When I look in the mirror without my face on I barely recognise myself; I don’t know who she is, but she isn’t me. She’s a quiet, unassuming woman with bland features who could melt away into a crowd. I never wanted that, and I go to an amount of trouble not to have to put up with it. I always feel like I should look the same on the outside as I do on the inside. I take a similar approach to interior design: I’m currently in the process of renovating the place I intend to live for at least the foreseeable future and perhaps for the rest of my life, about which more later.
I am not some paragon of body positivity. I have my quirks and my foibles; there are things I don’t like about myself, things that make me uncomfortable, things that I go to great efforts to change or conceal. All the same, though, I know how to put a face and an outfit together and I wouldn’t want to look like anyone else. I’ve lost some weight recently, and it’s always strange when people give awkward compliments: “Gosh, you’ve really lost weight! You look amazing!”
Bitch, I always looked amazing.
This is sort of an experiment. I wanted to share some of what clothes and makeup and jewellery mean for me, and the best way to do that seemed to be to spend a few weeks making posts like this. I’m not going to do it indefinitely – it would get monotonous for you all after a while – but I thought I’d try for a bit.
Thursday was one of those lovely days that felt summery without being too hot, which is definitely my preferred mode of summer. The skirt is new – this was the first time I’d worn it – and comes from Yours Clothing, the company that accounts for about 86% of everything I’ve been wearing recently. The top I’ve had for about a million years, and was a hand-me-down from my old boss back when I used to work in Cambridge when I was eighteen or so. The shirt was inherited from my ex-mother-out-law, back when I used to live in Edinburgh.
Not clearly pictured are my trusty FitFlop mary-janes, without whom nothing, and my customary huge tangle of jewellery. I had my hematite pendant and earrings on, both from a little jeweller’s in Glastonbury, and all my usual rings and bracelets – they probably merit a post of their own sometime, actually, as they have a reasonable amount of personal significance.
I’m experimenting with how I want to do these photos – it’ll probably take me a couple of posts to get it right. I went out on Friday night, which of course meant two outfits and two faces. During the day I wore my lovely witchy tunic top from Domino Dollhouse, who I wholeheartedly recommend for gorgeous, interesting plus-size clothes with good customer service. I’ve also got on one of my many pairs of Yours leggings (I told you Yours would be a theme here) and another of my many pairs of FitFlops. I’m a creature of habit, really. I’m never sure how good I look with my hair up, but if I wash it in the morning and let it dry like that all day it’s a lot easier to get some decent volume into it for going out in the evening.
I tried and tried to get photographs of my Friday night outfit that did justice to how incredible my cleavage looked, but I failed miserably. It was, indeed, an unjustifiable cleavage. The dress and belt are both yet more Yours acquisitions; the unpictured shoes are the black patent FitFlop ballerinas I wear when I’m going out but don’t want to be in heels. The earrings are from Glastonbury, and the necklace was a Christmas present from a friend a couple of years back. Much credit goes to this fabulous bra, which was part of my recent Debenhams bra haul – I’ve felt a million times better in everything I’ve worn since I got them!
This outfit, incidentally, was in aid of the first installment of the new Late Night Library Club, who hosted an event inspired by Tipping the Velvet in a National Trust house in Hackney. It was a good night, helped along by far too many delicious gin and elderflower cocktails.
Believe it or not, on Saturday I wore neither anything from Yours nor a pair of FitFlops. I know, right? I was at an excellent wedding, having a marvelous time despite being somewhat overdressed for the weather. This dress was from Evans, and was aided and abetted in making me look a bit like Morticia by the most industrial underwear known to womankind, which…I did buy from Yours, actually, but it’s by Maidenform. I’m sad that I failed to get a photo of my incredible shoes, which are from Red Or Dead and look like high-heeled liquorice allsorts with bows on. I found the cat-eye sunglasses in Spitalfields Market last summer, because why the hell not.
I take a pretty consistent approach to special event makeup, which is roughly speaking “stand in front of a mirror trowelling M.A.C over my face until it starts to feel a bit funny”. It generally pays off, though – I still looked pretty much like that at 3am!
To finish up the week, here I am in my hotel room the morning after the wedding just before meeting the bride, groom and assorted friends who were also still in town for a lovely sociable brunch. Dress and leggings by Yours, mary-janes by FitFlop, hangover by Bombay Sapphire.
One of the things I’ve noticed while putting this post together is quite how much chronicling what I wear is the same thing for me as chronicling what I do. My clothes are a crucial part of the way I live my life; I put thought into every outfit, even on days when it’s just me and the cats drifting around an empty house. This probably makes me godawfully vain, of course, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot over the past year as I’ve had the opportunity to expand my wardrobe a bit and experiment with a few new looks. There’s probably some feminist theory in here somewhere.