I talked on a recent podcast about personal style and wanted to share more about it. Sadly - or perhaps fortunately! - there are very few pictures from my youth that I have available to share, so you're going to have to use your imaginations here!
I was never super into style and make-up as a teenager - I spent my money on crafts and books. I had no idea where to start with foundations or eyeshadows and there was no YouTube to give me a guiding hand.
What that has left me with is total comfort with going bare-faced, a love of quick and simple make-up and a fascination with bold looks.
Essentially I was a tomboy. I have a very vivid memory of buying a jar of Dream Matte Mousse in Boots and being bemused by it - it was hideous to use and looked even worse on - why would anyone even bother?! So I didn't.
There was a brief tussle with Wonderbras and skintight tops in college - who needs to be subtle at 17? - but by the time uni rolled round, I was enjoying a style renaissance, characterised by floral dresses, coloured tights and boots, with a hoodie tossed over the top (lest anyone think I was trying too hard).
That was a look that stuck for a while. Joe Brown's was a favourite, I was a sucker for cowboy boots and if I saw a cropped cardy on sale, I'd snap them up in every colour. Throw in the denim mini with leggings combo and you have an idea of where I was style-wise. I was also absolutely dedicated to bobbed hair - why is utterly beyond me...
(Literally - this is the worst haircut! Why did anyone let me do this?!)
The tomboy raised its head again for a while afterwards - I got really into howies, lived in their jeans and tshirts (I had quite the collection!) and Converse. Basically I was Taylor Swift in You Belong With Me (with less cool hair).
That period feels a little like now. It was easy, I wasn't drawing any attention, but I was actually only happy with my 'look' when I was going out dancing. Meaning - when I made an effort instead of throwing on any old thing and claiming I just didn't care.
Unsurprisingly, the following look was a complete 180. I embraced a slightly more retro style - my
daily go-to was a good base and strong eyebrows, topped off with a strong lip whenever I was 'dressing up'. I'd pop my hair in a fishtail plait or wear it down when I wasn't trying and my going-out hair was the Veronica Lake bedhead fringe.
I reached for layered clothing - denim shirts belted over cute dresses, cardigans over skinny jeans and my old faithful, a bright pink vintage A-line skirt that I felt the bomb in.
I felt lush - gorgeous and powerful and so perfectly myself.
That was my look when I met Rich, but over the past couple of years, I've... stopped. Currently I have a lot of jeans and leggings, plain tops and straight up and down tunics. I wouldn't really describe my look as anything right now. Directionless, drab and - frankly - boring. I made the huge mistake of cutting off all my hair back in June, but am making the best of it by taking the opportunity to grow out my fringe and have now henna'd it brunette to jazz it up a bit while it grows back.
It's funny isn't it, how easy it is to dismiss our outward appearance as frivolous, something to worry about when we have the time and the money. But it isn't at all - the way you look when you look in the mirror is important. I want to be happy with what I see - I think everyone deserves to be happy with what they see in the mirror.