A STORY OF BLACK AND WHITE... AND STYLING COURAGE
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They say stick with what you know and when it comes to my wardrobe, I know black and white.
When all around feels complicated, messy and tiresome, stripping it back to basics always helps. A white T-shirt with black jeans, black T-shirt with black jeans, the faithful white shirt… and the elevated white shirt for that matter. A simple black blazer, a white cotton dress, a chunky black winter sweater and a pair of jeans that whilst not pure white, are the perfect shade of just off it. These are my Can’t Go Wrong’s and Feel Just Right’s, all at the same time… and I’m pretty sure you’ve got some of them in your wardrobe too.
I wrote here about not losing my way in summer when it comes to knowing what to wear and so this year, I’ve avoided those impulse purchases that previously would always accompany the first rays of warm sunshine. After gathering some birthday money, I made a few careful decisions as to what was lacking in my wardrobe for now but would also serve across more seasons than just summer.
Step up the black cotton skirt that made me happy to wear skirts again, purchased online from COS * in June. It’s since sold out but this A Line version * is gorgeous though not quite so full is similar. This one from sibling store ARKET * is almost identical. If you looked inside my paired back wardrobe now, you’d see that a lot of the pieces that have stayed are from COS. I’ve shopped there for years and still have many things that I bought on first discovering the brand.
Ear Cuff - Missoma * | Silver Celestial Stud Earrings - Missoma * | Sunglasses - CÉLINE * | Jess Cotton Shirt [gift] - Les 100 Ciels | Leather Belt Bag - COS * | Rings - Maria Black Jewellery | Watch - Michael Kors * | Skirt - COS * sold out : similar at ARKET * | Vagabond Lori Sandals *
The shirt was a kind gift from Les 100 Ciels and I fell hard for those beautifully voluminous sleeves. A detail like that feels timeless, making it one of those pieces that has the capacity to draw a second glance because it’s more than just a white shirt. This is the kind of feel-good factor wardrobe I’ve been aiming for these last few years, although it’s taken me a long time to figure out how it translates. In part, due to my existence in the subtly coercive world of style blogging - too many distractions can lead to some “off” decisions. I know from experience.
You might argue that the belt bag is an accessory fad of the season but some fads are destined for greater things. For me it all comes down to styling courage - a stock of which I’ve been slowly acquiring over the years.
What Is Styling Courage + Why Do I Need It?
Do you ever see something in a store or online and fall in love with it? Only to then catch yourself thinking “But I can’t wear that. What would people think?” Because if it turns heads, it brings attention and opinion. Maybe divisive opinion. But really… who gives a crap? Leandra Medine built a whole platform out of the concept of man repelling so who’s winning at life in that scenario?
I grant you, the New Forest village where I live or even our nearest town might not be as ready to receive this particular bum bag and fugly sandal combination with the open mind that perhaps the streets of London might. But honestly, I no longer give a rats banana what people may (or most likely, may not) think. I dress for me.
If you want to dress to blend then blend away - some days, blending is where it’s at. I love beige more than life itself and will take it as a compliment if I’m referred to as “being” it because I wear a lot of it. But sometimes I want to be bold and indulge my fondness for a standout detail. On those days I’ll wear something for the love of it, not for the possible opinions of the masses. It’ll probably still be black and white though… or maybe beige.
Some might consider it a waste that only since mid-forties have I been attempting to exercise more styling courage. I salute you if you were born with it and have stepped out all your life, wearing what you wanted, without so much as a backward glance. For some, me included, it just takes a bit longer to get there.
I consider it to be part of the ongoing evolution of who I am. And if that means I’m Crazy Bum Bag Lady With The Clompy Sandals, then pleased to meet you! I got dressed to express… and it feels great.