What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word ‘fashion’?
Do you think catwalk? Celebrity brands? European fashion houses? New York? London?
Expensive? Sustainability? Fast fashion? Not me? Bangladesh? Style? Vogue? Baggy track pants?
Everyone has a different perspective on what fashion is, what it means to them, and also which direction it is heading in the future.
And we all have our own sense of style, whether we think so or not. We wear what we feel comfortable in, in the size that we feel comfortable in, in the colour we feel comfortable in.
Sometimes we have limitations put on us, such as uniforms, social back grounds, or religions. For school, for work, for sports, for modesty.
But even with limitations, we can create our own style. Style doesn’t necessarily come from what we wear. It’s all about the HOW we wear it.
Fashion is constantly evolving and morphing into something new. It’s cyclical, however, there is always a twist, a new perspective and styling edge that is bought with it.
Take for example the ’90’s. It’s back in a big way, and is slowly morphing into something new. Mom jeans, (although, let’s be honest, they never really went away and just drifted into suburbia), Champion sweatshirts, coloured denim, fanny packs (or bum bags to those in the Southern Hemisphere), the bandana, spaghetti strap floral dresses over a white short sleeve t with Doc Martin
boots…you get the look.
I am grateful that dungarees worn backwards (thank you Kriss Kross), the petticoat worn over bootcut jeans (maybe that was just a Southern Hemisphere thing?) and beige waistcoats over a white tshirt with the sleeve cuffs turned up (thank you Brian Austin Green & Jason Donovan), have not made their way back to the streets.
Over the years, for me at least, the meaning of fashion has changed. When I was a kid I wanted to dress so that I would fit in. My favourite outfit was a pair of burgundy Adidas three stripe trackpants, a long sleeve white shirt with narrow red pinstripes and a turquoise sweatshirt. I think I may have had Bata Bullets on my feet (or stolen Kung Fu shoes from my sister – thanks Justine!).
But this was my favourite look.
During high school, my Mum was relieved that school dictated that we wear a uniform. But in our last year of high school, we could wear mufti (street clothes). This was my time to shine. I made most of my clothes. I remember my Granny gave me some cream printed cerise silk which came from Japan. Bought home by either one of her brothers or her husband. From this I made myself an ankle length shift dress and bound the neckline and armholes with cream satin bias binding. That was one of my favourite dresses.
Pride and Prejudice (the BBC adaptation, and the only one worth watching), had just been released and was a huge influence for me and still is. For our end of year prize giving, I made myself an empire line, pale pink dress with a band of rose satin under the bust. Worn over a white tshirt.
Throughout my 20’s and 30’s it was a time to experiment and find my own style. I loved colour and pattern and mixing the two. I also loved my uniform of jeans, tshirt and a cardi.
These days, I still love my uniform of jeans and a tshirt, but instead of being figure hugging, these are now more loose fitting and slouchy. And I tend to buy more mens clothing than womens.
What I have realised over the years, is that no matter what you wear, you are not what you wear, but you are how you wear it.
It’s your style, your statement of self expression and it’s never static. It’s in a constant state of flux and with so many influences impacting what we wear, I have developed a true appreciation of each individual I see.
It’s one of the reasons I love people watching.
To be inspired by others choices, silhouettes and styles.