Blog-tember: Day 4 – Fashion


Hia ladies!

“Top of the morning to you”, as they say in Dublin, supposedly. I’ve been in Dublin a few times and never heard anyone say it, not once, however…

Right, today’s prompt for Blog-tember. Another juicy one!

Pick a fashion trend you love and a fashion trend you hate. Win us over!

I have a love-hate relationship with fashion. Love the idea of it. Hate how much it costs and, mostly, how it looks on me and how it’s just so impractical – I have two small children, for Gods sake, the crop top is just not going to cut it! So, I kind of fall in to the ‘mildly aware of current fashions but kind of can’t be bothered to make the effort it takes to keep up with all the changes, to be honest’ category.

Having said that, I adore – could lose myself for hours – looking at photos of fashion shows. All the handiwork, the textures, the colours, the shapes and forms, the stories they tell through these clothes…I find it all uber-inspirational. I’d love to attend a fashion show (yeah, I’d be the frumpy, but spunky, one placed as close to the back as possible, but what the f***, I’d be there, dreaming a little dream). 

I remember when I was a student, I used to wear some ridiculous get-ups! Channeling Morrissey/Kate Moss (she was my age, then, just when she was being splattered all over every magazine)/Matthew Williamson, I remember one particularly freezing cold Spring night, in London, dressed in some sort of slip ‘thing’, with daffodils shoved down my top (I won’t say cleavage, because that would be misleading!). And the time we found a secondhand shop in a trip South of the river! It was closing down, everything going cheap, so, of course, on my student budget, I had to have the long flowing mermaid-like silk and satin dress. It made me feel like a Princess/sex kitten/Blondie/Kate Moss all at once. I imagine I actually looked like a particularly wanton bridesmaid but, you know, that’s the thing about clothes (I won’t say fashion!)…if you find the right ones, they make you feel invincible.

Like my red wool coat/yellow scarf ensemble a few years ago, before that period when red coats had become fashionable. I felt like I could fly in that coat, honestly. I remember walking to work, through the London crowds, everyone wearing the black uniform of monotony, and feeling like I could just burst in to song, that coat made me so damn happy. [I’ll save the story about one man’s ‘joke’ about fox hunters for a later date…].

I’ve been thinking a lot about clothes, and their power, recently. How, as I just said, the right clothes can make you feel invincible. When all of the crap started with my husband, and just after he’d left, I had this enormous desire – desire’s the only word I can use to describe the intensity of the feeling – to paint my nails. So I did. Light pink at first (it still felt subversive, after years of him telling me he didn’t like painted nails). Then I got a bit cockier and did a brighter pink. Then lilac. Then fuchsia. What am I wearing today, you ask? Neon orange, ladies, oh yes, neon orange! A big f*** off to all those times I was told not to paint them. A tiny rebellion, but a rebellion nonetheless, and it feels mighty good. Every time I catch a glimpse of them, my heart soars and I remember floating down the streets of London – pre-husband days – swathed in that red cloak of Girl Power, and I remember what it felt like to be me. And that was a powerful thing, for me, to catch a glimpse of myself again, after all these years.

So, fashion…I’m not a fashionable lady, never have been, but I’m rediscovering the value of expressing yourself through clothes. I’ve been drawn to the Advanced Style blog recently. Strike that!…completely in love with the Advanced Style blog recently. Mesmerised by the sheer audacity of the beautiful ladies that Ari captures. [Hop over to this post or this post or this post and feast your eyes on those beauties, and don’t come back until you’ve smiled yourself silly!]. One of his subjects, Lynn Dell, said something that really resonated with me: “You must dress for the theatre of your lives”. Amen, Lynn Dell, Amen.

So, fashion…what are my loves? It seems it’s expression, that thing that I love about fashion, whether it be the designers who painstakingly see their visions through to fruition or the people who have the courage – or joie de vivre (or are they the same thing?) – to express themselves, fully, using clothes. That’ll be me calling me again, through my intuition, willing me to give myself a boost by expressing myself more in my choice of clothing. If, in the author’s photo, when my book’s published, I look like a younger Iris Apfel sprinkled with a bit of Frida Khalo tipping my hat at a medley of John Galliano creations, don’t judge me. Pat me on the back. I’ll have reached the highest expression of myself. And that’s a Very Good Thing.

Corr, this post got very very long, very very quickly and kinda went off topic…

No time/room for ‘fashion trends I hate’…

And I really really wanted to make up a fashion trend I’d love to see (pulls face and runs off to corner to sulk)…

I’ll save those ideas for a few new blog posts, then.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this beauty, from the master of ‘brainy but highly accessible and enjoyable’ article writing herself, Maria Popova at brainpickings…a review of Worn Stories by Emily Spivack. It made me cry, mostly happy happy tears, but it ends on sad, sad, tears: be warned.


8 thoughts on “Blog-tember: Day 4 – Fashion

  1. Lizelle says:

    You go girl! A Neon orange nail look is these days one of my favourites too. Love the pop against my complexion.Your nail look my be a small rebellion but hey, girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to set herself right with herself! Bright coat and nail paint on!


  2. Reta Jayne says:

    Neon orange?? Yes! LOL. Mine are a chipped & peeling metallic burnt pumpkin (of sorts! LOL). I love it!

    I think my favorite part of this whole thing is the quote: “You must dress for the theatre of your lives.” I’ve heard of dressing for the role you want to have — whether it be a job position or whatever. But, this really resonates with me. While I do prefer comfort over fashion, it is very easy to get sucked into not having enough pride in how you look & that can be kind of dangerous to one’s self-esteem, I think.

    I quite enjoyed this post today, Helen! Thank you for sharing!


  3. Liane says:

    Love that you are wearing neon orange nail varnish! Go you!


  4. Red coat, definitely must have! I hate how everyone just go black on winter days. It’s so depressing. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t have colour. And yes, fashion is our form of expressing ourself. Your blogtember posts are so amazing!


  5. Britney Lee says:

    i love you. you rock that polish girl!! i always love wearing shades of blue.
    helen, my heart feels for you. i went through a similiar thing with my ex-step-dad. so controlling and even though he didn’t physically abuse anyone…he was abusive. i just love you and i am so glad that you are coming into yourself again.
    i promise your kids will have a better life for it…take it from my experience.
    i just love you. i fell we are kindred spirits.


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