Most of the style overhaul advice I've read suggests starting off with a mood board. I've tried a couple of times to do a style mood board thing and I just can't get it to work for me. I understand the rationale, but there's always a disconnect between what I come up with picture-wise and what I would actually wear. So I'm not going to try that this time; not yet, at least. Instead, here are some outfits I have loved in the past, represented through photos which are mostly very poor, but we can work through it, right? Right. Let's go:
1. Grey fitted jumper and red tulip skirt
My favourite outfit six years ago, which I would say was the time I felt happiest about my wardrobe. I don't have a photo of the top, but here's the skirt, which I am obviously VERY excited about: high-waisted, bright red tulip skirt, mid thigh length with pockets and a thick black waistband. The jumper was thin, fitted, in a mid to dark grey with mini shoulder pads.
2. Black dress and grey wrap
I only have these two in separate photos. As you see, one photo is very small, and the other features me in a pink pointy party hat, because why wouldn't it. Black short-sleeved dress with neckline/shoulder seaming detail, fitted through the top with a drapey skirt which probably has a technical term but I don't know it. What's the technical term for 'random folds of fabric'? The wrap was literally my favourite thing ever until it fell apart - I got it from All Saints and they called it a 'pirate cardigan', but now they're calling something else a pirate cardigan and it's not even remotely the same. It was basically a cross between a wrap cardigan and an infinity scarf and I LOVED it. I've never found anything else like it since, and I'd buy another one in a heartbeat even though it fell apart rather too quickly for the amount of money I spent on it.
3. Black wrap dress
My hair looks like a wig here. Basic black wrap dress, wore it to death, sure I still have it somewhere but can't find it. If I ever find it again I will be working out a way to clone it. Oh, also, this blue thing? I bought it from a market in Galicia about ten years ago and I wear it constantly, as a scarf, as a wrap, as a sarong, as a shoulder-protecting device when it's sunny. I'm not sure what I'll do when it dies.
4. Black strawberry print dress, black belt, black leather jacket and tape measure necklace
I was looking for a photo of this dress, and I found two featuring the whole outfit, which would be great except for some reason I am a) looking far too excited about M&Ms, and b) standing in a bath. Oh, Past Jen. Anyway, I really want this necklace back. It's a tape measure twisted into a heart that I bought way before my sewing days and it would be my favourite thing ever now if I hadn't lost it. I would also be wearing this belt all the time if I knew where it was. The dress is a printed chiffon over black lining with shirring round the waist and little cap sleeves (and a LOT shorter than I remember it being), and the jacket is a very thin leather with a draped front which I still have.
5. Blue lace dress
This is one of my favourite ever photos (photo courtesy of the amazing Fred Lindbom; dipping courtesy of the equally amazing Alexis) and I love the colour and style of this dress, though not so much the way the lace overlay started unravelling really quickly. Hmph. I got a lot of wear out of it in the short space of time before it became too tatty, though.
6. Burgundy silk dress
Dress has split sleeves and a wrap effect at the front. I wouldn't normally think of wearing bird print but I loved this dress. It was also surprisingly versatile and I used to wear it quite a lot; not to work or anything, but it was my go-to "thing to wear in the evening" for quite a long while. The second photo doesn't add much but it makes me smile.
7. Short sleeved red jersey dress
This is the kind of dress that was my go-to a couple of years ago; simple pullover jersey dress with a fitted bodice and flared skirt. I wasn't going to put it in but I seem to have been photographed more in this dress than in anything else I've ever worn and they're all great memories, so here. In my long-hair days, dancing in Genoa with Micky, who is basically a unicorn in human form and we love him for it. Photo credit: Alessandro Cabella
8. Jeans and black vest top
Apparently posing in baths used to be my thing. These were my favourite, favourite jeans. They were the best-fitting jeans I ever had, I felt amazing in them and I wore them long past the point I should have thrown them out. I got them from Oasis at the same time as I got the red tulip skirt, and after that they apparently had a complete overhaul of style and fit because I've never found anything I like in there since. Omnipresent grey wrap again in the second picture, where I am on a carousel because that's what grown-ups do.
9. Mustard dress and black belt
Gah, I miss this belt. This was one of several long-sleeved fit and flare skater dresses that I had from Asos before Asos quality dropped massively. Here are two photos of me in Venice - one that shows what I'm wearing and one of me pissing about with a lamppost.
10. Cream jumper and shorts
I'd forgotten how much I liked these shorts. I wish it was easier to find ones this length. (Giant chair and fake old lady because why not.)
11. Bright pink party dress
A bonus one; this is by no stretch of the imagination daywear, but I would be remiss not to include it because I'm not sure I've ever felt so good as I did in this dress. Bright pink Karen Millen strapless satin minidress with some kind of origami pleating thing at the front. I can't wear this anymore but I'm never getting rid of it.
This is about as much as I can do from memory and Facebook photos. Going back through photos of me trying to find ones where I'm wearing day clothes that I liked has been a bit of a slog - there are 20+ photos of me in a Goth ballerina dress, about a dozen in a hooded Santa dress and approximately forty-six million of me in stupid wigs, but decent photos of normal clothes? Can't help you.
From this we can pick up:
- a lot of black, red and blue
- quite simple
- short skirts
- shoulder detail
- knee high boots
- oh, black tights, I love you so much
- very dark or very bright
- assuming we ignore the bonus dress, easy to wear
- that one belt was really great
- there aren't a whole lot of sensible photos of me in existence
I will be doing something very important and useful with this information (I assume), so hold that thought and we'll come back to it in a couple of posts' time.