As far as i’m concerned in my personal style, if you’re going to even consider dressing up, you should just outright go for it. I’ve never been one for subtlety. What’s the point in buying an amazing dress if you’re going to pair it down with black accessories so you don’t stand out too much? There’s no such thing as too much. If it’s you’re personal style, and if you love it, you should just go for it.
Why shouldn’t we wear gowns in every day formal occasions? Why shouldn’t we wear fascinators and hats and skyscraper heels all the time? I suppose we don’t because of the looks everyone else will give us, but where’s the harm in that really? Real fashion and style is a form of self expression and almost art in it’s own right. No art-form is more personal than one which we adorn ourselves in.
Maybe it’s all got something to do with western culture. In places such as Japan expressing yourself for your style is a lot more socially acceptable it seems, especially with their massive subcultures such as gothic lolita style, Harajuku and Kigurumin, so is the reason we don’t dress to our full potential most of the time because we’re not brave enough to face ridicule in popular society? Western celebrities have certainly been encouraging us though, people such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, but perhaps they aren’t taken seriously themselves or imitated because their style is created to cause controversy.
But it’s not just that, coming from the UK I struggle to find the sort of clothing that I want to wear, the high-street has almost ran any unique clothing lines out of business, I depend heavily on the occasional good design from high-street shops, and a handful of independent boutiques, and if I want something more, I have to pay huge shipping costs from the USA or Asia, which is something my budget doesn’t always stretch to! The only way I could really save money and maintain the style I love is to learn to sew better, but from recent attempts I know I can’t match the quality of more experienced craftspeople.
I guess the general advice people give is to trawl car-boot sales, vintage shops and fairs and charity shops, but with people becoming ever more conscious of fashion it’s getting harder to find a cheap deal, vintage fairs are getting overcrowded and the good stuff is being snapped up quick. I even used to work in a charity shop, and everyone is trained to check for better clothing labels. Designer finds are often sent off to auction sites rather than put in the shop.
My advice? I spent a lot of time buying items from various phases of style in my life, and now a lot don’t suit me, by developing your personal style and knowing what you love and what suits you, you can save yourself a lot of costly mistakes! Use Ebay, Amazon and Etsy to create wishlists of your dream items, then spend some time really considering what items would be good investments and what items you want more than anything else, this way you cut down on impulse buys! Use Polyvore too, it’s a style website that let’s you create collages of outfits; obviously it’s better if you buy items that go together, rather than holding onto a few things that you will never actually be able to style. And finally, if it’s a designer item you’re craving, watch like a hawk for high-street and eBay imitations, they happen often, and cost less than half the price.
Building up a good wardrobe is sadly a long term project! As long as you buy high-quality, you’re going to have some things that will last a life time, especially if you take care of them (don’t neglect things which should be hand-washed or dry-cleaned!), use good sturdy storage and protect from dust, and voila! Your wardrobe will be a vintage masterpiece in fifty years if you’re careful, and you can pass it down to your children, so they can be unique too! (Or joke about how weird you dressed in your day).
Guest Post by Kirstie-Ann Pimbblet from UK alternative fashion blog Petit Papillon De Nuit