Last night as I scrolled through my Instagram, I realised something. I’ve been working in fashion for way too long. How long is too long? Eight years, everywhere from start-ups to established luxury brands and even an eventful stint at an agency. And the indicator that I’ve been in my industry for too long? A feed which featured swathes of black, despite my natural aversion to fashion’s favourite hue. My family are Indian, I’m naturally drawn to bright, vibrant shades but it seems that over the years I’ve slowly snuck more black into my wardrobe. I realised last night that I shimmy into black outfits pretty much every morning without even realising it!
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with black. A perennial fashion favourite, it’s bold, confident, understated and chic all at the same time. Riccardo Tisci describes black as elegant and “the most complete colour in the world” while Ann Demeulemeester calls it poetic. My favourite quote is by Yohji Yamamoto; “Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy – but mysterious. But above all, black says this: I don’t bother you – you don’t bother me.”. I think of black as a sartorial comfort blanket, it’s always ambiguous and safe.
While there’s nothing wrong with black, I tend to veer towards colours and prints. I feel like they express who I am more than black does. It’s also in my genes as I alluded to earlier, Indian culture is so rich and vibrant so it feels natural to gravitate towards different colours – if you’ve never been to an Indian wedding, they look like an explosion of Starburst! So when I realised my wardrobe choices had become a little monotone, I decided to make a change.
They say you should do one thing every day that scares you. I don’t think “they” were thinking about dresses when they said this but whatever. I was stuck in a little bit of a style rut and needed to challenge myself. So when I saw a dress that I loved and hated in equal measure…I was intrigued. Very ‘Kim Kardashian at the Met Ball 2013‘ and an awkward length to boot, this dress just wasn’t “me”…on paper but maybe it could pull me out of my ‘all black everything’ phase?
When it arrived, I was even more uncertain. The print was bolder than I remembered, the fabric not as nice as it looked in the picture and when I slipped it on, I was giving off some serious ‘frumpy but trying too hard to be “cool”‘ vibes. I tried it with my Stan Smiths, channelling the nonchalant midi-with-sneakers look and it just wasn’t me, I looked like I was trying too hard. However, when I slipped my beloved lime green snakeskin heels, the look started coming together. Once I slung on my (also beloved) Off White belt, I was set. I felt less like a pretender and more like myself.
I learned two very important lessons from my little experiment which I wanted to share with you:
I initially tried to style the dress in a way that looked great on others but just didn’t feel right on me. My style is extra, not casual and breezy! Once I embraced that, the look just came together and most importantly, I felt comfortable in the outfit I styles.
STYLE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT FASHION DICTATES
While I challenged myself with a piece that confused the heck out of me, you don’t have to. If you’re not into this season’s sartorial whims, skip it.
The most important element of your style is you. Without your eye and creativity, it’s just a bunch of clothes. Channel trends, stand out but above all else, do it your way. I’ll end this post with a quote by Dave Grohl, “No one is you, and that is your power“.
Dress – ASOS
Belt – Off White (Orange, sold out in yellow)
Shoes – Brian Atwood
Photography by Adorngirl.