Influences of fashion come from all over the place; ask anybody with true individual style, whether it is simple or extravagant, the inspiration behind what they wear will be unique to them, depending on upbringing, attitude and interests.
This edge that everybody possesses is the reason we have so many well dressed people around us. Whether you’re walking to costcutters on campus or strutting along London’s style obsessed Mayfair there will be people looking enviously good in clothes you ‘just couldn’t pull off’. This reflection on individual style hadn’t really hit me until recently, despite how obvious it now seems. I used to flick endlessly through monthly magazines drooling over what was quite frankly the unattainable new, patent, berry coloured mulberry bag I simply needed, or lusting over the new asymmetric trend that Tatler had told me was a ‘must have’ for this season but would never suit my body shape let alone my budget.
This constant stream of new trends which need new shoes, new accessories, new everything, was not only destroying my bank balance but also meant I was mindlessly following the crowd with products that didn’t even compliment me. This is a mistake most people make. Then, for fashion, a new era dawned, the era of fashion blogging.
These fashion blogging sites that have popped up in their masses all over the world, have not only opened up people’s eyes to the beauty and often elegance of street style, but have also revealed that everybody, be they middle aged, elderly, short or fat can look good with their own independent vogue. The pictures that fill these sites aren’t of obscenely tall and skinny girls. Instead they are pictures of old women crossing the street with tartan shopping bags while wearing full leopard print coats, men wearing colourful ties with clashing printed shirts and women covering their heads while running quickly through the rain in four inch heels.
In the process of doing everyday things these people look genuinely amazing, while embracing a style that is their own. Even if you’re not a fashion slave the pictures themselves are works of art, beautifully shot from London to Toyko to Moscow. The photographers are often editorially trained and know what to look for; its not about high fashion or technical trends, its about the splendour of the clothes and the exquisite details that people have added of their own accord to make the outfit truly their own. The websites themselves have become quite influential; a website named ‘The Sartorialist’ has been selected by Times Magazine’s top 100 design influencers. The inspiration for high fashion couture has to come from somewhere and it seems that even the professionals are turning to normal people as their muses.
We’ve all seen the ‘what were they thinking ‘columns in heat and entire websites have been devoted to celebrity fashion victims (check out gofugyourself.) This should be proof enough that money does not buy you style. I’m not saying normal people don’t make errors in judgement when it comes to appearance, but at least it’s a learning curve to move onto better things. Style is something you develop with experience. You have to discover what compliments your skin tone and what flatters your body shape. If beige harem pants don’t do that then it’s simple; you don’t wear them no matter how fashionable they are. It’s understandably hard not to follow the norm; looks or trends don’t just affect a few fashion elite, they spread to every corner of the high street, which can easily end with a fashion faux pas.
A few summers ago when a grungy look seeped into high street fashion, I remember picking up a full netted black skirt. I was shopping with my mum and she asked if I honesty thought that would look good. Being a teenager I went and brought it regardless and my mum, being aware that I wouldn’t learn until I had wasted my own money, let me buy it. I never have or ever will wear that skirt; it made my legs look short and my skin colour sallow. I had blindly been caught up in what I thought looked fashionable. My mum was right and it turns out she was all along; she always told me to embrace my Indian heritage when it came to fashion, the bright colours, silky fabrics and sparkling jewels suit both my physical appearance and my personality.
What I’ve discovered is that my trend will come along eventually and it has this year; the tribal and Asian themed clothes are perfect so I’m stocking up, and you should wait for yours to come to do the same.