I would love to think that I'm a style innovator. A pioneer of outfits. Coming up with the latest look all by myself. The Ugg boot? Oh yeah, I wore that in 1999, Kate Moss copied me!! Ha. Shunning the mainstream to create my individual style. That would be delusional. I'm a magpie like most of us. Collecting ideas, styles and looks to feather my own headdress nest.
Through my college and Uni years there was perhaps, more authenticity to my style. The internet was still in its infancy and besides, I had no money. I could only scour my mother's wardrobe and scavenge hand-me-downs from relatives. I would mash other scraps of found fabrics together to make clothes and create a look as cool as I could muster. The general inspiration usually came from bands and cool magazines such as The Face. I really had no hope of recreating these looks from my bedroom and in Arnold, (suburb of Nottingham) "edgy" was not appreciated. However, within these confines and my fashion naiveté, I think I was skipping to my own beat. I don't however think that I was my most "real" then. I was still inspired by the imagery that surrounded me. Just less well informed.
In fact, I still yearned to be part of the established view of fashion. Oh, to be in the inner circle watching and touching the garments months before anyone else. Collezione was our only window into the catwalks back then (90s). I think we would wait 3 months for it to be published. 6 months before you could pour over Vogue's catwalk round-up. And now you can stream shows live!! The thirst for the next hit of dopamine has us wanting more and faster. The speed and breadth of the shows can easily leave you overwhelmed like a kid gorging on too much candy before hitting the waltzers. After 4 weeks, you are spinning so hard you can't tell your Arjé from your Etro. Fully saturated but never sustained it seems.
There's another consideration when getting dressed now. Street Style! As if there is not enough to consume on the catwalks, the same pieces are being displayed in a different way outside on the streets. It's like watching a football match whilst playing the game yourself. VERY hard to know what to concentrate on. But you know, the real scrap is out on the streets - that's the match to watch. I think that's why the resort/pre-falls are good shows to monitor. Designers have taken a lot of styling tips from the street, evolved them, repurposed and distilled them so that we can digest and enjoy it like an Italian lunch.
So here I am 15 years later. Still the same it seems. Looking from the outside in. I'm much better versed in fashion song these days, I guess we all are. But like most introverts quietly watching from the sidelines, I have honed my "eye" and understand what excites me (sartorially speaking). I hope this means that I'm in a position to impart my trend wisdom at least. I will, no doubt be undertaking all these styling hacks myself (some of which I am pleased to say, I already have, natch). You should too. Bolder the better. It should be fun and to your own tune. You know that phrase, "dance, as though no one is watching" add "dress as if no one cares".
All images found on Vogue.com
1. Nice and Tights
Coloured legs are back people!! I know this may not be right for today (it's 30 degrees here) but you never know when a chill can pass through your gusset in the UK so I've included it in the list. Do as Louise Trotter does and wear with slides for the perfect transitional look. I've been holding on to my stash of bright tights for over 10 years waiting for their renaissance. Hurrah! So if you fancy dipping your toe into this trend pool early or you live in Reykjavík then Fogal have a great selection.
2. Belt Up
The waist continues to be a focus. I like the the idea that you can buckle pretty much anything around yourself. Harness? Dog lead? Your bra? This could be a good time to pull out all your old scarves and experiment. Failing that, belt a handbag to your body a la Gucci above. However, if you still have your double prong wide belt from 2002; THIS IS YOUR TIME!!! H&M Topshop DVF Sara Roka No 21
3. Fringe Benefits
I am aware that the word means something different in the UK to the states. I'm not advocating a haircut here. It's all about the trim (again, NOT a haircut). This makes me so happy because there is nothing I like better than to add a little something for a cheap wardrobe update. Getting the western vibe with these 4 images but I don't think it necessarily needs to be all-guns-blazin'. I plan to add it on bags to begin with. Though I have to say that Altuzarra's use was my favourite. Check out the whole collection here Primarily because it's been a long time since I wore a scarf like that and it reminds me just how good it is. Yeeha!
4. Layered like a Cake
When you are just not sure what you are doing or which way you are going that day. Make sure you express it with your ensemble. Casual work day then dinner date? No problem. Just throw a sheer frock over T and jeans. Wear with confidence to look as though you know what you are doing and not just having a major breakdown.
5. Sleeve it Out
This is the best style hack because it’s free! Find a bloke with a nice shirt selection and persuade him that it would look better on you. Style with unbuttoned cuffs and hey presto, you are Susie Bubble. Let’s sleeve together. Don’t sleeve me alone here… too many puns…
5. Cross my Heart
Bored of wearing your handbag in a conventional way? Make like Philip Lim and wear it across your chest! It won’t take your heart rate but it is a great way to scupper those pick-pockets. Or keep your belongings close on the dance floor. I predict a return of the baguette bag of Paris Hilton fame soon to be worn the same vein.
6. Sporting Heroes
I’ve often wondered; how could I walk faster in heels? Well those clever designers have realised that it’s all down to the socks. Sportier the sock, the better you can run. This is fact. Don’t believe me? Try yourself next time you are doing the 100m sprint in a 5-inch heel. Try here: Nike at Zalando, Adidas at Urban Outfitters and Next
7. Under Dressed
I have loved wearing my jeans under dresses this spring. I like contrast of texture especially with soft florals and the sheer layers. The tailored pant over a shirt dress is a great smart alternative. You probably already have a shirt dress by now so this a fab way to get your money’s worth through autumn. N.B. this works best with trousers with pockets ;-) Try Monki, Maison Margiela or Acne
8. Tied and Tested
See also point 1. To be included in the trend of wrapping anything around one’s middle. Sweaters, jackets, cagoules, hopes and dreams. A particularly practical trend from the 90s. Just imagine, your handbag strapped to your chest and windbreaker round your waist… Don’t need anything more, do you? Festival ready.
9. Hard of Earring?
There are so many fantastic statement earrings around at the moment. I have huge lobe locket envy this year since my piercings have completely closed and cannot wear them. I still keep a Pinterest board of dreams though. I’m pleased to say it’s a look that is set to continue to next year. Go big or go home.
10. Legging it Out of the Door
See this and consider; how long can the leg hair get before it becomes unacceptable? I say, depends how thick the leggings are. Hurrah, for the waxing summer saviour. Possibly the most hardworking of all the style hacks. Black is an easy win but colour is even better.