Gemma Styles: Why Fashion Week Should Remind You To Be Yourself
"My aim for the future is to only buy clothes that I look at and love."
Our columnist Gemma Styles talks finding your own style.
I don’t know about you, but generally I find fashion week to be wildly intimidating. I like the idea of it - but when I see the amount of preparation and effort that goes in from everyone, not just designers, but attendees, I feel like I have no right being in the same city at the same time. I love clothes, but I wouldn’t say I’m a fashion-y person in terms of following particular trends, or even having loads of different looks for different days. I feel like I have a certain set of things that I feel comfortable in and I pretty much stick to that on a daily basis.
Honestly, this makes me feel kind of boring. Street style bloggers who have co-ordinated their entire outfits down to the hint of a visible, statement sock are like well-planned aliens to me. Not in a bad way, I think it’s amazing when people have such chameleon-esque style and are able to focus on accessories down to fine details, but walking around central London when there are shows happening it’s like… wow. I put on a patterned t-shirt and think jeez, is this a bit over the top?
In a way, though, looking around at what everyone is wearing makes me feel really happy that there is such variety in style. As much as there are things that are ‘fashionable’, I think a huge part of it, especially right now, is just finding clothes that you like and totally owning that. If you like wild, flowery prints, that’s great. If you prefer things more understated then just go with it. Looking around at catwalk shows (which are super hard to keep up with, but fascinating) there are so many things that I think are amazing… but would never wear.
This is a lesson I’ve learned in shopping over the years. When I was younger I’d just end up going round the high street and getting loads of little cheap things, definitely quantity over quality, sort of just scrambling around whatever the thing that season is. Now, I definitely try and look at things more long term - fast fashion is great and I love that bigger trends are accessible and affordable, but if there are things I think I’ll probably only wear once, or actually won’t go with any of the other things I own, maybe it’s just not worth it. If nothing else, it’s a huge environmental drain to use the resources on clothes that are just going to be thrown away or sit in the back of a wardrobe for the next three years.
I’ve often had the thought that I just need to change my entire ‘look’. Be more exciting, wear lipstick EVERY day, find a signature, stand-out thing; completely start again, clear out my whole wardrobe and just, have a different style. But realistically that is very unlikely to happen. For one thing, it’s very expensive to just get rid of all your clothes and start afresh. But for another, rebooting your style according to right now, one season, just doesn’t seem realistic. There are some seasons now where I’ll walk into a shop, look around and think, hmm, this season isn’t going to be for me. I don’t like graphic prints and they’re everywhere, so do you know what, I’m not buying them. Shopping for the sake of it, for what you think you need to wear to follow trends, is kind of exhausting, pretty wasteful and actually doesn’t help you to develop your own sense of fashion, as far as I’m concerned.
My aim for the future is to only buy clothes that I look at and love. I want to have a smaller wardrobe and like everything in it, rather than holding onto things that are perfectly nice, just not very me. If you’ve been looking at fashion week coverage and wanting to change your own style, my advice would be to at least change it to suit you, not to suit magazines, or bloggers, or Instagram styles. Take inspiration, sure, if you love a trend then absolutely go for it - but if you’re forcing your square peg into a round fashion-hole, just don’t bother! Fashion week should remind us that there is a huge variety of styles out there - and the point is to enjoy it, not copy every little piece.
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