Wow – I’m actually posting. What a bloody revelation. Life has been A LOT in the past month but I promise I’m working on some of the best stuff I’ve ever done, I just need an extra 24 hours in every day. And you know, I have some dissertation or something to write??? I don’t remember agreeing to that??? Anyway, here’s a slightly ranty piece on why I’m still struggling to get my head around fashion and style.
My relationship with fashion is difficult. I’ll start by saying that I have never considered myself stylish or fashionable. I’m aware of that fact being a little ironic considering the amount of outfit snaps I’ve been taking recently but it’s true. I love fashion but I am often the least fashionable person I know.
I love seeing put together outfits, I love shopping for new looks, trying new things, watching trends but I just struggle making it work on myself. Things never look as good on me as they do when I plan it out in my head. My friends are supermodels next to me. When I’m online shopping, I send back more than I keep because I’m so afraid of looking bulkier than I already do. I have never really known what looks good – I’m just good at bluffing.
My ultimate style icon is Alexa Chung. She’s my absolute queen and has been for a very long time. She’s actually one of the only people I have instagram notifications on for. But I’m so far from her levels of effortless perfection that bothering to look good often seems like a chore. In fact, I often find myself disappointed by the fact that I’m not a skinny Parisian or an edgy British icon. That I don’t look effortlessly chic even when I’m not trying. That I’m not always photo ready.
There’s nothing I’d love more than to look put together without trying. I’d love to actually be fashionable. To be on trend for once. To put together an outfit that makes people want to copy me. But as a girl bigger than socially acceptable, I really struggle to get excited about clothes. I struggle coming up with new things to wear each day that I feel confident and happy in.
Maybe it’s online culture that’s changed me, but I’ve certainly become much more materialistic in recent years. When I was young, I was never one to splash on clothes or accessories. I always asked for books and dvds for Christmas; I let my Mum pick all my outfits for me. But when I first started earning money I was working for a huge retail chain and a majority of my spending money went to makeup because I had a great discount. It didn’t take long for me to fall l in love with high end products and the obsession just grew. As I’ve become more interested in looking good – I’ve slowly fallen head over heels for Kate Spade bags, overpriced t-shirts, gold jewellery and designer coats which I will never afford in my life (I’m looking at you Alexa).
I can definitely attribute a lot of this struggle to my previous body image issues and the trauma that’s stemmed from that. Being big and being fashionable is still a bit of one of society’s taboos. It’s not fashionable to be fat. It’s not fashionable to have thighs that touch or boobs that are too big for pretty blouses. Whilst I’m now at a point where my body is no longer a source of constant insecurity, there are still times when I get so frustrated by fashion and its inability to cater for everyone. I have never quite fitted into the definitions of plus size but I also fluctuate through sizes very quickly. High-street sizing is all over the place and high-end sizing doesn’t even account for anyone over size 12. I’m not ashamed to buy a bigger size if I think it’ll look better on me – but I shouldn’t have to.
I don’t really enjoy shopping either. I have to be in the right frame of mind to shop. I have to be full of caffeine and feeling truly body confident to even walk into a shop. There’s nothing like a bad changing room experience to knock your confidence to a zero. Picking up something and trying it on in a sweaty cubicle under the ugly, fluorescent lights does nobody any good. It’s enough to send me spiralling for the rest of the week.
I wake up most mornings wishing I was Blair Waldorf, Holly Golightly, Shay Mitchell or Alexa Chung and I could live that glamorous socialite life, throwing money around. Maybe if I had more money, I’d actually look good? But I’m just a struggling student working on her career in the media and mental health issues. For now, trying to look good is an everyday battle.
I do think we’re slowly moving in the right direction. The industry is more accepting than ever and is beginning to accommodate for all shapes and sizes without judgement which is wonderful. My relationship with fashion is definitely improving. Be it through my Tuesday photo sessions with Mill or more fashion-based activity and content on instagram that I’m engaging with – I’m continually trying to turn my distain for fashion into a more positive and energetic love affair. But I still haven’t found my style. I honestly think my biggest and only fashion rule is to dress for myself, in what makes me feel good.