Those that have known me for a while will know that it took me a long time to discover my image, what I felt was “me” and comfortable, whilst also feeling good in myself. And this is something I’ve been reflecting on quite a lot so far this year, because I’ve become a lot more conscious of my fashion behaviours and how I am perceived by those around me.
So I thought I would talk about my style evolution, both in terms of fashion and beauty, because although I get a lot of compliments nowadays, this is quite recent for me and I hope this will help anyone still trying to figure out their own style – if it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t “you” yet but you’ll get there!
I knew I wanted to be a princess, and I loved walking around in my mother’s high heels. If I ever saw her put on makeup, I’d ask her to do mine too and she would pretend to put lipstick and mascara on me. My mother dressed me most days, usually in horrendous 80s style jumpers, boyfriend jeans and white socks with lacey frills around the top.
1997 – 2003
I got my first lip balm in 1999 when I started school, and I used to pretend it was lipstick – I’d apply it during lunch breaks in the girl’s bathroom and I remember very vividly how grown up I thought I was.
By this point I started watching MTV and loved the outfits the Spice Girls would wear. I’d roll up my tops when parents weren’t around to tell me off, so they’d look like crop tops. I also got my first pair of platform shoes and I felt like I was almost an adult because they were basically heels, right?
I had long, thick hair which I started to love around this age (one part of myself I still like today). I was very skinny, taller than all the other girls my age and had very bushy eyebrows. I also got my first pair of glasses at this point. They were round, and had little dogs on the frames. How stylish!
2004 – 2006
I lived mostly in a school uniform so I had no sense of fashion. I liked wide leg jeans and tight jumpers – I owned far too many turtlenecks. I became a teenager so my skin started misbehaving but despite my mother’s best attempts, I was not interested in makeup yet – it was a whole world I was unfamiliar with and I already had a tonne of homework to do, I wasn’t going to spend time learning about makeup too!
2007 – 2010
I lived in South Africa during this period of my life, so I suddenly didn’t need to wear the numerous layers I became accustomed to in the UK. I mostly wore short shorts, and colourful Tshirts to begin with.
I then discovered Green Day and my wardrobe became eyeliner and black everything. Yes, Green Day got me into makeup. This is also when I discovered others noticed parts of me they liked, so I started feeling more aware of my appearance and less like a giant blob of sebum – my eyelashes were very long and black which got me numerous compliments and spurred me on to love eyeliner ever more because I found out it drew attention to my eyes.
2011 – 2016
This is really when I started thinking about style and wanting to look good. I tried a different style almost every year during this period because I couldn’t find something that felt right.
2011 is when I discovered skinny jeans. This was a big change in my style, and for the first time I started feeling good. But the rest of me wasn’t there yet – I still couldn’t work out what colours I liked, what tops I liked, how to wear coats, or how makeup works.
During one of my best friend’s hen do, I go to Bobbi Brown and have my makeup done. I felt completely intimidated by the prices of products (on my student income) but I know I want to know more. I started wearing foundation in 2014 – FINALLY!!! My skin is less spotty than when I was a teenager, but still not great. I use wet wipes to clean my face and use no skincare products. The shame!
This was a big year for me. I bought a Vogue magazine and looking at all the ads in there made something click for me – a picture of a tall, slender woman wearing an incredibly classy Dior outfit that just screamed power and confidence. I want that. I want to look that confident, because I know if I do I’ll feel that confident. Fashion becomes something more than just a way of keeping my bits covered and avoiding frostbite.
This is also when I discovered I liked makeup and skincare. I wanted to learn more so I went to makeup school (thank you to my beautiful friend who let me sleep in her flat during this time and ended up looking after me when I got pneumonia a few days into the course – and introducing me to the KFC hot wings).
The year it all came together. I finally found my style! I like my skinny jeans, but I adore timeless, classic looks. I also got promoted so I need to look more professional. I start wearing only black skinny jeans, and pair them with beautiful blouses, shirts or blazers. It finally feels right! I found “me.”
Makeup is a big part of my life now and I am qualified as a makeup artist. I even did a few jobs! I learnt a lot about skincare and I now double cleanse religiously (seriously, I didn’t go to bed one single evening in 2018 without double cleansing).
I’ve never felt better – I love my style, I know what I’m doing with my skincare and I feel good in my makeup. And then disaster strikes: I get the implant and I go through a very stressful time, so my skin is absolutely covered in hormonal breakouts. I’ve not had skin this bad even as a teenager!
The plus side? I gain weight. I’ve always been underweight as a result of a fast metabolism and good (bad?) genes so to finally gain some weight feels amazing. But I can’t get any of my jeans past my thighs! So I buy wide leg trousers again, only this time they’re much smarter than what I used to wear many years ago.
I find inspiration in Parisian muses and I read about fast fashion. And then I panic about fast fashion and all the damage it’s causing and decide I need to make changes in my life to help with this – my next few posts will be addressing exactly what these changes are and why.
Until next time xo