The word that other people use the most to describe my style is 'simple'. I'm flattered by this, because in truth, what my style actually is is lazy. I am through and through a lazy dresser, so it probably comes as no surprise that the item most stocked in my wardrobe is - yep, you guessed it - a plain black t-shirt. H&M, Topshop, Primark, Zara; you name the high-street cash-gobbler, I literally have the t-shirt.
What might surprise you, however (well, maybe not because it's not exactly exciting information), is that a black tee and jeans isn't the outfit which makes me feel most myself. It's the outfit I wear most often - no doubt motivated by the lion's share that the offending items inhabit on my lower rail - but it's not the outfit which makes me feel the 'best version of myself'. It's comfort, practicality, and the quiet relief of blending in, but it's not what I'd want to have my mugshot taken in.
The realisation that a denim duo isn't the best manifestation of my inner self came as a surprise even to me. It's not often we switch off auto-pilot and sit down to think about how our relationship with our clothes is communicating our relationship with ourselves, but when I started writing this article and did just that, the pieces that really spoke for me were longer lengths and loose-fitting dresses.
As a petite lady with dough-faced baby head, I often feel that I have to convince others of my womanhood. No, really, I'm 24. Yep, I'm older than most of the cast of Love Island. Still want to see my ID huh? Alrighty then. People look at me and naturally assume I'm a lot younger than I am, which is all well and good in the long run (although I do feel like I could have a 2009 Orphan situation going on in later years), but when you're being asked if you've finished school for summer or whether your parents are in to receive a parcel, it can become a little tiring.
There's a lazy maturity in midi and maxi lengths which transports me to a place halfway between Chloé-esque barley-field wandering, and I'm-so-grown-up-I-don't-wear-stretchy-denim anymore. There are elements of resisted femininity which I've yet to untangle, and a joyous practicality in the fact that I can just whip the skirt up to pee. Whether it's an ivory linen number like this sold out Zara dress, or something more sultry in the form of a black silky skirt, there's something in the longer lengths that just makes me feel calm, collected and myself.
This got me thinking: if this is where I feel most content, I wonder where some of my favourite online women feel most themselves? So, being the nosy bastard that I am, I asked. Here are the results.
Being a girl with big hips and the size of a bum that will literally demolish all of the contents on your table if I have to squeeze past you at a restaurant (true story), finding clothes that I look and feel my best in has been an emotional roller coast to say the least.
I was that person who would always succumbed to trends worn by women who did not have the same body shape as me. And by doing this I quickly learned that certain materials which flowed beautifully on the body of some girls, fit like they were clinging on for dear life before they kamikaze'd on me.
But now at the grand age of thirty, I've managed to hone my skills and choose clothes which make me feel comfortable and more importantly confident. So when I think about all the times I wore something that made me my feel my true sassy self, I definitely saw a pattern...
My most worn outfits are the midi wrap dresses that highlight my features instead of hiding them. It's the high waisted skirts which emphasise my small waist by cinching me in. It's the bright and bold colours that compliment my black skin - because I really do enjoy tackling the colour wheel one shade at a time.
I'm at my happiest and most confident when wearing these types of outfits because not only do they highlight my silhouette, but ultimately because they fit and feel comfortable - they feel like me.
So now when it comes to choosing outfits that make me feel myself & fabulous, I have three rules:
- If it compliments my shape and style, buy it.
- If it doesn't fit properly, get a tailor.
- If it's less that 3% elastane don't bother.
These jeans are probably my most worn and loved item in my wardrobe (Chanel bag aside) and if ever I’m discussing wardrobe essentials these are without doubt, always number one on the list. I’m such a fan of vintage Levi’s - they just don’t make them like they used to (insert grandma emoji)! I got these in a vintage shop and had them tailored to fit so we are literally MFEO. It’s a pretty simple but effective outfit and I really feel like myself in it as it’s always the go-to whenever I’m having a ‘I have nothing to wear’ day; plus i’d wear it day or night, season after season. If I could only wear one outfit for the rest of my days (heaven forbid!) it would be this - vintage Levi’s, a silky shirt, black ankle boots and a basket bag. Me in one outfit.
My outward appearance has always been reflective of my internal dialogue, how I'm feeling and I suppose what I want to express to the world. From my tumultuously rocky teenagers years sloppily applying winged eyeliner a la Amy Winehouse, wearing ripped tights with Dr. Martens and playing around with fake nose rings from Camden market to my early twenties when I discovered the joy that is charity and vintage shopping for one-off unique pieces.
This outfit is one of many that I can say are categorically 'Sade' (me, not the singer aha!), from the ruffle detail smooth black satin that swishes gently with every step I take, to the punchy red lipstick applied to a mouth that is forever laughing just a little bit too loudly. The simplicity of the little black dress, the black vintage style Sarah Vaughan-esque updo, the cat style eyeliner - a gentle nod to my teenage years and the pointed block heel a symbol of, I suppose my age and the alchemy of comfort and style.
This dress was actually my graduation dress for my postgraduate Master of Architecture ceremony, I purchased it on sale from ASOS Tall last year for around £20 and it's been a firm favorite of mine ever since, I feel most myself in it because I feel unapologetically me in it, it reflects on much of my style over the years, and shows a 'mature' progression. It's an outfit that commands attention, is a little bit flirty and something I can be super silly in! This... Is me.
I’ve never really known how to define my personal style. I’m the kind of girl who loves seeing others in ‘edgy and out there’ outfits, however always had a sense of shyness myself when it comes to dressing. I would love to be a bit more bold but my insecurities tend to hold me back. That’s why I usually end up with a mix of low key items combined with some edgier accessories in my wardrobe.
This outfit is the perfect example of that! I like to have an element of casualness to my style, jeans are always a fave go-to but then I add in something to just kick it up a notch. This spicy little headband and frilled blouse gives my outfit a bit more va va voom. Which I think sums up my personality pretty well, sometimes bold sometimes shy and definitely always indecisive! I feel most comfortable when I’m wearing something fun but it doesn’t take me too far out of my comfort zone.