So let’s talk about fashion… and more importantly, fashion blogs, shall we? I admit of late I have found myself drawn to them, seeking out inspiration for expressing my own style, seeing what kind of layouts I like, what kind of things people talk about and how they present themselves, what their clothing choices say about their personalities.
I admit I have been so fully entrenched in interior design blogs for such a long time that looking at fashion blogs was never part of my day-to-day. Suddenly here I am trying to do something with fashion on my own blog and I sort of thought, ‘what the hell am I even doing?’ (It’s possible you may be thinking the same, dear reader, which genuinely is okay – I promise we’ll figure it out together). So I thought I’d dip into another niche of blog, get to know some of the bigger, more well-known names and see if there were things I could perhaps learn or be inspired by…
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One thing became very clear very quickly. The biggest and most successful fashion bloggers out there are pretty much all white, all skinny, all roughly in their 20s. They are all incredibly beautiful as well, with professional styled shots that look more out of the pages of a fashion editorial than a blog. And I suppose you can say the same for interior design blogs – some of the biggest and well known are more magazines than they are snippets of peoples real lives so I do get it. But it also felt somewhat intimidating. Where was the diversity?
I had to dig much deeper and found a host of other another kind of fashion blogs. Plus-size bloggers are quite popular at the moment as well – women who do not give one solitary shit that they aren’t the size 0 ‘ideal’ and strut their stuff in whatever they like. A welcome relief from all the pretty perfection, absolutely, but I still felt like there should be more.
I looked – I really did – to find bloggers like me. Women who weren’t in the prime of youth, women who weren’t plus-sized nor a size 0 either. I wear between a 10 and a 12 myself but finding successful fashion bloggers around those sizes was like the proverbial needle in a haystack. I did find some older fashion bloggers, of course, but many of them are slip thin with wonderful envy-inducing figures, all lithe yoga bodies or tall and lean runner types. The truly successful fashion bloggers who fell outside of what society or the media might consider ‘the ideal’ were out there but they were few and far between.
And so I guess I had to decide that perhaps I’m not as well-represented as I thought I’d be. Maybe it’s strange to be a short 40-something Latina and a size medium who still likes to be fashionable and fun. And maybe based on my research, I will never be quite as successful at this lark as others who fit a more narrow version of ‘ideal’. Perhaps I just need to ignore all that and carve my own path. I posted this on Instagram the other day and it seemed to resonate with enough people so perhaps it will you too.
I accepted long ago that I am not what you might consider conventionally beautiful – I’m a short curvy Latina with chunky thighs and wide hips. I’m over the age of 40 which, according to the media, I should really just crawl into a corner somewhere and die because my best days are behind me. Yes, I have wrinkles, yes, my body sags in places it used to be firm. I may not be the most fashionable, I may not be tall or thin or beautiful or have perfectly symmetrical features. But I am often reminded of the words, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see.’ And maybe if we all saw more women of all ages, more women who weren’t conventionally beautiful by Instagram standards who seemed to be happy in their own skin and who seemed to be pretty damn confident in their own version of beauty, then we’d all start to realise that perhaps this incredibly narrow version of what is “acceptable” is actually a crock of shit. So yeah, screw the “perfect” version of beauty. Here’s my version. It’s all I’ve got to work with and I’m tired of the media and Instagram telling me it’s not good enough. There are plenty of amazing women who are breaking the mould on Instagram and I kind of fancy joining them. How about you? What’s your version of beautiful? . . . Top: @riverisland / Jeans & Boots: @asos / Jacket: @missguided / Bag: @dorothyperkins / Sunglasses: @hm . . . #beautyatanyage #40plusstyle #iwillwearwhatilike #40plusblogger #40plusandfabulous #fashionover40 #ukblogger #over40fashionista #overforty #aw17 #aw17style #aw17fashion #stylediary #outfitoftheday #outfitideas #over40style #styledbyme #lookoftheday #fashiongram #leopardprinteverything #ootddaily #over40andfabulous #currentlywearing #ukblogger #ukbloggerstyle #lovedp
I was in London last week for the judging day at the Amara Interior Blog Awards. I rented a lovely little apartment for the day and evening, figuring I’d make the most of my short visit and whilst there, figured I’d do a little shoot. I’m still too awkward to go out and shoot outfits in public. You have to forgive me for that, I’m sure I’ll get over it at some point but baby steps here. I feel like I need to get comfortable in front of the camera myself before I feel comfortable in front of a camera that someone else (likely a professional who I’ve had to fork out money to hire) is holding.
And so with this big breezy flat all to myself with insane views over Tower Bridge and great lighting (unlike my own home), we have the result of my little self-photoshoot. Now, I got a top in River Island recently and simply fell in love with it. So I did what any other sane person would do when they find a top they fall in love with – I ordered it in another colour as well.
Two tops that are identical with the only difference in the colour could prove challenging. Can I make them look different enough so that other people wouldn’t notice? Well, I figured I’d give it a shot.
Now my normal uniform for ‘bottoms’ is skinny jeans. Well, that and yoga pants when I’m home on my own (which is pretty often, let’s be honest) and luckily this top pairs really nicely with jeans. The top itself is a bit more fitted in the body but with very on-trend puffy sleeves and a lovely long pleated bottom that flares out over the hips, it really does hide all manner of sins.
With the white top, I paired it with faded ‘fashionably ripped’ skinny jeans with my new favourites – a pair of shiny red heeled boots from Zara. They are insanely comfortable these shoes and with red being the fashion favourite of the moment, I think they’ll do me well for the coming year.
I also chose a small cream and gold cross-body bag from Mango which echoes my dream designer handbag – the Chloe Nile bag which I can’t even begin to afford – but the look is very similar and the light colour is just beautiful and surprisingly versatile. I get compliments on it every time I wear it out.
For the mustard yellow top, I slung on the faux leather jacket from Missguided that I purchased 2 autumns ago (this one is very similar). For faux leather, it’s still in great shape and I love the gold hardware on it. It just looks far more expensive than what I paid for it. I feel a bit like a badass in it as well which is always good for a bit of ego boost.
My black over the knee boots get a lot of wear as well with a big chunky heel which balances out my bigger legs (I look ridiculous in spindly stilettos plus I can’t walk in them) and I love this little leopard print clutch from Dorothy Perkins to finish it off.
And so that, my dears, is a little where my brain is at the moment with this whole fashion malarky. I imagine it’s like anything else. You find your feet first, you find a bit of confidence, you discover something about yourself and if you are a blogger like me, you share your findings with the world, no matter how awkward and self-aware it may be.
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So now tell me, who am I missing out on? Do you have a favourite fashion blogger? Also, what do you do when you feel under-represented in any arena?