Wednesday, February 3

Finding your style: A flashback in dodgy fashion

Finding my own style is something I've struggled with for a long time, many years in fact. Although, the older I get, the more I am beginning to pick pieces that make me feel, more like me. Looking back, I think I was my most stylish when I was four or so. I'll explain a bit...

When I was a little girl, my mum dressed me in cute ensembles whereby all the pieces matched from my white jelly bag to the clips in my hair. Apparently, I latched onto this very quickly and wouldn’t leave the house unless I was ‘matcha!’ In a playschool photograph, all the kids are sporting grass-stained cords and tees and I am wearing pink tartan pants with a pink blouse and bows in my bob of carefully tonged hair. Stylin! Perhaps, I should let my mum dress me again - just with less pink?

At the age of 10, things started to go a bit pear-shaped. Literally. For one, that’s the shape my body began to take (Why, God, why!?) and two, I started wearing black cycling shorts with over-sized Mickey Mouse T-Shirts. I must have thought I was dead-stylish because I even wore that to the Roxette concert. Cringe. Fest.

By 14, I was all about the ripped jeans, flannel shirts and koki-covered converse. Roxette was out and Soundgarden was in. It was the 90’s and life was tough, man. I was an angsty teen who wore a Pantera shirt to civies day. My poor Mother. (Who, let me add, has always an amazing sense of style even when perms and shoulder-pads were a-go-go.)

Then it was 1998 and the Spice Girls were huge. Everyone was wearing hipster jeans and lycra dresses from Coco Bay. I decided to give the ‘pop’ look a bash. My mum bought me a lavender dress and some patent black heels which my mates dubbed ‘the Classies!’ They sure were classy compared to the converse. I enjoyed the change-up although I still didn’t feel quite myself. Plus it was a nightmare moshing in heels. Bless.

By the early two thousands, I had wandered into style-less territory. The 90’s were over and the Spice Girls had parted ways. For the next couple of years, my look was kind of hippie-chick(not chic) meets grunge misfit. I really wanted to find clothes that reflected who I was but I guess I didn’t know that person yet.

Then in 2008 I moved to London for a year and that’s where my education in fashion began. Suddenly my eyes were opened to all the styles and possibilities that are available to everyone. Doc Martins, Americana dresses, fake fur coats and technicolour hairstyles galore. There, people (mostly) wear whatever they want and no one judges or cares really. If you’ve been there, you know this of course. What I found really interesting is how the magazines do such a brilliant job of showing their readers how to put clothes together in cool, wearable ways. And the window displays! They're so slick you want to snap up each and every piece. Urban Outfitters does the best layered looks and I lusted after them all. Pity I was saving every penny for my travels.

Coming back home, I found myself among a sea of shorts and t-shirts again. Durban is a tropical town and not the sort of place wear you can wear knee high socks and gigantic hair bows to the Pavilion. I think Durbs is probably more like LA - home to beautiful, tanned people in flip flops - just without the movie sets and designer homes.

So did I find my style in London? Not entirely. I found hundreds of looks that I liked and many people and places that inspired me. Now I need to learn which pieces to buy and how to put them together to suit me. I know I want to go for something that’s part vintage and part boho-chic but finding the clothes, that's the fun slash super hard part, eh?

So that's some stuff about me, but what about you? I'd love to know more about the people I'm sharing my erm, forays into fashion with. What is your style and who are your inspirations? Tell, tell, tell!

10 comments:

dinkum design said...

Loved this post! I'll have a try at writing, but the camera's more my thing. I hate to admit it.... but I will have to include the big hair, blue eyeshadow and shoulder pads as part of my style history.

Lauren said...

Ah, the frosted blue eyeshadow - I remember it well:) Thanks Dinkum, I've been nervous of revealing too much on this blog but I thought I'd share a little more than usual and see what happens. x

Mel said...

I loved this post too! I love the way you think, and write.. so much truth.

Regarding fashion... i like it, but i'm certainly no fashionista. At the mo, i'm totally into skinny jeans and tight long vests. With a touch of over-sized jewelery.

It's funny, I had the whole black cycling shorts with over-sized Mickey Mouse T-Shirts going in my tween years too. Even have photographic evidence that makes me cringe and laugh out really loud at the same time! Right on!

Bev said...

hehe.. I laughed and laughed till the tears ran down !! haha the white jelly bag !!!!!!!! Love, Cat xxxxx

Lauren said...

Haha, Cat, I'm glad you enjoyed! Perhaps I should start referring to you as Cat on the blog, feels more natural, hehe. Except people always ask, why the heck do you call your mother Cat. haha! x

Lauren said...

Thanks Mel. I really appreciate all your comments. Your blog is super kewl too. x

Lauren said...

Oh Mel, one other thing, it seems the mickey cycling short thing was a huge hit in SA, I wander what or who on earth was the inspiration behind that trend, haha! Mickey himself perhaps?

Lady Times said...

La, I cannot even begin to describe how this entry hit a nerve with me! I am on the exact journey. A tomboy through and through basically my whole life, although I have always loved fashion and am more often than not the person everyone consults when we’re getting ready to go out on the town. I can dress other people but myself, well that’s something I think I am only beginning to get right now. I was all into dresses that would twirl hip-high on the monkey rings in play school. Primary school I was so down with the cycling shorts & oversized Disney charter t-shirts. WHAT a scream. Then because I had more boy friends than girlfriends I really started to dress like a boy, with skating shoes, baggy shorts and shirts trying so hard to hide the boobs that were sprouting – how embarrassing! Then high school hit and we were all into clubbing and deep house. Hipsters, huge chunky belts, loads of cleavage, sweet Nike cortez! What! Rose tinted sunglasses although it’s 3 in the morning and there’s no need! My dad though I was off my rocker. My mother hated it! After school I was a plain Jane. No make up as little effort as possible. Now I am finding my groove and for a very similar reason. My brother was in London/Europe for a while and came back a change man. He advises me and points things out. I love it. LOVEING the vintage although in this country it’s so hard to find the good stuff so if I see something new but old looking (which back in the day I would have considered frumpy!) I try it on and love it. The more feminine the better! Loving the floral patterns, high wasted skits, shorts, pants, frilly tops with lots of pretty embellishments. BOWS! Thin waist belts. Oversized cardigans. I must admit that I live in sneakers. I just can’t bear to be without them. I do own heels and very beautiful ones but I can walk in them. I sit and look at them on my feet then put a sweet little white pair of sneakers and off I go. I also think it’s my individual touch and it works! I know I am nowhere near a finished product but I am loving this path.

Lauren said...

Ah Jess, I so enjoyed reading this! The rose-tinted glasses at 3 in the morning, haha! Thin belts with oversized cardi's are great, I need to find a nice cardi. And it seems Disney was the ultimate fashion staple back in 1990, haha! Thanks so much for sharing this with us. x

Cupcake Couture said...

So well written. x