A few meaningless style musings by a random nobody.
I recently read Alexa Chung’s It – yes, as always I’m about 2 years too late with these sorts of things but better late than never right? It took me 3 cups of tea, 2 baths and 1 day to devour this erratic, non-sequential diary of fashion inspo and heartbreak healing and I felt very inspired to ask myself – who/what inspires me? I mean, I have loads of people I look to for fashiony things but to put them down in a concise list seemed like a fun personal project (that I’d share with the internet). Alexa is the wardrobe muse I never knew I had until I read this book and thought – “Hey girl, I too love a cat eye, messy head of hair and a grungy leather jacket! Where’ve you been all my life?” I mean, I knew who she was obvi, but never included her in my repertoire of style inspo, although now the connection seems so clear. Well at least in terms of fashion – personality wise, I’m still deciding about her.
By no means do I think my style story is by any stretch of the imagination, as interesting or important as Chung’s, but here it is none the less – be warned, it’s a selfcentric duzi, but true to form – lousily self-deprecating too.
My Style: A Summary
To start, I think it’s important to break down my fashion phases into 3 main, embarrassing, chapters.
- The “dying to be hot” college girl – Just wanting to look good for the boys, doing my best with cheap or borrowed clothes, self-tan, over-dyed hair and a classic short-skirt, high-heels combo. Vom.
- The Happie Hippie – Peace, love, more crystal hair wraps. Inspired by my days living in India, wearing tie-dye and veto’ing the shoes like a real rebel. Borderline culturally appropriative.
- The Ultimate Hipster – I blame 300 Days of Summer for moving me into a heavily vintage, painfully quirky phase of clothes and style – ribbons in my hair, SPCA-thrifted clothes, nerd glasses and an extreme sense of ironic wit. Not.
These phases have also been extremely influenced by the boys/men in my life at the time because growing up, I guess I felt the need to mold into whatever niche subculture I was vibing at the time – surfers, musicians, actors, jocks – you name it. I like to think I’ve cherry-picked the best parts of these cringey phases to make me who I am today – a little retro Hollywood glam, some moody Parisian film chic, untameable beach locks and a bit of minimalism to boot. Yes, often I think I dress like a confused crazy woman because I don’t have a clear sense direction or bracket I’m desperately trying to fit into for once, but that’s ok because I’m happy. And live for a little spontaneity. We never are above making a fashion faux pas, no matter how much older and wiser we get…
How to get dressed in the morning:
How do I want to feel? Some days I want to be the kind of girl Alex Turner would write a song about and some days I want to look like I’ve stepped out of a street-styled Opening Ceremony photo-shoot. Some days I want to feel like the undiscovered love child of Hendrix and Keith Richards and other days I say “fuck this shit” and don’t put on a bra or leave the house and wear stained joggers. I don’t do fashion every day, just most of them. I like clothes that fit well, I like good fabrics, I love a structured silhouette and those are about the only constants. I don’t think I’m particularly revolutionary in the fashion department, I like to try keep things a little more timeless these days.
- Hendrix and Richards – badass rockers with velveteen blazers, pointy boots and lots of gemstone jewellery
- Betty Rizzo – 50’s CHIC AS FUCK freshness. Waist game strong. A lot of attitude.
- Caroline De Maigret – Feminine but boyish, a Parisian vibe I live for.
- Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – No not talking about the cheeser black dress and pearls combo – I’m talking about the Revlon lippie in the post box, men’s tux shirt to sleep in or country bandana while singing away on a windowsill. And yes, that trench.
- Iris Apfel – Get it you crazy old girl! I love older style icons because they’re so beyond crowd pleasing and just do whatever the hell they want.
- 90’s Julia Roberts – She just made the oversized, manly era look so damn elegant and effortless. Such a quintessentially cool girl.
- Lisa Bonet – Do I need to explain this? Can you tell I’m a product of the 90’s?
- Brittany Murphy in Uptown Girls – Such a glitzy, childish, Lolita-esque hot mess
- SJP – Also a product of binge-watching SATC reruns.
- Cathy Cooper – She’s a work of art she is.
- Penny Lane – I’ll always be a 70’s baby at heart – no matter how 90’s or Sports Luxe I’m feeling that day.
- All ballerinas but specifically Alex Owens
- Nicole Richie – She’s eclectic AF.
- My mom in her 20’s – if there is one woman in this world I wish I could emulate, it would be Christine Grace Kelly. Long, lean, tanned, permed hair, aloof camera stare, simple silhouettes and an unmatched elegance and sophistication.
Current Instagram muses – Charlotte Martin, Erika Bowes, Keneilwe Mothoa, Shelley Mokoena, Brittany Bathgate and Emma Zoey Roche.
I was bullied for my perpetually messy hair growing up. Full on crying-in-the-bathrooms, mom-don’t-make-me-go-to-school-today bullied. No matter what I did, how I gelled or scrapped, straightened or brushed – my hair would always look slightly dishevelled. I was literally the dancer with the bun falling out mid exam. I tried for years to attain an edgy, choppy Parisian bob or numerous dye-saturated trends but they never agreed with me. Until I realised, recently, I can’t force it, and chose to let my hair be a little cray. No dye. No straightener. A lot of fly-aways, baby-hairs and tears when I come back from the hairdresser and they’ve ironed it straight with a GHD.
Hair inspo includes:
- Caroline De Maigret – for helping me realise Parisian style/hair is more an attitude than a box to check
- Amelie – That fringe though.
- My cousin Rochelle – She’s just perfect always.
- My aunt and godmother, Jan – for a lifetime of memories of her tight curls piled on top of her head, bobbing around while she recorded music on her tape player or smoked her hundredth cigarette while mucking about in the garden.
I don’t often wear a lot of make-up. I’d rather look a little sleep-deprived, spotty and pale than too done up, any day. On a daily basis I’m all about a good face oil, sunscreen, brushed brows, dab of 8 Hour Cream on my lids and lashings of mascara. For a night out my cat-eye is my go-to and perhaps a dewy highlighter on my cheekbones. I have a lipstick fetish, although I rarely wear them. They’re there when I want to amp things up – a brown for a 90’s vibe, a red for a vintage feel or an obscuro pink for that one time I was obsessed with Nicki Minaj. I don’t do bronzer and contouring but I do love a wild brow, overdone nails and last night’s eyeliner. While I try keep most of my products natural – I also still can’t quite give up my love of expensive perfume, namely my Chanel – which I stretch to last years a bottle because mama can’t afford that shit on the regular.
My Wardrobe Must Haves – no matter what phase I’m going through:
- Old vintage denim (That doesn’t suit my figure but I wear anyway)
- A collection of leather jackets (That aren’t actually even leather)
- Loads of white tees (None of which fit me quite the way I want them to)
- Hype sneakers (About a year after the hype has died down)
- Ray Bans (Can’t think of a funny counter-comment here)
Tips for a happy fashion affair:
- Get a tailor – sounds unattainable when you’re 17 reading Cosmo but it’s actually super affordable in the long run
- Have your “team” – Your hair person, your nail person, your vintage store person, your I’m-Hideous-And-Need-You-To-Convince-Me-Otherwise person. We all have those days where we hate everything we own.
- Do you, honey – I tried to be the kind of woman who wore nighties and matching undies but I’ve accepted that nothing makes my heart sing before bed quite like throwing on my boyfriend’s old shirt and a pair of Bridget Jones knickers.
- If you’re fashioning on a budget like me, then just pick one or two “investment” things that make you feel glam no matter what hand-me-downs you’re wearing. A stupidly over-priced but gorgeous smelling candle, a signature YSL lippie – whatevz.
Books to read for stylespiration:
- How To Be Parisian Where Ever You Are
- The Woman I Wanted To Be
- Girl Boss
- The Virgin Suicides
- The Bell Jar
So now go and make your own fashion history memoir! Lemme know who your style icons are below, I’d love to hear.