Sharing your personal style online on a near daily basis can be quite bizarre. On the one hand, I have a limitless bank of potential Facebook profile photos and if Keiran ever gets sick of my trotter feet and decides to leave me, my Tinder profile will be on point.
On the other hand, I also have evidence of every fashion faux pas I’ve ever made, and hey, look, there it is, online for the world to see. Questionable faux fur decisions and ridiculously high black platforms? Why yes, let me just pull that from the archives. Offensively dark eyebrows and camel-toe inducing trousers? Yes madam, please wait a moment and your order will be right with you.
That being said, I love that the industry I’m in is largely populated by other business-minded, creative and interesting women (all of which happens to be beautiful, but that’s by the by - click here to catch up on my recent blog post to understand what the hell I’m talking about). Other than satisfying the nosy neighbour in me, the women around me have also taught me some long-lasting lessons about dressing, all from their own experiences and stance on personal style. In the spirit of all things wonderful women, I’ve decided to pull together the three lessons that made the biggest impact on me, as well using this opportunity to unashamedly fan girl.
Blouse - Missguided*
Culottes - Missguided*
Shoes - Next*
Bag - J.W. Anderson
Sunglasses - Celine via Sunglasses Shop*
Photography: Michaela Tornaritis
Back in January, I met Callie Thorpe whilst working on a Dorothy Perkins Denim campaign. We were filming and shooting together all day, and although it was the first time that I had met Callie in real life, I’d been a follower of hers for yonks and easily felt like I’d known her just as long. Throughout the day we had various moments where we were able to chat and discuss our work and lives etc. etc., but one thing Callie said has really stuck with me since, teaching me a lesson not only about my career in the industry, but also about my own personal style.
She told me that she often finds it difficult to pick up pieces in curve or plus size ranges, because trend pieces always end up lagging behind a couple of seasons late, and all too often, brands won’t take a fashion forward stance, instead opting for ‘safe’ florals or butterfly prints or pastel colours. After she said this, I instantly became more aware of how true this is for petite ranges too. How many times have I found myself lamenting the Petite New In section of ASOS and Topshop, willing for an on-trend Realisation Par-esque wrap midi or a sturdy pair of kick flare jeans? How many times have I fawned over Ganni suits or a statement jumpsuit, knowing full well that even if I just “order it to try it out”, I’ll end up being woefully disappointed at how ill-fitting everything is.
Dressing when you don’t fit in the ‘regular’ section isn’t always easy. Things don’t fit the way they are designed to, because you don’t have the body they are designed to fit. This becomes doubly more frustrating when you’re in the personal fashion sphere, because you want to share the trends and styles you love, but there are literally no clothing options that will allow you to do that. Nonetheless, women like Callie inspire me everyday to dress for my style, and not my shape. Makes it all the more worth it when you finally find that one golden piece that fits.
Okay, I may be slightly biased because Sophie Milner and I are friends, but hear me out. Back in December, Soph wrote In Defence of Not Defining Your Personal Style, a reassurance to all of us who don’t fall into the minimalist category, the glam girl category or any other category that deserves an Instagram niche, that not having a definitive aesthetic is a-oh-fucking-kay.
I often falter whenever I’m asked to 'describe [my] personal style’. Unless “perpetually undecided and a bit last minute” counts, then I haven’t got a clue. One day I can be rocking a pair of white Nikes with culottes and a shirt, and the next I’m wearing skin tight jeans, leather boots and something with a little bit of tit. Maybe one day I fancy a yellow tea dress with a butter-wouldn’t-melt-smile, and another I’ll be decked out in ketchup stained jeans, Keiran’s old sweatshirt and 3 day-old greasy hair. There’s just no telling, and in truth, I often look back at Instagram shots I uploaded only three weeks ago and thinking “what in fresh hell was I thinking there?”
There’s often this unspoken pressure to decide what you are. Are you Scandi-chic? Are you Portobello Road vintage designer? Are you Missguided bodysuits x ABH highlighter on fleek? Are you bold clashing prints and a penchant for bright colours? Which box do you fit in and are you ready to commit? And the reason, I think, that our style is so often positioned into fitting one style, is that it allows us to be more knowable. Our style is often an extension of ourselves, and in a way, if you fit one aesthetic and adhere to a certain label, others around you are more able to understand who you might be. More importantly, they’re also more able to know what you might buy, which is a dream for any retailer.
I’m endeavouring to be more Sophie, however. I’m wearing what I like and possibly hating it a week later, but I’m not going to box myself in to one certain aesthetic. I’m an enigma unto myself, and it’s a lesson well learned.
Fashion in the media can often be a peacocking game, and a wonderful one at that. I love seeing the outrageous outfits at LFW and the bougie embellished accessories that are dotted throughout the Net-A-Porter new-in section on a daily basis. I love the theatre of it all and the creativity and the artistry. I also, on the other hand, sometimes feel this uniterated pressure to suddenly start layering everything I own and bin all of my plain black accessories. To take more risks and step outside of my comfort zone and maybe try something in hot pink even though I can't ever see hot pink being my colour.
And, drawing on my ‘be more Sophie’ philosophy, I sometimes do. Sometimes I regret it, sometimes I love it, sometimes I'm in between. Whenever I’m feeling totally lost in my own sense of personal style, however, Liv Blankson's approach to simple dressing helps take me right back to the pieces I love.
Whether she’s wearing a tailored jumpsuit or just a basic tee and jeans, every outfit she shares feels both deliberate and easy, almost like her clothes just slide on every morning whilst she sips a hot beverage and wistfully stares out of a window. Obviously, knowing her as my friend I realise that this isn't the case (although a little part of me still pictures her out on a balcony planning her next trip to Paris, as much as she might disagree), but there’s a purposeful effortlessness about her style that I love. It always reminds me that if I’m in doubt, I can take it back to basics and feel myself again, whether that's with some staple denim or a solid piece of tailoring.
There is nothing wrong with a black tee and blue jeans, and, in fact, this is often when I feel most comfortable and most myself. Simple is sexy, and I needn’t force myself into overthinking an outfit for the sake of doing something different.