It wasn’t a calculated decision, but when I thought about this outfit (after shooting it with Kaye in the last street we shot in Soho before heading to Veggie Pret) I realised it was a good visual representation of just a couple of the different and opposing sides of me. The stereotypically girly and feminine colours of this cosy, homely, and body-hiding Boohoo jumper juxtaposing with the edgy, skin-tight PVC trousers and the chunky Cherry Red Dr. Martens. A mixture of mainstream and Alt (not my categorisations but how others might access their style persuasion)and a combination of strong and soft, self-conscious and self-assured.
I’ve always been stubbornly against categorising myself. Even though it now makes creating a concise media-pack and one-sheet an impossible task, and inconveniently makes it unclear for brands to know whether I’m a good fit for their project or not. You may have noticed that I don’t like to publicly label myself anything that confines me to a rigid box or space. My blog covers pretty much anything subject-wise, and maintains a freedom to change opinions and cover many different sides of arguments. I go from wearing stuff that may put me in one category ,and in the next post wear an outfit that puts me in a polar opposite fashion niche. My social media bio’s usually cover a whole host of areas, or are so vague no-one would be able to have a clear handle of who I am and what I’m all about. When people ask me to tell me about myself I um and ahh not knowing which facet, or how many of them to offer with my bumbling answer.
This is frustrating to many, and I get that, because we all want to know what someone is all about, because without feeling confident that we know someone – their style, what they like, and where their opinions lie, it makes us feel vulnerable and somewhat unnerved. It’s unsettling if someone feels unpredictable, but it really doesn’t make me or anyone else who thinks this way necessarily a loose cannon, nor someone to be wary of. I promise. Hopefully some of you can see it this way…. it just means I can surprise you and maybe offer versatility thanks to a willingness to embrace different mediums, styles, subjects and interests. Most of us are using our social media and blogging platforms as a reflection of who we are and an extension of us in written or visual form, so there really should be no limits. Anything that we’re naturally inclined to think, talk about, love, loathe, create, wear, desire should be fair game to share IF we want to. I hate the thought that people aren’t saying or doing what they want because it doesn’t stay inside the parameters they’ve set for themselves, or the outlines other people have drawn on their behalf.
Of course there are some instances when it’s helpful to categorize things. Sure we could just alphabetise, but it would be a rather lengthy and tricky task to hunt out your desired vinyl if they weren’t divided by genre. As music styles continue to merge and and overlap, innovate and surprise this is going to become increasingly hard to do though – at least accurately. Now apply this process to us human, I can’t even imagine where I’d be placed if we were all divided by neat genres, or even sub-genres. Surely most, if not all of us, are undefinable, or at least I’d like to think so.
Notice how I started the previous paragraph saying that it’s sometimes helpful to categorize ‘things’….we’re more than merely things and stuff aren’t we? So why are we so obsessed with capturing what we are in these snappy sentences, and or by plonking ourselves in groups. Of course one positive of doing it is that it may to create that feeling of being part of a community – feeling part of something whether it be fighting for a similar cause and a being united by a shared passion. There’s no doubting this can be enriching as long as we don’t see it, or use it as barrier to restrict us from other things that could fulfil or add value to our days.
I personally don’t know anyone who fits neatly into one scene entirely without any sort of conflict or crossover with another. Some of my friends who dress in traditionally ‘metal’ or ‘goth’ clothes actually love a lot of chart pop for instance, and have many other elements that flip the stereotypes and imagined paired interests completely on their heads. But when I thought about how we describe ourselves via our social media it’s funny how we often focus on music tastes, hobbies, diet…..when there’s so many aspects that make up our total being, and I know there’s a lot more to us than just those elements!
As I’ve discussed on this blog before I am what the kids would call a bit of ‘a melt.’ I’m soft and mushy and all too forgiving of those that really don’t deserve their fourth…fifth or sixth chances. I’m emotional, and at times and allow that to influence my decisions and reactions. I find myself often sacrificing my own happiness for fear of having a negative effect on someone else, and in the past this has at time seen me make decisions that impact my career and finances negatively. I feared all this, and many other tendencies that people would deem weak, gentle or soft would mean I could never be successful in business. Whenever you think of entrepreneurs or the high flyers of this world, the words ruthless, confident (even arrogant) often come to mind, as does focused and thick skinned. But what if we can see still be soft and achieve big things? Be a force within our chosen career but still have times of being gentle and vulnerable?
Recently I’ve been reassured you can via successful but hard fought collaborations. Sure we might face a lot of moments that are challenging or stomach churning because of our softer side, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to forge an impressive career, and more importantly one we’ve earned from being ourselves. But it’s also important to remember we can be both soft and hard, and sometimes it’s just about channelling them at the right time. I can’t help but think of someone I know who I used to email in a purely work capacity. She was strident, impressive…intimidating even. I felt nervous and small whenever I had to interact with her. But eventually I spent some time talking to her one on one about real life rather than work, and soon realised she had the same fears and worries as me, and was extremely caring and tender – not at all scary. Not only do those moments remind you that we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, or believe that what we know of a person captures the whole story, but that most of us have the capabilities to being powerful, strong, determined but also kind, gentle, and even fragile.
I think it’s time we really reaccessed what all those words mean too. I know damn well there’s a lot of people fighting things quietly and being damn strong human beings and you may never think to call them that because you simply don’t know what’s going on. Being vulnerable can be extremely powerful too. It shouldn’t be seen as a position or feeling that puts you in an underdog category. Vulnerability makes you have empathy which can lead to strong relationships and impactful communication, and vulnerability usually means you are in touch with emotions which we all now can lead to awesome creativity. So be calm when you want, be fiery when you feel that burning. Be funny and silly one moment. and be serious or sophisticated the next. There shouldn’t be rules, you can be whatever you want to be. We can be everything we want, AND all at the same time.
As gender continues to be fluid expectation of us become loose, free and available for choice. Of course some people are taking a bit of time to catch up ,and we still have a way to go to even up the playing field in a lot of areas, but there is definitely some acceptance that we can and should do anything. Our gender has less power to set limitations or define us in ways that restrict or pigeon hols us, so why choose to define ourselves just to make who we are easier to accept or be understood by others.
I might end up reducing the different arms of what I do or cover work-wise, and how thinly I spread myself . Some of my current passions and interests will naturally wane over time leaving me a slightly clearer pool of potential followers who’ll feel some sort of connection to me and my content. But I imagine I’ll always be a bit confusing and have a question mark hovering above my head. And I kinda like that. I want to keep you guessing. I don’t want to stick to a formula, follow a a pattern (even if it’s been my pattern) and I don’t to conform for the sake of making things easy. If you’ve found a scene or area that you feel truly comfortable aligning yourself with, then that’s great – and potentially very helpful in terms of growing an audience that ‘get you’ and have inspiration in what you post, but we shouldn’t force it.
Be a contradiction, or a living and breathing oxymoron. Juxtapose and contrast. Be unpredictable and surprising. IF that’s what your naturally inclinations lead you to. We can’t let people dictate who we should be, what we should look like and how we should think. Don’t allow other people unease at your rejection of labels stop you for being your true layered, ever-changing and evolving, multi faceted, chameleon-escq self. But similarly don’t let people make you feel less-than or boring if you happen to fit rather perfectly into a particular scene. Even if you appear to be the perfect poster-person for it you, please remember there will also be something that sets you apart anyone else. Succeeding in simply being you should always be the ultimate but natural goal.
Colour blocking, AND clashing colour. Boy is this Boohoo jumper ‘of the moment’. I picked it up from the LFW gifting event the other day which I came to very late in the day when much of the selection had gone. I will admit that it wouldn’t have been something I would have normally been drawn to but I’m so pleased I picked it as it has become a surprise favourite. As well as offering a lovely pop of bold colour it’s a very useful length, perfect to pop over slimline bottoms like faux leather trousers and skinny jeans but also looks great as a jumper dress over tights.
These WEARALL PVC trousers are getting a regular plug on this blog, as thats simply because it’s the first time I’ve kept a pair of these trousers. I’ve always had to return former attempts at this trend because they’ve just been horrifically uncomfortable to wear, and quite frankly completely impractical if you plan to sit at any point while you wear them. Although these are a bit tight when I put them on in the morning, particularly since all my blogging pals have been introducing me to new Doughnut brands, not long after I secure the metal button the stretch in the fabric makes them extremely easy to wear. At last a trouser that works perfectly alongside my inability not to spill or miss my mouth when I eat and drink!
I’m obsessed with me new Vegan Cambridge Brush DM’s. I ordered them for my birthday over 2 years ago but after a few ordering hiccups and them continuously selling out (because they’re bloody great), it was only last week I finally had them in my hands. Apart from looking awesome they also don’t need any wearing in, so it’s almost as though you are being rewarded for making a kind purchase.
Lastly this pink Primark beret. It was a risk to incorporate this hard to wear and divisive headgear on a blog shoot – which usually involves you getting ready down a gusty side alley without any reflection for guidance. At home I’m used to having to reposition it numerous times on my head before I’m happy with it’s level of jauntiness, so I knew it probably wouldn’t be looking optimum without the help of a mirror. Oh well…
Thanks to the awesome Kaye Ford for her photo taking skills again. What a girl!!