I’ve enjoyed these posts that have been doing the rounds lately, so thought doing my own would be a great way to look back on the past 18years (eek!) to see what has changed and what I still like.
When I think back through my childhood, I probably could have started this post much earlier in history of I had enough pictures. I remember from maybe as early as 9 I wanted to try out looks that were considered more unusual at the time – bright pink tights layered under long t-shirts with a big belt, oversized leopard print jumpers worn as a dress (which my nan STILL talks about to this day) and platform shoes. At times I got bullied for wearing things that my peers weren’t and that they didn’t understand, so that really shattered my confidence from a pretty young age. To be honest, I’m not sure I have ever fully recovered from that time and regular have an unnecessary amount of stress when choosing something to wear.
Anyway, I digress, so lets get into it!
This was my last day of secondary school and I was sad about leaving some of my friends behind, which is why my eyes were red from crying. I was supposed to be in proper school uniform but managed to get away with wearing this cute printed t-shirt (it’s Suzy from Rugrats, if you can’t see it very well) which is a pretty good representation of how I usually dressed. I had loads of similar tops, and would wear them with blue jeans or combat trousers. I was also a bit of a teeny bopper fan, so most of my go-to footwear was platform trainers! My main style influences were pop stars like All Saints, so I’d try really hard to recreate their looks.
This was taken in Kings Cross station aged 19, and I was clearly unwilling to let my bag of cheesy puffs go event for a second! Though they are still my buffet crisp of choice, my appreciation for denim has wavered since then. I bought this full length denim coat from H&M and wore it all the time (my friend loved it so much she made me go with her to buy it too, there’s a picture of us floating around somewhere wearing them) as well as the printed tee underneath. That was from H&M too, and I remember I used to get loads of compliments every time I had it on.
Girls Aloud had just come on the scene and were an influence on my going out wardrobe, and my hair which you’ll see was pretty blonde at the time. I was trying to channel a bit of an edgy Kimberly Walsh mixed with Cheryl, before the days of toners and purple shampoo.
These were my repping years, when I lived in Menora for the summer months. As you can imagine, during this time my style became a pretty casual – denim mini skirts, vest tops and comfy flip flops were my uniform for days off and jeans with a nice top for nights out.
As there was literally only one high street shop (Mango) so I didn’t think about fashion to much, just about summer staples that were easy to wear. That said, for my 21st birthday I treated myself to a pair of Gucci sunglasses and jumped on the Burberry print bandwagon hard with a purse and bikini that I got as gifts. I really wish I’d have hung on to both of those now, I still have the sunnies but never wear them as they just don’t suit me.
I continued to experiment with being blonde during this time, however I’d get frustrated when it got brassy (still no toners and purple shampoos widely available, especially in Spain) so I also changed it up to reddy tones and almost black (it made me look extra pale, not my finest hour).
This was a difficult period in my life – for the first part I was living alone, pretty depressed but living my life outwardly as a happy party girl. I definitely drank and ate a lot of feelings away and it shows. The second part of this time was when I got together with the man who is now my husband, and we spent a lot of time going out and eating too because we wanted to spend all our time together (to be honest, for me this hasn’t changed much and I’m still obsessed with him).
I wore a lot of dresses around this time as that fitted in with the crowd I hung around with outside of work, though they were all slim and gorgeous and I never quite felt good enough stood next to them. One thing I did with every outfit without fail was to put a wide belt around it, as I felt that ta least showed that I had some kind of shape.
Hair wise, I kind of neglected this a little bit and stuck with the same style, including a fringe that helped to make me feel hidden when I needed to.
I got married and kind of changed my style to something I felt was a bit more demure (this wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision or one I was pushed into by anybody, just thought I should point that out). This is when my obsessing for maxi dresses took hold, as you can see I wore them all the time!
I had tried to shake up my hair for my sister-in-law’s wedding and had a bit of “Simpsons yellow” disaster which resulted in flirting with a bit of red, but that scared me into literally not changing anything much for a long time.
The end of my 20s and start of my 30s – I had successfully managed to shed almost 5st in weight after a very long battle and for the first time was feeling pretty ok about myself. This time, when I wore little dresses I wore them because I wanted to and didn’t feel as self conscious.
Shoe wise – I was either in ballet flats (which ended up really hurting my calves as they were just too flat) or sky high heels..I could barely totter along the street in them (and my town has a lot of cobbled streets near the nightlife) but that didn’t stop me!
As I was felling pretty good about myself, I jumped on the reality TV bandwagon and started wearing bandage dresses a lot.
I loved how the heavyweight fabric literally sucked and held me in which made me feel like a frickin superstar, bolstered by the numerous comments I would get on nights out. I’d do the fake tan, the lashes and what I thought was a coquettish side sweeping fringe. I still have most of these dresses now and would kill to feel as amazing as I remember I did back then.
This was the first bandage dress I ever wore, and that was a definite epiphany. I still love it so much and hope they’ll be an occasion that I can get it out for again I future.
I also felt brave enough to experiment more with print and become hooked on printed trousers. Even though I didn’t have a flat stomach, I also felt grave enough to wear the odd crop top (I breathed in so hard whenever I was stood up).
This was the year I started my blog (the above picture was actually my very first outfit post!). I was at uni and had started to become more obsessed with fashion that ever before, discovering bloggers and following celebrity style I liked, so thought I’d give it a go and combine it with my passion for writing.
As you can see, I didn’t restrict myself to one particular style! I was very trend led and influenced by a lot of celebrity endorsed brands at the time – In The Style, ILWF and Honor Gold were probably the top three.
Another major style revelation happened this year too: I bought my first pair of jeans in over 5 years! I refused to wear them when I was overweight and lived I leggings, and then I was either or bodycon dresses and wasn’t quite secure enough (even though I was pretty confident) to think I could still look good if I was more casual. If you’d ready my blog at all since this time, you’ll know that this was the start of a major obsession with the Topshop denim department…
You’ll notice that my hair was no longer just short and brown – I gave myself a blonde dip dye with a L’Oréal at home ombré kit. I loved it so much! This may have been my fave hair to date, though recreating it a few years on has been tricky as my hair has no reacted well to bleach at all.
My confidence and trying everything grew a lot during this year; I almost feel like I was finally able to express myself the way 9 year old Jenny always wanted to. I developed a hefty collection of over the knee boots that I wore whenever I had chance, and really enjoyed my year in fashion. I started shopping at a lot of the newer online stores and trying some of the looks I’d seen the insta-famous girls, I might not have pulled them off in quite the same way, but I was happy with the result most of the time.
This was a bit of a funny year – I was back in work, establishing myself in a new career and going on lots of trips, which was really exciting and enjoyable. On the other hand, being back in a desk job and not having all the time in the world to concentrate on my health and fitness, which meant that I gained back some of the weight I’d worked so hard to lose and keep off for years. That knocked my confidence, but I still fit in most of my clothes so carried on experimenting with different looks (though definitely laid off the crop tops!)
One thing that did make this more difficult this year was that a lot of my favourite brands sneakily changed their sizing…that’s right, I saw you! Whereas I would have been a 10 the year before I noticed that I would now need a 12, sometimes bigger. Had I been of a stronger mindset I may have shrugged this off, but at the time I felt as if I may as well not have made an effort to be fitter and healthier to be told by a society I desperately wanted to be accepted by that I was still above their perfect standard. From realising this, my fashion post, and then blog posts overall, became less.
You will be hard pushed to find any picture of me on social media that I’ve posted this year. Even on Facebook, where I will share more candid with my friends, there are very few that I’ve shared as I just cringe every time I see them. Thanks to a challenging end to 2016 and start to 2017, I gained even more weight and just couldn’t fit into any of my old clothes. There have been times where I’ve tried to just front it out and post anyway, but it’s just not me and it makes me so sad to look at.
I think this is why I’ve embrace bardot tops so much, because they can show of my shoulder area which still looks ok, but hides the other bits I like a lot less. Even my hair is cringing at me at seems – I worked really hard with Chelsea tocreate a beautiful hair colour and style, but it just ended up being a frizzy mess, so I’ve resorted to (yes, you’ve guessed it) a brown bob.
I think it’s become clear whilst writing this post that my style has evolved based on my state of mind and is heavily influenced by the opinion of others, which is a sad realisation.
I’ve always been a huge advocate of “positivity dressing” – I subscribe to the philosophy of looking good on the outside can impacnon how you feel on the inside. I may not 100% brilliant about my outsides right now (or even 50% at times) but that doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t look good just because I’m a different size. I just need to get that mindset back; I’m not exactly sure how to do that, so any suggestions are welcome!
Throughout writing, this post has evolved from something I (and probably you when you read the intro) thought would be quite fun and light-hearted, but became so much more than that and a little bit deep. If you’ve read until this end point, thank you for sharing share my journey with you.