You’re Not Stupid Because You Like Fashion

You're Not Stupid Because You Like Fashion

The ethos behind my favourite ever website/blog/publication, Man Repeller, is ‘where an interest in fashion never minimises ones intellect’, which is one of the reasons why it’s one of my favourite places on the internet. For a long time, an interest in fashion and/or clothes has equated to being a little bit dim, to put it nicely. After all, the most intelligent people don’t care about what they look like, right? Steve Jobs wears the same clothes every day! Wrong. Being interested in fashion, whether it’s fashion styling, writing or simply shopping, has nothing to do with how intelligent you are. In fact, some of the people I admire the most because of their intelligence (cough, cough Pandora Sykes, my ultimate dream girl in every area of life) have built themselves or their careers through fashion, or use it to define a big part of themselves.

I’ve always wanted a career within the fashion industry, but as my life took a more ‘academic’ path and I really started to care about my academic performance, which also led to a boost in my grades, I began to doubt whether this type of career was for me. This was almost sub-conscious, perhaps partly because I know it’s a competitive industry, but I think mostly because I thought I should do something more by the books, and, as an English Lit student, something specifically to do with books. Maybe I still will end up going down this path career-wise but I’m definitely more open and more interested in a career within the fashion industry, thinking of it as something that will allow me to reach my full potential in so many ways and something that I would be proud of, not ashamed of. 

You're Not Stupid Because You Like Fashion

Many people think putting outfits together and photographing them is a waste of time and vain but, for me, it’s a really creative process. It provides me with a space to be creative and, although I’m not always completely comfortable in front of the camera, it’s something that I really enjoy altogether. It’s not something that everyone can do, whether that’s because they don’t enjoy it/don’t have the patience for it or because they simply are not good at styling. I’m not trying to say that I have a talent for putting outfits together or anything but getting dressed in the morning is a creative process for me and, especially on days when I’m glued to my desk doing UNI work, I really appreciate and enjoy this moment of creativity.

Wearing school uniform was something I absolutely hated, and wearing the same clothes for work at the moment has a similar effect on me, and unlike other peers who would say that they missed the ease of their uniform, being able to choose my own outfit every day, as little of a thing as it seems now, was so liberating for me. I don’t have anything against Steve Jobs, or anyone else who wears the same clothes every day, and I’m not saying he’s not creative (he definitely is) because everyone is creative in different ways. But just because I spend 15 minutes (sometimes much, much longer) deciding what to wear in the morning, that does not make me any less of an efficient or intelligent person and it is not something to be looked down on and I think it should be seen as creative as writing and drawing and all of the other generically creative acts, because it feels that way for me.

You're Not Stupid Because You Like Fashion

I carry absolutely zero shame for having an interest in fashion anymore and that’s why I wanted to dedicate this post to Man Repeller. Because Leandra (the founder of Man Repeller) has created a space where women can have intelligent and important conversations, whilst also writing and reading about the phenomenon of gym shorts as a ‘thing’ (this is a real, and good, article currently on the site).

I try to create a similar space with my blog, but obviously in this case it’s just me talking to myself. The posts vary from fashion-based, discussion-based to many other things and I feel just as confident in writing about them all. Man Repeller also allows me to feel justified in writing about more than one thing on my blog and not having a niche, something that I’ve tried to create and failed. I want this blog to be a reflection of me and because I am a multi-faceted human being, that means I am going to write about lots of different things, usually uniting them with posey photos of me, such as these ones taken in Liverpool’s St John’s Gardens.

Anyway, I ran off on a bit of a tangent there (what’s new?) but I just wanted to write this post to try and dismantle the stigma around fashion . I hope I’ve helped you to shatter any negative perceptions of those who are interested in fashion you might have had, and I hope that if you are a fashion-lover (that sounds so 2012) that you embrace it and feel proud of it! It means you’re creative and gives you an amazing way to construct your own identity in whatever way you want… But that’s a different post all together! Maybe next time!

You're Not Stupid Because You Like Fashion

You're Not Stupid Because You Like Fashion

You're Not Stupid Because You Like Fashion

You're Not Stupid Because You Like Fashion

You're Not Stupid Because You Like Fashion

You're Not Stupid Because You Like Fashion

You're Not Stupid Because You Like Fashion

You're Not Stupid Because You Like Fashion

Top- Mango (old, similar slogan here, similar colour t-shirt here)

Skirt- Miss Selfridge (old, similar here)

Faux Leather Gilet- Topshop (old, similar here)

Shoes- Primark (probably still available in store)


Dressing For Yourself

Photography by Jenny Gavan.

I’ve always been an advocate of wearing whatever you want and it’s something I’ve *pretty much* always been comfortable doing. This doesn’t mean that I’m always dressed eccentrically and go out of my way to dress differently. But I really could not care less if someone doesn’t like what I’m wearing whether that’s friends, family or someone on Instagram. It’s possibly the only thing I’ve always been comfortable in because I really do just love clothes- buying them, styling them, talking about them. I know what I like and if I love a piece then I’m going to feel great wearing it.

I remember in high school (well, we wore uniforms but I mean during that period in my life) I would buy things that were perhaps slightly *different* to the norm that my friends and family would look at a little weirdly- never in a malicious way, always politely. The amount of times I’ve heard the phrase ‘I could never pull that off’ or ‘it suits you but I could never wear that’ as a polite way of someone telling me that they don’t like what I’m wearing is comical. But, unlike if someone commented on my physical appearance or something I’ve said, I’ve never felt embarrassed or upset about the fact that some people don’t like what I wear. It’s definitely something to do with being able to choose what I wear and using this as a sort of shield to hide the other parts of myself that I’m not so confident about. Sometimes I’ll buy a particular shape of dress to hide a bigger part of my body that I’m not totally comfortable with (usually my boobs) or I’ll wear a ‘party girl’ type of outfit for a night out to conceal the fact that I probably am not as comfortable as the people I’m with in a night club. My clothes fill the gaps within me that have formed as a result of the lack of confidence I have in some other parts of myself.

My old blog was initially called ‘Style Comes From Within’ which I changed, after a couple of years, to ‘If You Like It Wear It’ (a little cringey, I know). Not to psychoanalyse my past self, but I think these names epitomise my confidence in my style. I was too embarrassed to share this blog on social media or even with my friends, due to issues I had with self-promotion and vanity plus my attempts to keep up the typical teenage ‘I don’t care about anything’ persona. Despite this, I was always proud of what I was wearing and excited to share it with people online who wouldn’t judge me for having a blog (as I assumed my peers would during my high school years). I actually think it would be interesting/hilarious to share some of my past outfits in a sort of style evolution post on my blog so let me know if this is something you’d like to see!

One of my absolute pet hates is when people (of both genders) assume that girls dress for boys. This is probably an assumption made more often when I was younger but it used to drive me absolutely insane! I mean I guess there’s nothing wrong with dressing for boys (although if we dug in to the meaning behind this I guess it could be a little problematic) but it’s genuinely something I’ve never done. Nights out used to be so much fun because finding something to wear that I loved was so exciting and the only thing that I considered when deciding what to wear was what I thought and how I felt in a certain outfit- this also meant that many of my outfits were highly, highly impractical but no one is going to get a kick out of living by practicality.

This ‘dressing for boys’ phenomenon is part of the reason why I absolutely love the blog turned extremely successful business, Man Repeller. I’m sure many of you know about Man Repeller already but in case you don’t it was founded by Leandra Medine in 2010 who realised that much of what she wore and saw within the fashion industry was ‘man repelling’ (to put it simply). The popularity of this blog and resonance it has with so many women represents, to me, the extent to which women do not dress for men, because much of what we wear they don’t like anyway. I feel like this is certainly the case for me and, honestly, this sometimes makes me like what I’m wearing more because it makes me feel like I have some sort of special sixth sense about just how cool a piece is. This is obviously extremely pretentious and I definitely do not have any sort of stylistic powers but I like to think that some of the more interesting pieces I own happen to be the ones that less people like.

I’ve been wanting to write a post about dressing for yourself for a while and when Jenny photographed this outfit for me, I knew these photos would be perfect for it. First of all, I am so happy with how they came out! Jenny is an incredible photographer and I’ve done a few other shoots with her before but these photos have to be my favourite yet. I think the outfit and the setting go so well together and I just love the colours in the photos. Definitely check out Jenny’s Instagram because she is brilliant!

Anyway, on to the outfit! I feel like it’s a little bit ‘man-repelling’ due to the mixture of very feminine and very masculine pieces. This dress is fairly new from Zara and I love it! I was on the hunt for a polka dot midi skirt for a while and this actually works great as a skirt and a dress as it’s a really thin material so looks great with a t-shirt layered over it, or layered under it as I’ve styled it here! The jacket is also new (my shopping habits are steadily increasing at the moment) from Topshop and I really feel like it might be the perfect faux leather jacket. I have a long-line one and a cropped one but this mid-crop style is ideal for somewhere in between and, although some might say that owning 3 faux leather jackets is excessive, I think it’s filled a gap in my wardrobe. Of course, I’m wearing my Zara woven bucket bag because it’s my absolute favourite and I think it looks great with the colours of the pinewoods. The dress and the bag are obviously the feminine aspects of the outfit and clashed with my docs- which I enjoyed styling for spring/summer here as they’re more of a winter piece normally- and the leather jacket, I think is such a cool outfit, if a little bit Marmite. I’ve linked everything I’m wearing at the bottom of this post!

I’d love to know if you feel the same way about dressing for yourself and your views on ‘man-repelling’ styling. Do you have a favourite man-repelling outfit or piece? Let me know in the comments!

Dress- Zara (for some reason, I can’t find this dress on the Zara website but I only bought it a few weeks ago so it should 100% still be in store!)

Jacket- Topshop

Shoes- Dr Marten

Sunglasses- Mango

Bag- Zara