ALL THESE INTIMIDATING FASHION BLOGGERS!
A girl like me, of average style and body size, used to be quite happy when she looked in the mirror. Quite happy. On some days, I was even smug. Not in an awful arrogant way, but in a quiet tasteful way. In a classy way. In the way you’re smug when you look at some other girl in the carriage on the tube and notice that, try as she might, she is just not dressed as well as you but you don’t say anything or even let it show on your face because that would be crass. In the way you feel when you breeze into a restaurant to meet some friends and you whip off your coat and they all go, you look nice with not an ounce of surprise because you always look nice and because you always look nice you say oh thank you a bit surprised because why are they bothering to say so after all you always look nice.
I used to be that girl. I used to be that girl and I used to be happy. I used to think pityingly of these fashion rejects I saw out and about and wonder- gosh, being well dressed isn’t even hard? I mean it’s not? I mean, if you’re so without any taste, just walk down Oxford Street and have a look around? Steal the style off a mannequin? Buy Grazia or Elle? Surely?
I would look in the mirror and be quite happy and smug with my nice jeans/pretty dress/sexy heels topped off with a label here or there and my generally relatively well groomed nails and hair (depending on my laziness levels) Smug smug smug, I would be silently smug smug smug in a classy way and my world was a strawberry milkshake.
Then tumblr and blogger and that evil witch, instagram came and ruined my life.
Now, I look at these girls and I look at the mirror, I look at these girls and I look at the mirror and I think- do I shop with goggles on? Do I have clothes-for-nothing syndrome? Did I get my sense of style on sale? I can’t wear jeans and a t-shirt to go to Sainsbury’s! Not unless the jeans are coloured, I mean like fuchsia or lime and the t-shirt has like, Lucille Ball’s ass on it and I’m wearing brogues and a trilby and carrying this little retro-vintage purse I stole from my granny/made myself/found in a bargain bin in a little store in Paris. How could I think wearing my nice new £50 dress from Mango with a pair of Kurt Geiger heels and a Marc Jacobs bag was enough when that dress was just one colour and the heels were the same colour and, shocker, the bag was the same colour- all black- and I only had simple gold earrings on? Yes, yes, I may not look despicable but where was the style? Where was my individuality? I was a Stepford wife! No, unless I was doing it in an ironic way, in which case I needed a brooch with like, Che Guevara’s armpit on it, or a ring in the shape of a lightning bolt impaling a spider to make it work. And what? I thought I could wear a plain old grey suit to work? Ho ho ho ho ho.
ALL YOU INTIMIDATING FASHION BLOGGERS.
You have, all of you have, cleared the cobwebs from my sartorial mainframe. I have been rebooted. I am not playing around anymore, I am not even smiling anymore. I am hard faced and pouting. I am pouting and I am raising my brow and cocking my hips whilst looking away from the camera at that rainbow in the distance. I am tying turbans and wearing bow ties and shopping in not just the ladies section, but the kids section and the men’s section too because I know now that true style is not to be found solely in the area specifically styled for me i.e. a lady. No, true style is to be found everywhere except the ladies section unless it’s the ladies section in an ironic way or unless of course you are not a lady.
ALL YOU INTIMIDATING FASHION BLOGGERS, I am so pleased you emerged because you have inspired me. In the way Oprah inspired the 1980’s fat housewife, in the way Gwyneth Paltrow inspires the housewives of today, you have inspired me (not fat, not a housewife) to up my game in 2012.
I’m layering better, I’m buttoning my shirts up all the way to the top, I’m wearing colourful socks and ankle boots, I’m raiding my mother’s box of slightly moth eaten clothes, I am making statements not with my mouth or in written form but with my accessories, I am no longer afraid of shoulderpads and tucking things in and faux leather. All of these wonderful new things are happening in my life and when I’m not frustrated, because Lord, INTIMIDATING FASHION BLOGGERS, this stuff is not as easy as it looks, I’m somewhat grateful. Because change is good, yes? Be the best you, yes? Yes? YES??!
In our parents’ time, hell, right up until the end of my teens (not that long ago, thank you very much) all we had were hyper-stylized, toothpick-slim girls in magazines. Nothing at all to be envious about because they were in fashion shoots, dressed by teams of finger snapping professionals with lisps, photographed by people who went to fancy photography schools and spoke in Italian or with Italian accents and had lighting people to make them look beautiful. They weren’t real women so there was nothing, really, to be envious about. Enter now and ALL YOU INTIMIDATING FASHION BLOGGERS and…well.
You’re all real girls, with real jobs and lives and real bodies, wearing real clothes that I can really buy for myself or worse, already really have in my wardrobe but have never really thought of wearing quite like that – who knew that top looked better worn as a skirt over a pair of polka dot leggings tucked into clown shoes? Who knew?
You take these pictures with real cameras, on real streets, wearing real makeup you’ve applied yourselves in your real student bathrooms/parents’ bathrooms/your bathrooms/a bathroom that looks just like my bathroom but is not my bathroom.
All of you, all of you are so real and sincere and utterly envy inducing. You wear these stupendous eye-wateringly cool outfits, with your quiffs and frohawks and bobs and you pose on your shiny sidewalks, or sitting at your bus stops (I too have sidewalks or, as we call them here, walkways or paths and I also have bus stops, well not me personally but the City of London has many in my vicinity so it all strikes very close to home) and you caption these real pictures with things like “Oh, I just threw on this jumper I found whilst I was hanging upside down above a textile mill in Germany and it went perfectly with these heels I stole from a hobo so I decided to wear them to go and buy some milk with my friend, the artist/parkour enthusiast who took this magazine-ready photo whilst we were messing around doing unchoreographed ballet xoxoxo”
I suppose, I should thank you INTIMIDATING FASHION BLOGGERS for making me realise that I didn’t have to toss old jeans away the second the washer/dryer lost its temper with them, but instead I could cut them into shorts or fray them in an ironic way. I suppose I should thank you for opening my eyes to the many ways I could wear those hideous pearl sets my dad gets me for Christmas every year, or that all my ex boyfriend’s ugly Christmas jumper needed to look fabulous, darling was a pair of spiky stilletos and wet look leggings. I suppose I should thank you for showing me that wearing one’s coat draped over one’s shoulders isn’t an uber gay* thing done only by characters in Dynasty or that suspenders aren’t the sole province of 60 year old dapper gentlemen or that I can actually pin corsages the size of dinner plates to my lapels and not be laughed at or asked if I fell out of an episode of Sex and The City…I suppose I should thank you. So, being of good cheer and impeccable manners, I will.
Thank you INTIMIDATING FASHION BLOGGERS. Thank you and good day.