Classic with a Twist

Buy the Dress here – https://rstyle.me/~cz-anVYL

Am I talking about myself. Not quite, but if the shoe fits 😉

What I want is for this post to dispel the myth that classic means boring, safe, grown-up, or ‘too normal’.

Shopping for classic items doesn’t mean you have to abandon your love for the flamboyant or alternative, nor does it have to mean you lose your identity. It also doesn’t have to mean that you have to ‘adult’ too hard on the fashion front either. If you don’t feel ready to let go of the ‘young’ uniform you’ve been choosing to wear for the last decade why not just smoosh it together with these heralded hero pieces. It’s worked for fusion cuisine, so why not fashion?

I’m wafting somewhere in the middle, constantly a conflicted style maven, adoring polar opposite looks every time I shop. I’m still wanting to wear Dickies clothes, merch tees, vans and comfy mum jeans, but also wanting to feel more put-together, like a grown up, with a feeling high end polish ( well, that’s the goal at least). I do try and smash those style worlds together all the time, admittedly with mixed levels of sartorial success. But isn’t that half the fun of fashion? The times you get in so right, AND the times you get it so ‘should I delete that old post’ kinda wrong.

Recently I think I’ve found myself being even more inclined to actually purchase well known classic pieces though – you will have seen my recent faux suede trench for Zara at The Bentall Centre for instance. I’ve never been particularly flush financially so I think longevity is something that has always been drummed into me , courtesy of irate mum and daughter shopping trips, and my own natural tendency to be mindful of my spending. Of course at times (probably too often) I’m won over by the allure of the gimmicks or short-lived trends – those items that are so freaking cute/cool your heart just wills you to have them. But on the whole, particularly when buying things like a winter coat, I think I always tend to go for timeless, traditional or versatile pieces. After years of styling myself, and others, I know that they actually allow for a tremendous amount of creativity and mean that you can run riot with colour/patter/texture elsewhere to introduce interest within your outfit.

I actually find it more fun and excitingly challenging to give standard or much-loved styles a reinvention via accessories, footwear, layering, or even the make up I choose to wear with it. I think it’s cool to wear a item in an unexpected location too. A brand might have marketed it for a certain purpose, but you might see it’s potential, if styled appropriately, to look awesome in another very different one. For instance this dress is featured with tassled black earring and and elegant black heel in the Oasis e-commerce shots. It looks like a beautiful and sophisticated Spring look. However, I might actually get more wear out of it at festivals with chunky beaten-up boot, or even a trainer if the weather allows for such frivolous behaviour.

This iconic spot wrap dress could be paired with a very feminine heel, with a neat little blazer over the top and worn at an occasion like a christening or a day at the races (if you’re that way inclined). It could be team with mary-janes and a cute beret, so you could look like an ingenue about to cycle round the cobbled streets of Paris. For a casual, cool, edgier look, a graphic tee could have been layered underneath. In these shots I predictably chose a nineties take, teaming with my all time fave high-top Converse. I kept the styling simple because I wanted the dress to be the star of the show, without too much distraction. The punchy colour and it’s unexpected footwear said enough about the kinda look I wanted to create in these pics.

I always think of the classic or staple pieces like this almost as a very solid and reliable blank canvas. A tweed for example is so recognisable that it’s almost invisible, and somehow doesn’t count as a pattern (unless you want it to, and go for an oversized or unpredictable colour way). A solid piece of denim will go with literally anything. A great fitting beige trench can look effortless or smart depending on what it’s draped over. So reliably effortless they look great without being a show off about it.

While I’m talking about abandoning negative thoughts about these reliable, stalwart, ever-green pieces, I want to also talk about giving brands a chance.  To stop making assumptions they’re not for for you based on the perception you have of the brand in terms of it’s demographic, it’s styling leanings, it’s position in the hierarchy in the blogger world.

There’s brands that we know will always have LOADS of items we want to buy, and at an affordable price too – all those fast fashion brands we love despite possible questionable ethics. We are all by now very aware of them, and we will see their new-in items on our feed frequently via the ootd’s of various people we have chosen to follow for that sort of content. They’re already at the forefront of my mind when I know I have to buy a new outfit – it’s almost an autopilot process now of going down the list of those go-to online store or high street chains. I won’t list them, because your list will likely be very similar give or take a few.

There’s always blogger favourite items too. Those items that are very insta friendly ( perhaps the motif or slogan is very apt) or they just look great in photos. Those pieces that are very of the moment or ticking a lot of trend boxes. There’s so much repetition. I so try my best to avoid that, but it’s really hard and I fall victim frequently. You’ll likely follow people with similar styles to you (because you want relevant inspo) so they’ll be inevitably drawn to the smilier pieces. And obviously sometimes an item is popular for good reason – it just looks great! (or is an amazing dupe for a more expensive version).

But here is where we have to opportunity to be proper ‘influencers’ (that will always sound cringe) when it comes to fashion. If we constantly go to the same brands, and wear the same products of course we are bolstering the idea that this is a ‘must-have’ item, and at times even being part of creating a new trend. But if we find an item from a shop that people who follow you don’t always instantly think of, or perhaps don’t believe is a shop so seamlessly ‘on brand’ for them, you are doing way more just going ‘yeah I like that too’, or ‘I can confirm that is a really good thing you should buy because a gazillion of us bloggers have’. You can be that person that introduces people to a brand that they had previously dismissed. You are in the position to remind them that you don’t have to use the products how the brand have chosen to via their marketing/styling direction.

I love going to the brands in the tier below the most prominent ones, or the less blogged within my blogger niche/scene, and finding an item within it’s offering I know hasn’t been shown a million times by others, but that I also know my audience will still enjoy seeing. I love that some people may be even surprised that they like the piece because it’s not a brand they’d usually shop at or consider even browsing.

Isn’t it weird that we have this idea that we have to love oodles of the listings on a site to want to visit the site and make a purchase? I know from my finances and my personal shopping habits, I can’t/don’t buy more than a few products from an online store/shop at one time, so it’s unnecessary to have a stock of hundreds/thousands of items catering to my personal taste every time I choose to browse. In fact it makes it a lot easier for my to decide what earns the ‘add to basket’ click when a few items stand out more than the others on the page.

I guess what I’m saying is don’t always go for the obvious brands. Don’t just stick to your usual few stores, or even the one’s that have been subconsciously constantly reinforced as the ‘cool’ brands to shop at by people like me. Think about those stores you sometimes walk past in the high street on route to your most shopped at destinations. Perhaps they were the ones that when you were at school you thought were for older people, or not for the people in your clique. Perhaps the brands you always thought were for only ‘mum’ type people. Some of my all time favourite purchases have been from brands I didn’t think were up my street, too old for me, too young for me, too smart, not my style etc.

Show people your ability to hunt for those hidden style gems, rather than just confirming via repetition that other people on your feed picked good pieces for their latest OOTD.

 

Thank you to OASIS for gifting me the dress. I love it!

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