Learning To Dress For Me, Nobody Else

Don’t we have such a funny relationship with clothes? Garments we choose to fundamentally keep us warm say so much about us and take over so much of our lives; we spend so much money updating our wardrobes and so much time pondering over why we never have anything to wear (despite drawers bursting at the seams,) but ‘fashion’ is essentially just an imaginary concept of arbitrary perimeters that changes practically every season. Traveling from one country to another can see what’s hot and what’s not totally be turned on its head; feeling high fashion in one city can quite easily leave you feeling like a donut in the next, hunting around for quick purchases you can make to ‘fit in’ with the local culture. What works on Instagram doesn’t always translate to a rural community in Africa, and what’s hot on a beach in the Maldives may seem a bit OTT on the Costa Del Sol. Many of us rush out to stock up on tassel earrings, oversized jumpers and circle bags, with far too much emphasis placed on what we’re wearing rather than who we are as a person.

I’ve always been obsessed with fashion, even if I don’t fit the traditional mould of fashionista. From the youngest of ages I’d spend hours flicking through glossy magazines and pinpointing what was going to be the hottest looks, colours or styles of the season; I prided myself on being the one who knew what accessories were on-trend and which colours and shapes we should be wearing according to Vogue. Although I never had a desire to study, design or work in fashion, it’s something I’ve always enjoyed – because putting on those fancy garms of a morning can help me feel like my best self.  They give me the confidence to go about my day and walk with a spring in my step, to speak to people with ease and to give me a boost when I’m feeling low. Although I’ve never been a slave to what’s hot, I’ve certainly worn items that do nothing for me (or are incredibly uncomfortable) just because it’s supposedly cool. 

I know that what I wear doesn’t define me, but I certainly can still enjoy it. The biggest lesson for me since hitting my thirties is learning to dress for me – nobody else. It’s easy to get swept up in what you *should* be wearing, rather than what you *want* to wear, and to be honest most of the time I just want to wear jeans and a jumper. I want to be cosy and comfortable, knowing I spend most of my days sat in front of a laptop or crawling around on the floor taking flatlays, but that doesn’t mean my cosy jumper can’t be bright yellow or my trainers cann’t be adorned with glitter and gems. A few years ago I would’ve felt self concious stepping out in statement earrings or wearing sparkly shoes, but in all honesty – now I couldn’t give a toss. Because if I want to wear it and I feel good in it, it’s a done deal. 

‘Saving things for best’ has always been a problem of mine too. How many
of us have a tendency to buy something because we’ve fallen in love
with it, only to place it carefully in the wardrobe awaiting the perfect
occasion for its outing? And how many times has said garment sat there
for months on end, rather than being enjoyed and loved and worn like it
was intended? My mantra has become very much ‘screw it’ and I’m far more
accustomed to getting comments along the lines of ‘you look nice, going
somewhere?’ when I’m literally off out to Starbucks via Wilkos or popping over to the in-laws for tea. But you
know what, clothes are important to me and if I stand a little bit
taller and feel a little bit chattier when wearing a lacey dress and
leopard print mules, then I’m gonna do it.

I’ve developed a bit of a reputation for often being a little bit
overdressed and always wearing inappropriate footwear (last weekend I
was watching rugby wearing green suede loafers and a ruffle LBD,) but it
makes me feel fabulous and interesting. Fashion for me is kind of all
or nothing – I’m either in that jeans and jumper uniform, or I’m fully
styled up and accessorized even if the only thing on the agenda is a
lunch date. It’s liberating to open my cupboards and find something to make me feel good, rather than worrying about whether it’s super fashionable or whether I’ll fit in. I honestly don’t care if I’m dressed for the races when everyone else is dressed for a drink down the local, and that’s probably one of the best things to have come out of getting older.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is this: fashion is supposed to be enjoyed, so enjoy it. In whatever form that comes.

George at ASDA WonderFit Jeans | £20.00 | LINK

Zara Nude Pearl Detail Top | £18.00 | SIMILAR HERE

Office Finland Glitter Trainers | £45.00 (NOW £24.00) | LINK

ASOS Parka Jacket | £75.00 (NOW £56.00) | LINK

Mint Velvet Pink Scarf | £45.00 (NOW £15.00) | LINK

Aldo Rose Gold Sunglasses | £12.00 | LINK
River Island Tassel Earrings | £12.00 | LINK
Marc Jacobs Burgandy Bag | £190.00 | SIMILAR HERE

SHOP THE LOOK 

Photos Taken By Kaye Ford: www.fordtography.co.uk

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8 Comments

  1. Alison Harriman
    February 28, 2018 / 9:47 am

    Good article! I like how you don't once mention age or dress size. Personal style is just that, personal. If you feel good in it, wear it! By the way, love the sparkly sneakers with the parka! A combo I would never thought of.

    • Hayley Hall
      February 28, 2018 / 10:43 am

      It's so often assumed fashion is for the young or super slim, and it's not true – it's for all. Some of the most stylish and fashion forward women I know (and follow) are in their 40s/50s or plus sized. That's what I love… It's about what you make it and how you enjoy it. And glad you like the combo!!

  2. Danish Pastry
    February 28, 2018 / 11:40 am

    I so agree on not saving things for best, it's certainly how I like to dress, with maybe the exception of heels (they're not practical for me on a day to day basis). A silk blouse with jeans, or a posh dress with sneakers and a biker, for me it's about balance. I do think people's style improves with age, we get to know what suits us, what mistakes to avoid and, maybe most importantly, what we feel good in.

    • Hayley Hall
      March 1, 2018 / 10:20 am

      Yes absolutely – it's all about what we feel good in. (I'm with you on the heels though, they rarely come out!) I love mixing up really dressy things with trainers or biker jackets, the contrast just seems to work.

  3. Danielle Alexa
    February 28, 2018 / 6:23 pm

    I never save things for best, I just wear things as and when I want to wear this and when I feel like it!Danielle xxhttp://www.fashionbeautyblog.co.uk/

  4. Pam Scalfi
    March 1, 2018 / 8:30 am

    I need to start wearing what I buy more quickly. I am victim of saving things for a later date and sometimes and I just forget about them!Love those shoes, so sparkly!Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

    • Hayley Hall
      March 1, 2018 / 10:20 am

      I used to be the same! I'd always discover unworn things six months later when they were out of season; it's so easy to do though!

  5. Rosa Fairfield
    March 6, 2018 / 5:14 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and you’re such an inspiration to me. Dressing should totally be about what you want to wear over what you should wear.http://ohduckydarling.com

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