Friday, 25 March 2016

Transitional Dressing is Actually the Best

It's spring, chronologically speaking. Meteorologically speaking, it's somewhere around mid October, with the exception of a few anomalous actual March days scattered here and there. So what in the name of Michael Fish are we supposed to wear? A midi skirt, bare legs and ankle boots (a transitional style guide favourite) just won't cut it when we're still sitting comfortably in single figures, but a winter coat feels like accepting defeat. The answer to this twice yearly style dilemma is one of my favourite words in the fashion lexicon: layers.

Sometimes (last weekend) I take layers to the extreme and have to remove one in the nearest fitting room I can find but that only goes to demonstrate their body temperature regulating qualities. If you're wearing one big jumper, you're pretty much stuck with it but if you're wearing layers you can add and remove to your heart's content throughout the day.

In the outfit below, my layers were fourfold: a vest top, a turtle neck, a jumper and a jacket. As it turned out, four was the magic number for a spring-in-the-sun-winter-in-the-shade kind of day.

Jacket: Topshop, Jumper: Vintage: Turtle neck: H&M, Jeans: Monki, Shoes: ASOS / Bag: Monki, Bracelet: Vintage

The weather might be in the midst of an identity crisis, but transitional dressing means we can dress exactly as we want without bowing to the whims of extreme conditions. For those few sweet in-betweeny months, we can wear clothes that aren't 1. the only thing that won't induce sweat patches or 2. the only thing that will keep frostbite from claiming the extremities. We can wear the jackets that are too heavy for summer and too light for winter. We can wear cropped trousers with footwear that isn't ankle boots. We can wear our favourite top without it disappearing under the coat we're sick of seeing in the mirror every day. We can wear pleats without the fear of gale force winds whipping up a scandal. Despite the bad rap, it turns out transitional dressing is actually the best.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Flouting the Rules

Women have an endless list of rules to contend with when it comes to what is deemed suitable for them wear. Legs or cleavage, never both. Dress for your shape. Dress for your age. Less is more. Cover up your 'flaws'. Complement your colouring. There are worst dressed lists and self proclaimed fashion police but if there's one area in particular that I can't even begin to give a semblance of a shit about, it's whether or not men find my outfits appealing.

Jumpsuits, big sunglasses, strapless tops, baggy clothes, high waisted jeans, extra high heels, shoulder pads, harem pants and maxi dresses. These, and more, can be found in any given 'Clothes You Love That Men Hate' article. The internet is awash with listicles and blog posts which catalogue every item that men, apparently, hate and I read them so you don't have to. 

Background pattern: Laura Redburn, Sunglasses: Le Specs, Blazer: Bottega Veneta. Top: MSGM, 
Shoes: Sophia Webster, Jeans: Marni, Jumpsuit: Isa Arfen

The men (and a few women, disappointingly) who write these pieces of hot, hot garbage position themselves as experts in the field. Old sages, weary of putting up with women's insistence on wearing whatever they like, fighting the battle for men everywhere who, clearly, know what's good for us. Don't we want to look attractive to men? Why are we selling ourselves short? If only we would just stop wearing clogs (another one for you) these men would probably even ask us out. And wouldn't that be a treat?

"Men know best how a woman needs to dress because men fantasise about women all the time!", is a real life quote which actually featured in an article entitled 'What Men Want Women to Wear'. Even if you've not read that particular article, the quote may well sound familiar. Why? Because women are constantly dictated to on the subject of what they should and shouldn't do with their bodies. 

We face a constant battle for our own bodily autonomy. Our reproductive rights are subject to endless debate; dangerously chipped away at by those who 'know best'. We are told not to drink too much, not to walk home alone, not to be bossy. Don't sleep around, you'll get a bad reputation. Don't swear, it's unladylike. Don't be too opinionated, you'll sound aggressive. 

Telling a woman what to wear is simply another form of restricting her choices and expecting her to take the male perspective into account before she acts. Stories abound of schoolgirls, in America in particular, being sent home from school or homecoming dances, because their outfits were deemed 'distracting'. Not just to the male students but to the male teachers and chaperons. Should a young girl be expected to assume responsibility for an older man's misplaced, misguided and inappropriate desire? In a similar vein, barely a day goes by when the issue of whether a woman's outfit means she's 'asking for it' isn't debated; polarising opinions flying between the yes and no camps. To clear things up the answer is, of course, no. 

To dress only for yourself is to shake off the weight of expectation. The expectation of being considered palatable, appropriate, attractive. I simply can't muster the energy to care whether my outfit makes me appealing to the opposite sex. Maybe baggy trousers make me look masculine or my jumpsuit makes me look like an overgrown baby (a recurring line in the aforementioned articles) but I am the only one tasked with wearing it, so what anyone else thinks of it is entirely irrelevant. 

The amount of fucks I give about trying to impress a man who thinks he has a right to regulate my wardrobe is perilously close to plummeting into minus figures. Plus, for all their opinions on our wardrobes, I have serious doubts as to whether these men have truly reached sartorial virtuosity, as their over confidence when it comes to doling out unsolicited fashion advice suggests. For every pair of mom jeans there is a pair of cargo shorts; for every strapless top is a deep v; for every pair of extra high heels is a pair of pointed shoes paired with bootleg jeans. Perhaps it's time for a hearty rebuttal? Suggestions welcome.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Editorial: 'Dusk' for WRPD

I've been sitting on this editorial since it was shot last July, waiting (im)patiently for it to be published. Worth the wait, though, as it features in WRPD Magazine's debut issue which is full to bursting with thoughtful, considered content which bridges the gap between art and fashion.

Shot on a beautiful summer evening, we had to navigate our way through the herds of sheep, past a pack of wandering cub scouts, up hills and rocky paths, across streams and over gates, all with a full kit. Luckily Izzy's beautifully serene face belies all of said physical exertion. Scroll on for the full editorial...