A foray in to my sartorial past – and what style means to me

Finding your own personal style is always messy. It’s a constant
process of trying different things on and seeing what fits. I’ve always
had slightly gothic leanings and frequently make jokes about “I’LL WEAR
ANYTHING AS LONG AS IT’S BLACK” – but really over the years my taste in
clothes has been – shall we say – more colourful. Mismatched coloured
leopard print, candy-striped beach dresses and blue and white striped
50’s dresses were some of the looks from Claire of the past. I never
really have been aware of my style changing and I’ve always felt that
there has been a common feeling of me-ness throughout – and while I
would still wear underskirts with bright pink lipstick and pinstripe
skirts in a heartbeat – I also feel a lot more comfortable in what I
Sheer skirts and corsets aren’t for me – but fishnets,
slouchy bags and a good fugly shoe are. I’ve went from a devoted dress
wearer to trousers 60% of the time but still wear too much eyeliner and
think everything looks better with red lipstick. And I definitely miss my hat phase (berets and badges everywhere, turbans for everyone) it just wasn’t something that stuck.
With that said, I’m 24 and while I feel a bit surer of what I like and what I don’t, I still look forward to looking back in 10 years at my sartorial dos, don’t and dear god whys.

Milly over at Mini Adventures did a post talking about style and you would describe it so I thought it would be worth a shot. Nothing like a little bit of mid-week navel gazing right? Style has always been very important to me and I could get in to a whole load of academic wank about identity building and subcultures, but the heart of it is it’s a form of self expression and I’d love to know what other people’s though processes are behind finding their own style. Let me know if you do it yourself so I can have a swift creep.

How would you describe your style:
Classic with a gothic sensibility. I spent my teens at a skate park and up Cockburn street. I have fond memories of picking plaid shirts out of bargain bins and acquiring friends bits and bobs. As one is wont to do. A bargain basement queen who feels everything is better with black and gold.

Who inspires your style:
People on the street, bloggers, friends, celebrities, film characters, models, costume designers I’m a total style magpie and like to pick bits and bobs from everywhere. If we’re talking the fancy and the famous – Jane Birkin, Diane Pernet and Catherine Baba.

What are your wardrobe staples: 
A really good pair of 80dernier tights, mens shirts (the tailoring is infinitely better) and a really good pair of black trousers. H&M so a pretty flawless pair for just under £10. I always bulk buy them when they’re in. Jewellery wise – the eternity ring my Gran have me for my 21st (it’s over 50 years old and I never take it off) and if wearing a necklace I tend to prefer a chunky gold chain or something a bit simpler. I love the idea of costume jewellery but we’ve never really meshed.

What is the most expensive item in your wardrobe:
Without a doubt my underwear. Agent Provocateur is a real weakness of mine. Underwear is the foundation of any good look and it will always be something I spend money on. Red and pink silk underwear?  Sign me up please.

Favourite Designer:
Big name? Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy. I am however perpetually skint so I’m a grab what I can afford kind of gal. Locally I’m a big fan of Obscure Couture.

How much do you usually spend on clothes:
Not as much as you would think. 80% of what I get is from a charity shop or sale.

Where do you shop:
H&M, River Island, T.K Maxx, charity shops, vintage fairs, local designers, House of Frasers, New Look, Topshop and Urban Outfitters. The usual suspects really. My favourite pieces however are some of my vintage pieces (a 100% silk beaded dress, a black lace 50s style dress with detachable straps) and charity shop finds (£1 boys school shirt with super stiff collar, yellow blazer, blue velvet mini dress.)

What’s your favourite way to wear your hair:
Big and to the side. Seriously I can’t do anything with it so I just….embiggen and hope for the best.

What’s your go to outfit for when you don’t know what to wear:
A black silk wrap BCBG dress from TK Maxx if going fancy. Casual it’s my blue skinny jeans rolled up with a loose fitting tee and Obscure Couture cardi.

One fashion trend you would like to come back and stay:
I’m kind of hoping for sheer ankle socks to be a bit more of a thing. Think they are super cute. Also anything that allows me to dress like it’s Halloween 90% of the year. Can we keep midi length forever too?

What’s your most prized possession in your wardrobe:
My Obscure Couture cardi that I wear all the time, any jewellery from my family and my slouchy stud bag that I take everywhere. It cost me £3 and the straps are broken but it is my everything.

What advice would you give to someone who is fashion conscious: 
Don’t be. Don’t be safe – be willing to experiment with your look and finding out what works for you. Fuck the rules. Colour head to toe, clash patterns, wear colour’s that people say you shouldn’t (black and blue/brown, pink and red.) Wear what you love – be it a fugly boot or a sky scraper heel. Also everything looks better with lipstick.
Except at the gym.


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