Style. It's an incredibly subjective matter dependent entirely on personal taste. Some people are bestowed with the lofty praise of being the Epitome Of Style while others find themselves repeatedly on the Most Wanted List of the Fashion Police (nee-naw, nee-naw).
In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter what we wear? Well, yes, it seems it does. There is an entire industry built around fashion (obviously) and what a fascinating industry it is. Personally I don't care for or follow the current trends for what's fashionable, I don't read the fashion magazines*, but I love to get dressed and get dressed up. As a teen I read all the magazines such as Vogue and Elle and loved watching the Clothes Show with Jeff Banks and Caryn Franklin. Now though, I can't really be bothered with it all; I don't really care. I find it dull, and here's why: I have my own sense of style and know what works [I think] for me.
* I did buy a copy of Vogue last year, but that was purely because of the interview and 6 page spread with Nicola Sturgeon. I have to say that the rest of the mag held no interest as I leafed through it. I would rather have an interiors magazine.
Every where we look we are being told what we should be wearing. This changes with the seasons and the trends (which change every 6-8 weeks) or are dictated to by our age, e.g. : 24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After 30 - F.Y.I. I still wear 13 of the things in the list! And when the weather gets a bit milder my many pairs of old converse gutties will be back out to play.
(purple converse with black and white patterened
maxi dress from Oasis, bought in 2007)
We are told that we should buy only
expensive well made, items that will last. We should not be buying cheap fashion that we will wear once and throw away, coz it was only a couple of quid. What's wrong with just wearing what the fuck you want and owning it? The ethics of fashion is a whole other post to itself. What I'm getting at here, is the fact that grown adults are being told where to and what to buy, or what to aspire to and desire, regardless of budget, and yet budget is a big and real deal.
There are many people whom I believe to be very stylish in their own way, rather than 'styled' by a professional stylist. Women such as Iris Apfel (I love this woman), Fearne Cotton, Ellen Degeneres and my friend Marion who has fabulous style and feathers in her hair. l also appreciate, okay, love, the style of the 1920's flappers, the hippies of the late 1960's, the sexy undies worn in the 1940's, Madonna's entire wardrobe in Desperately Seeking Susan. I still have a lot of affection and actually some original items from the grungey early 90's and indie/britpop mid 90's. Just wish I still had my docs.
I'm 37.5 years years old and my style is exactly that; mine. There will be no particular trend that I will be following from season to season, but there will always be layers, and more often than not, a scarf. Oh, and generally, lots of colour too. I don't have a separate summer/winter wardrobe. By adding my staple black poloneck to my summer outfits, I instantly have my winter ones. Easy peasy. Saves me a fortune too.
(I love this dress TK Maxx 2013.
My sleeve - Green cardi from ?? top from
Natural Collection 2008, owl top, details below)
When it comes to shopping for clothes, I don't have the funds to go on big (or little for that matter) splurges. My clothes are in for the long haul (which is handy then that I don't follow the trends) whether I spend £7 on a top in the TK Maxx sale (which is my first port of call) or £15 in New Look (usually my second) or more elsewhere, they are worked hard and expected to last. My wardrobe and drawers are crammed full of items that have been with me for years, some since I was in High School. I shit you not! My black jumper I have had since I was 15 (ONLY worn when feeling poorly or just slobbing about the house - this will never again be worn in public, everrrrrrrrr) and my denim jacket that was actually my sister's, which I 'borrowed' and never returned - this I do still wear regularly, PLUS it's proper vintage now, and has aged beautifully (I just can't fasten it, but who fastens a denim jacket anyway..?).
(the denim jacket! With silver scarf
bought at a market in Gran Canaria 2008)
Friends who I see regularly will have seen the entire contents of my 'wardrobe' but probably not put together the same way each time. I like to get creative with my ensemble, change it up and try something different.
Christmas and birthdays (handily my birthday is in June) always mean gift vouchers and clothes shopping. Or money and clothes shopping. Last year my birthday cash was well spent in the vintage shops of Glasgow's West End (£7 for a velvet blazer and £18 on a 60's print shell top to name a couple of purchases) and last week I was treated myself to a pair of dungarees (finally found a pair that doesn't make my arse look like the back of a hippo or look like I'm wearing a baby's romper suit - these have taken years to find, so am delighted) and a pinafore, which I didn't know I was even looking for until recently. Ordinarily I live in ripped jeans or cords, but fancied a wee change.
Here is what I wore today:
The Pinafore (New Look, bought last week),
Peter Pan collar blouse with tiny owls printed on it, also seen in photo above (Next A/W 2011), Green tights (Morrisons 2013), Brown with orange and green flowers over the knee socks (stall in Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow closing down sale 2015), Brown Fly Boots (Office 2013). All mixed up and cobbled together. Does it work? I think so. Do I feel comfortable? Absolutely.
I have no interest in what something cost, only, does it look good, do I feel good in it? Designer names hold no significance. Just because something has a name on the label does not necessarily mean it is stylish. By the same token, just because something is vintage or charity-shop-chic, doesn't guarantee that it will work, that is down to the individual to pull it together. I really believe that the magic ingredient for whether an outfit or piece of clothing works and is stylish, is confidence. If you feel good, what does it matter what anyone else thinks? It's really that simple. Years ago, I admit, I used to look a what people had put together and think "Did you get dressed in the dark? Do you not have a mirror or best friend?" yip, I was a bitch. In fairness, I come off of really judgemental stock, so, you know, a little leeway here - I've grown! And from being on the receiving end of such judgement on many an occasion from my Mother, Father, sister and others more times that I care to remember, or even care about, now I just think "are you happy/comfy/confident/bothered? Wonderful." Why must the parade be rained upon just because someone else doesn't like what someone is wearing? It's bullshit.
Everyone has their own quirks and sense of style. Whether that style is 'stylish' or not, well, that's a matter of personal taste.
p.s. Upon writing this post I have discovered my freakishily long and weird memory has came in handy as I can recall when the majority of my individual pieces were bought!