Fashionable?

I am not, as you know, big on fashion.

Nearly all my clothes are pre loved (a nice way of saying I shop in charity shops), and my style is what is known in polite circles as ‘eclectic’.

I dress only to please myself. I do not own a capsule wardrobe, or ‘staples’ of my look. I could no more tell you what the fashion trends for A/W 13 are than fly through the air.

I have a phobia of having my fingernails painted (it makes me feel claustrophobic), and I only go to the hairdressers because I am going grey big time and Sir Richard of the Flashing Blades does a mean job of making me look less like an aged badger – something I am particularly concerned about now that we are in badger cull mode.

The only fashion rules I follow religiously are:

  • Always invest your money in stout undergarments. Nobody likes a loose cannon style bosom.
  • Avoid American Tan coloured tights at all times, regardless of what anybody else says.
  • Leg warmers are for fools and eight year olds.
  • White stilettos will always make you look like Mini Mouse, so unless you want to look like Mini Mouse, don’t do it.
  • Handbags are pointless unless you can fit a decent sized novel in them.
  • The word ‘slacks’ is wrong and makes me do a little bit of sick in my mouth.

That is all.

Despite this, I am interested in fashion. In my youth I used to buy Vogue regularly, to see how the other half lived, and to nick ideas. I also like to go and look in shops at clothes I can’t afford.

I am obsessed by tailoring and clothes which hang properly and am convinced that well cut clothes make the man/woman. I have countless Pinterest boards dedicated to people like Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and my particular fashion god, Yohji Yamamato.

If I had the money, these people’s creations are what I would buy.

Although I still wouldn’t be able to resist the lure of a good charity shop bargain.

I also read a handful of fashion/lifestyle blogs regularly.  There are three I particularly love:

Liberty London Girl – is my go to blog. I love the way that LLG is so real. Sasha writes honestly about the industry she works in. She endorses only what she believes in and likes. She writes beautifully, and it is always a pleasure to read her  posts.  She also writes about her life in all its guises, from glamorous photo shoots to recalcitrant dachshunds and the demands of what such an exhausting schedule does to you.  I also love that she eats well and properly, (unusual for a fashion professional, and certainly unusual for someone in the industry to write about food, and for you to believe what they write), and does a mean cake recipe. I never feel that I am being ‘sold’ to when I read her blog, or that it is just a thinly disguised advert for something she clearly doesn’t actually use, like or own. I trust her as a blogger, and that’s really important to me.

I have met Sasha, and she is exactly in life as she is on her blog. I confess to having a bit of a girl crush on her. When I grow up, I might want to be her. Only I am not as kind as she is, so it’s unlikely to happen.

Vintage Vixen – Vix is an amazing woman. After a crazy and successful career in a job she hated, she threw it all away to embrace a proper bohemian life style. She makes her living buying and selling vintage clothing and living exactly as she pleases. I love her mad style, her total unrepentant attitude and her failure to grow old gracefully.  She always looks fabulous, and when I need a bit of mad inspiration or the courage to wear something I’ve bought and then stuffed in the back of the wardrobe thinking; ‘That’s too young for me’ I think of her.  I don’t always like everything she buys/wears/blogs about, but I love her passion for what she does, her confidence and her style. Like LLG, you know she is writing about her real life, not to impress you, and I love that. I read her every day, and am disappointed on the days she doesn’t blog.

I would love to meet Vix. She does a lot of vintage fairs, and one day I am going to get organised and go and stalk her, and no doubt, come away with a lot of fabulous clothes I didn’t know I wanted from her stall.

I Am Into This - Sam and Teresa are local to me. I met Sam through a mutual friend, and although I have never met Teresa, I have followed them on Twitter and through their blog since they launched.  They are lovely, down to earth people, who like to endorse local brands and support local businesses and ventures, as well as glitzier, more cosmopolitan brands. I like the fact that they look at high street as well as high fashion, and although their tastes rarely gel with mine, their blog is interesting, well presented and well written.  I particularly like the fact that although both of them are gorgeous, and skinny and look pretty perfect in whatever they wear, they are inclusive and kind about all body shapes, sizes and hang ups.  They also freely confess to their own hang ups and insecurities, and they don’t just blog about fashion. They blog about injustices and moans, and bad days and days when all you want to do is eat cake (and they do some wicked recipes too).

I realise, having written this, that a big part of the appeal in fashion/lifestyle blogging to me, is the belief that the bloggers really do live and breathe what they write about. They are not just talking about trends and looks which don’t mean anything to them.

I admire that they all write about themselves in a way which could be seen as making themselves vulnerable. It’s so brave, particularly in an industry, or field, which doesn’t exactly encourage us to be normal.

That’s why I was particularly cross this morning when I read Teresa’s latest post on I Am Into This.

Recently, Teresa has had some ill health, slipping four discs, having a prolonged stay in hospital, and now being wheel chair bound for what could be up to two years.

She is in an extraordinary amount of pain, finding it difficult to adjust to her new state, and yet dealing with it all and trying to get on with her life, rather than curling up in the dark and giving in.

She recently attended a fashion PR event on behalf of I Am Into This, and was treated despicably by fellow fashion bloggers and ‘professionals’. Here is her story.

It is, as she says in her piece, shocking to find that people can still behave this way. Teresa should be applauded for what she is doing, and how she is getting on with things, rather than shunned and treated as an eyesore.

Thankfully she is getting lots of positive comments and support for her post, which is just as it should be.

Fashion is for everyone, no matter what they wear and how they wear it, or where they get it from or whether they’re tall, short, thin, fat, able or disabled. Everyone should have the right to look and feel fabulous and be accepted wherever they go and whatever they do.

It’s time we stopped being so damned elitist about bits of fabric I think.

Go Teresa. More power to your elbow.

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5 responses to “Fashionable?

  1. Katy, this is an utterly lovely post. Thank you so so much for including us in this and for supporting Teresa. You are one of my favourite bloggers – likewise with the recipes! – and I am so glad there are people like you out there.

    Women need to support and stick together, especially in the sometimes cliquey blogosphere. Yay for women like you!

    Xxx

  2. Oh my goodness, what an endearing blogpost. I love you!
    I am now going to be checking out Vintage Vixen because I haven’t seen her blog, cannot wait to have a butchers.
    I’ve been a fan of LLG for the last 4 years, Sasha has got oodles of style and class. Far better than “look at me, aren’t I fabulous” bloggers.
    I am so glad you have perceived IAIT the same way we have always wanted it to be read. Sam and I are chuffed to bits you understand our ethos.
    One thing we are not is snobs. I loathe snobs. I will always say it how it is.
    I am amazed you have picked up on our insecurities because we really do suffer with them. Even today I have written to Sam saying “Why am I receiving all these lovely comments but I don’t believe a single one of them?” We lack self-confidence, tremendously.

    Thank you for this blogpost, you are one heck of a lovely lady.

    Teresa xx

  3. Oh, you are lovely! I’m immensely touched by your kind words and please do pop by and visit at some point, I promise not to flog you white shoes, a minuscule handbag or anything vaguely beige!
    I’m off to visit LLG and I Am Into This right away. I’m in need of some good reading, I’ve exhausted today’s Guardian. xxxx

  4. Thanks for the intro to IAIT and Vintage Vixen. I have been reading LLG for a number of years as well and love her. Totally agree with all of your fashion rules AND that fashion should be for everyone. We recently found the Swedish shop ‘Change’ which does fab & pretty brassieres in an enormous range of sizes (range from 30F to 36E here). There is a shop in on Queen West in Toronto called Preloved that takes vintage clothes and recuts/stitches them together into lovely jumpers and skirts and dresses.

  5. Ladies you are all very welcome.

    Sonya – I am a 30F and I have to say it’s a bugger of a size to shop for. Changes sounds just the place.

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