f you read part one of my style evolution, then:
a) Congratulations for getting through all of that: you’re my new hero.
b) You might recall that I’d spent most of my life wandering aimlessly through the fashion wasteland, shamelessly copying whoever happened to cross my path, and with no real “style” of my own. It was pretty dire, really. Now, I’d LIKE to be able to tell you that all of that changed when I finally shook off the shackles of my corporate job, and started being able to buy clothes that actually reflected my personality, but you all know me better than that by now, right? I’m going to skip a few years here, because they were years in which nothing much happened, style-wise: in fact, when I got out the hard-drive I store all my old photos on, and looked at the years between 2003 – 2008, all I had were a few holiday snaps, most of which feature me in the same pair of cut-off shorts. In 2008, however, photos of my outfits start to pop up too, and there’s one simple reason for that:
I discovered fashion blogging.
Or outfit blogging, rather. I was already pretty familiar with fashion blogging – I even freelanced for a couple of fashion blogs, as it happens. Back then, though, “fashion” blogs were mostly centred around fashion-with-a-capital-F: the kind of thing you see on runways, and in style magazines. Around about 2008, though, I came across the wonderful world of personal style blogs: blogs written by “ordinary” women (By which I simply mean “people who weren’t involved in the fashion industry”), who were documenting their outfits every day by taking a quick photo, and then posting it on their blogs.
I was absolutely fascinated by this. Even if the outfits themselves weren’t anything out of the ordinary, I still found it so interesting to see what people were wearing, how they were putting their outfits together, and so on and so forth. I actually became slightly obsessed with reading those early fashion blogs: they were much more “rough and ready” than the blogs you see today, but they were totally REAL, which was what made them so compelling to me. Most of the bloggers I followed would post every single day, so you really started to feel like you “knew” them, and I’d find myself looking forward to seeing what everyone would be wearing, and being totally amazed by the fact that there were people in the world who just wore whatever they wanted, without worrying about whether they would “fit in” or look like everyone else. Imagine!
Despite my total fascination with these outfit blogs, though, I still had absolutely no intention of starting posting photos of myself. I mean, THE VERY THOUGHT! By that point, you see, I’d started Forever Amber: but Forever Amber was a PERSONAL BLOG, not an OUTFIT BLOG, STUPID. I had this weird idea that I wasn’t “allowed” to post outfit photos here, because MY blog was all about WORDS, and seriously, how weird would it be if I suddenly started posting photos of myself? SO weird. Like, my readers would all hate me for it, and then they’d all unsubscribe, and that would be that: my blogging career totally ruined, and all because of one stupid selfie.
I still TOOK the selfies, though. In March of 2008, for instance, I had a dress made for a wedding I was going to. I wrote about the dress on my blog, and I even got Terry to take some photos of me in it when it arrived (Er, for some reason I seemed to think it would be a good idea for him to take these photos while hovering near the ceiling?):
(There are some better photos of this dress here, by the way, just in case you’re wondering…)
What I DIDN’T do, however, was post these photos on my blog: and not just because they’re blurry, terrible, and I’m look like I really need to pee in them. No, I didn’t post them – even although I’d made a big ol’ deal about having the dress made – because it honestly didn’t occur to me that anyone would want to see them. Because NOT A FASHION BLOG, remember? Only fashion bloggers were allowed to post outfit shots (or so I believed), so I kept on taking photos, but I didn’t actually show them to anyone.
My newfound interest in personal style blogs, though, brought about a newfound interest in… well, personal style, really, and it also helped give me the courage to start experimenting a little. I still wasn’t totally sure what my style really was at that point, so I found myself alternating between retro dresses, and a more classic jeans + blazer or jeans + trench look. Er, pretty much like I do NOW, actually. So, yeah, my style stopped evolving in 2009, basically: the end!
Here are some other photos from that year:
I was very, very serious about all of this, as you can see. Much more serious than befits someone who’d carefully applied fake tan to her body, but not to her face: D’OH! (That was my very first Collectif dress, by the way: it was too big for me, so I just whacked on that red belt and wore it anyway…)
In 2010, I finally worked up the courage to start posting photos of myself on the internet, although I still didn’t post them here, because STILL NOT A FASHION BLOG, HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO SAY IT? Instead, I came up with the idea of doing a year-long Shoe Challenge, over at ShoeperWoman – the idea being that I’d attempt to wear every pair of shoes I owned at least once within the space of that year, and document each outfit on the blog. (Don’t laugh: it seemed like a good idea at the time…) At the end of that year, though, I was invited to join Dressember, which was yet another fashion challenge: this one being to wear a dress every day during the month of December. I went on holiday to Tenerife that month, but I was so into the idea that I diligently kept taking photos every day, and here are a few of them:
Looking back, this was the year I really date my current style from. (It was also the year I discovered fake tan, my go-to messy bun updo, and that awesome white wall, which I revisited earlier this year. It was quite a year, 2010…) It was the year I stopped worrying so much about being over-dressed, or just “different” from the people around me, and started wearing the clothes I WANTED to wear, rather than desperately trying to fit in all the time.
I actually still own all of the dresses shown in the 2010 photos, which either tells me that I know what I like, or that it’s time for a change, depending on how you want to look at it. The fact that I haven’t worn any of them in a while, though, tells me that my style is still evolving, albeit a lot more slowly – I’m not sure where it’ll end up, but I do know I’ll probably keep on documenting it on some way or another: so maybe in another ten years time I’ll post part 3 of this series – and, in the meantime, I’ll just cross my fingers and hope you’ll all still stick around to read it!
[*No puppies. Sorry.]