to dinner with friends or a party.