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Embracing my Non-Existent Style & the Confidence that Comes with it

Ah, blogging. How I love and loathe thee for immersing me in the world of fashion; for making me find great styles and trends that I fall in love with, but for also changing overnight and making me feel self-conscious and like I'm always one step behind. Fashion has always been something I've been incredibly interested in since a young age. At secondary school going through my GCSEs, I was convinced I was going to study fashion design at university one day and the ultimate dream was to become as fantastically eclectic and grand as the queen Vivienne Westwood. I would create my own "collections" by drawing and painting various outfits, even detailing the material choices, and I even attended taster weekend courses at Northumbria University (and was pretty good at it too!). Somehow along the way I lost confidence with the idea of me pursuing a fashion-focused career and it became just something I was interested in. My mam has always been a big supporter in the "wear what you want and experiment with your style" mindset and although I think back on past outfits and cringe, I'm so pleased I was brought up with that openness and acceptance. That might sound very OTT when we're "just talking about clothes" but personal style and wearing what you want is so much more than that. It's a simple way of expressing yourself. It's an opportunity to feel the most confident in your own skin. For some, it's even the chance to pretend they're someone else. It can be a coping mechanism for many but by equal measure, it can be something people hate because of the pressures on presenting yourself well and fitting in with the status-quo. It can all be a bit of a mess to be honest.

Growing up for me was great because my mam was very open for me to wear what I wanted which was lucky for me really - I was a MySpace generation scene kid through and through so you can imagine how many pairs of stripey elbow-length gloves I owned that I would pair with clashing neon fish net tights and band tees. Back then I dressed like that because it was what was expected of my music taste - how else would someone know I listened to Alexisonfire and The Devil Wears Prada on repeat if I didn't literally wear it all on my sleeve?! As I got older, I realised that dressing to your music taste doesn't need to be a hard and fast rule and I started to dress more girly, more "boho", but also realised that actually? I don't have a set style. Not having a set style has honestly worried me for years. I, again, feel incredibly dramatic typing that but it's true - it seemed like as soon as everyone started moving into their 20s, they all knew exactly what clothes they liked, what suited them, and that was that. I was somehow steamrolling my way through Primark picking up a bit of everything then throwing it all on together like Joey when he wears all of Chandler's clothes in Friends.

(wearing: Asos Fedora Hat [old], Abercrombie & Fitch Dress via my local Hospice Charity Shop, Swedish Hasbeens Clogs)

Looking back on all those years of worry and experimentation, I don't regret any of the "stages" I went through but I do regret the pressure I put on myself to find a style and stick to it. Growing up in the peak of social media, it seems that many of us feel that we're under a watchful eye and therefore have an unreasonable and sometimes not even real expectation to live up to. I'm sure you've seen some of your favourite bloggers and YouTubers come under fire from people about this that will point out how their style has changed over the years as if it's some sort of crime and frankly, it's ridiculous. Fashion is there to enjoy and if you want to wear the same hoodie and jeans from the age of 15 until your 87, you do it. If you want to dress like a "girly girl" one day and then wear the whole Topman catalogue the next day and alternate from now until the end of time, do it. Your personal style might well be an outlet of expression, but it shouldn't define you and it certainly shouldn't pigeon-hole you and take the enjoyment out of getting dressed each day.

Now that I'm 27 (fuck me, I know) and now switched to slow fashion second-hand or sustainable shopping only for most of my wardrobe, it's given me a chance to step back and recognise a few things. It's okay that I don't have a set style. Even recently I've tried to narrow down my fashion choices and selections in an attempt to streamline my wardrobe but you know what? I just can't always do it. Sometimes I just reach for things that are out of my comfort zone. As I've already said, fashion and clothing in general is there for us to consume and enjoy and putting a label on myself takes the fun out of that for me. Don't get me wrong, I know fine well that if you saw me on most days I'd be wearing a Breton stripe top, a pair of high-rise blue skinny jeans and a pair of clogs, but I also know that some days I might be dressed in a maxi dress to rival those of Free People and then others I'll look like I've stepped straight out of a Tony Hawk's game. Fashion doesn't define you and finding the comfort in that can create so much confidence.

Thinking ahead to being 40, 60, even 80, I know that my personal style will evolve and change and maybe revert back to certain things then change once again but it's no use losing confidence over it. Think of it as a fun timeline to look back on. There's outfits on this blog that I wouldn't dare wear now and there will be countless in the future, but just being comfortable with yourself to experiment, make mistakes, and also good choices and finding what you love and feel your best in is the best thing about fashion. Live it, love it, and never let your confidence be knocked because of it.

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