My personal style – how I (finally) found it
A mohair jumper was first on the list; followed by a pair of straight-leg jeans (I have my eye on Levi's Wedgie Mom jeans, as recommended by Nash, but need to get to the shop to try 'em on); and a grey jumper. Because duh – why didn't I already own these?!
I mentioned, in my recent #OOTD post – more of which when I can figure out how to enlist someone to snap me – that I'd been a bit confused about my personal style, of late. I put this down to my weight loss (sick of me going on about that yet?) and drastic haircut, but then I started shopping. I set aside a fair chunk of funds to replenish my pathetic little wardrobe, and began the hunt, and very quickly I realised that something was wrong.
The issue wasn't just that my body – and head – have changed, but that I was shopping all wrong. Instead of looking at my goals – at how I wanted to dress, and the items I wish I had, in those moments where I was standing in front of the wardrobe, tearing my hair out in frustration – I was buying like a human magpie, allowing my eye to be drawn to sequins and feathers and trophy jackets, and then wondering why, when I woke up on a Tuesday morning and had a meeting to go, I had no clothes to wear. (Sequinned dresses and trophy jackets do not, FYI, make good daywear.)
I decided that I had to go back to the drawing board, and ask myself: How do you want to dress? This is a very specific question and, for a lot of us, a totally different question to, for example, "what clothes do you like?" I was shopping as an answer to the latter – buying items I adored, suitable for a fictional version of myself – and ignoring the former. When I think about it now, it's such an easy mistake to make; I love eclectic prints and exaggerated silhouettes and full skirts, none of which have ever really suited me.
So I took to Pinterest – which feels weirdly retro now, even though it's still pretty new, by most standards – and took a look at what I had saved on my "My Style" board. And it told a fairly clear story.
Already being in possession of a black pair of River Island's Molly jeans (deadly high-waisted skinnies, although I can only do max six hours before my tummy starts cramping), I invested in this cute jumper with shoulder detailing by Shae; this Warehouse waterfall jacket; this polo neck two-pack (bargain), and this navy cardigan.
Yep – while I imagined myself as a Susie Bubble character, wearing super bright prints and mixing 'n' matching with aplomb, in reality, my dream style has its roots very much in an androgynous silhouette. My Pinterest board contains one – that's one – skirt, and only because it's worn with a Breton T-shirt I liked a lot.
According to my dream style Pinterest board, I need to invest in a lot more basics: good jeans – and not just the skinny kind; striped tops (and here I thought I had too many); and, oh yes, coats. Outerwear had a big role to play in this imaginary style of mine, and IRL I only own four coats, in very practical varieties: my Ember and Earth raincoat*, a parka from Oasis, a "dress coat" (as one's granny might say), also from Oasis, and a pea coat from The Kooples.
This coat was my first purchase (thanks, Lucy Williams); followed by these khaki Zara pants, which feel very preppy to me but I love the look of them with a shirt tucked in, so will be trying that ASAP; this grey T-shirt; and then, because I couldn't decide, both this statement necklace and this one. I'll have to see which looks better IRL.
I was glad to see, though, that it wasn't all monochrome and denim in there – my love of eccentricity was channeled, ever so slightly, in the odd flash of (okay, muted) colour; Breton stripes (of course) and some statement jewellery.
So what was next? Well, reader, I went shopping – in order to emulate some of the styles I had obviously seen and imagined would look gorgeous in my new, grown-up wardrobe. I've included links for everything I bought (almost all from Asos, for convenience; they now do free Irish returns, so if you live in Dublin you can order a courier for free and they will come pick up your returns from your house!) beneath each photograph, so you can see just how thoroughly I am channeling my dream self.
This post may be slightly premature, as the items have yet to arrive, and it's quite possible that some – or most – of them will be returned, due to problems with fit or fabric. But the point holds true, and I feel it's been pretty revelatory – don't buy things because you love them; buy things because you want to wear them. When the duds do arrive, I'll probably go through them on Snapchat, so tune in if you care about that sort of thing. Or, y'know, don't. I love you for getting this far either way.
*This was sent to me from the brand in exchange for social media coverage, and sharing a promo code with my followers. For more on how you'll always know if I've got a freebie, or am receiving payment, check out my disclaimer.