Today’s subject is something I’m pretty passionate about; feeling comfortable in your own skin. I didn’t have the best teenage years (who does?) in regard to positive body image and finding my style. I was the biggest girl in my class and being from a small country town there were not a lot of choices when it came to clothes shopping (Target Country anyone?). Plus there was more than one moment I cried in frustration about the trendiest items not fitting me and having to wear something suited to a more older lady. It was kind of horrible. If I could change anything about that time I wish I could have told myself I didn’t need to try and jump into every trend that went by. I wish I could have told myself how important it was to be an individual and I wish I could have relaxed a little when it came to fashion choices. Life is about having fun, not crying over ill fitting jeans.
These days I have more of a positive relationship with my body. I look after it more, I treat it when it needs treating, and in the scheme of things I am happy being me. It took me years to find my own style, but I guess you could say it was worth the slog, because nowadays I’m comfortable. And aware. And although I sometimes get crabby about styles I love not suiting me (shift dresses I love you) I move right on and focus on the positives. And guess what, I could still wear a shift dress if I wanted too!
At the end of the day, style comes from within. It’s not just about the clothes you wear on the outside, it’s about your personality and take on life. Fashion doesn’t make you, you make it your own. The idea I wanted to bring to light today is that it isn’t about wearing or not wearing what everyone else it, it is about your own take on the trends. Or not following the trends if it’s not your thing – that is perfectly okay too!
Who’s to say what will and will not suit someone. A fashion “scandal” of sorts a few weeks back saw a mainstream magazine announce women over a certain size shouldn’t wear crop tops. And last week a designer stated if you were a “committed lesbian”, overweight or an older woman to steer clear of the bandage dress. These kinds of comments really piss me off, especially because I thought the fashion world was moving forward in the sense of beauty at all sizes? Body shaming is not cool, and who’s to say a woman shouldn’t wear something? It’s nobody’s business what you choose to wear. At the end of the day people should be dressing for themselves, not the media or others approval.
I thought it’d be a great idea to gather a bunch of Perth fashion bloggers to showcase a garment by a local designer in our own way. No rules, just individuality and fun. Who better to work alongside than a designer who creates beautiful garments for women of all ages, styles and sizes. Someone who understands the female form and the difference between us all. A designer who embraces her own personal style on a daily basis (and always looks brilliant in whatever she is wearing). Petra Vanessie of AVA, you’re a star. The jacket we chose is a gorgeous, well made black blazer, and whilst it isn’t a crop top or bandage dress, same deal applies today. Regardless of what we are all wearing, our take on the jacket reflects ourselves as people. And even though we all wore the same blazer, it became our own, as style is about feeling comfortable in your own skin. There is no one way to wear clothing. Four fashion bloggers of different sizes, shapes, niches and cultures got together to style the same jacket four ways, to prove today that it’s not clothing that defines us, it is our own confidence and personal style that defines fashion. We collaborated today to put together this piece of honesty for you all, because we want you to know you are enough and you are in charge. Meet (L-R) Sameera, Hannah and Demelza (and me of course haha).
Define your own sense of personal style.
SAMEERA: I was once told that my style could only be defined as “Eccentric Chic” and I can’t help but agree. My style is heavily influenced by modest street style which is a style of dressing predominantly focused in the Middle East and South East Asia where women are fashion focused while maintaining modesty in their styling. I am a practicing Muslim so this has always been the way I have dressed but it has just gotten better as I grow and start to understand what I like. The eccentric side comes from the colour and textures I choose to wear, while the chic is more the structures and my gravitation towards pants. I sway between relaxed Hampton/Cali vibes and sexy “Uptown Girl”. Just depends on how I am feeling.
HANNAH: My style is eclectic to say the least! It’s conservative in shape, but wild in colour. I never flash that much skin, nor do I wear super tight things very often, but I make up for that in the colour/pattern department. My personal style is just that… very personal. It’s a reflection of my mood on any given day, so it’s continuously changing and never like anyone else (I hope!). The one constant is my love of op shopping. No matter what my style is or how much money I have, I will always try my very best to fill my wardrobe with second hand treasures.
DEMELZA: My personal style is nostalgic, romantic, girlie, uber feminine and sartorially timeless. I have an affinity with dresses and feel more comfortable in a dress rather than trousers most of the time. I like to stay true to my personality when dressing. Over the years I have tried different trends, but nowadays I tend to opt for pieces that I know I will still enjoy wearing in five years time and interchange with on-trend pieces to add longevity to my wardrobe.
EM: My personal style is all over the place! One day girly girl, the next day tomboy casual cool. Lots of colour and quirky prints. Lots of floral. Too many striped tee shirts and a collection of flats in every variation you could imagine. I have a lot of clothes, so many I can’t remember half the things I own these days and I love “shopping” in my own wardrobe. I’m pretty sure at last count I had over seventy dresses. A lot of what I do own is fast fashion and high street product, but there are a few fancy lady things in my wardrobe. Why own one dress when you can own ten? I also get bored of things pretty quickly so I like quantity over quality in most cases.
How does the outfit you chose to wear today (in the shoot) define your style?
SAMEERA: This outfit brings out the Uptown Girl side of me. The jacket is such a beautiful structured piece I couldn’t help but channel those “Corporate Lawyer/CEO” vibes. I have always known the kind of woman I want to be perceived as in my industry of work and this is perfect. I got to style it with my beloved pants, maintained modesty but was still sexy with a little smart accentuation through the peplum and pop of the heel. My workwear style is very much something that oozes confidence but still enables you to get that to-do list conquered.
HANNAH: The outfit I’m wearing today is very similar to something I would wear to work. When dressing for the office I tend to favour structured outfits with a ladylike shape. This gorgeous AVA jacket with its little peplum and beautiful shape is just the kind of thing I reach for every morning when getting dressed for the office. Worn over the top of a vintage floral wiggle dress and some brooches for a bit of sparkle, this outfit is the very definition of my weekday style, I just love it!
DEMELZA: As mentioned I love dresses and wear one six out of seven days a week, however I do love wearing on-trend pieces that still have an air of timeless elegance about them. I decided to combine the AVA blazer with beautiful leather trousers featuring zip detailing and a blouse with a black necktie detail. Even though a touch androgynous, the outfit has feminine characteristics to the overall look and also compliments my personal style and body shape.
EM: This outfit is me too a tee. A combination of feminine meets masculine, and nothing too serious. It’s casual and fun! When I first picked up the jacket to style it I was a little bit frightened of how gorgeous and luxe it was. How would “Miss Bargain Hunter Casual Kmart Couture” find something to pair with such a lovely, tailored piece of clothing. And then I stopped myself. Of course I could wear this jacket. Even though I rock the cheap and cheerful I could make the gorgeous blazer work, because I wear the clothes – they don’t wear me! So I started by rolling up the sleeves giving it a more chilled Emma look. I decided to keep it casual cos that is what I do best, pairing it with a leatherette A line skirt and band style tee. Casual – tick. Quirk – tick. Where would I add the print and colour though? Well, I don’t leave home without bright lips so red lippy it was, and I thought a leopard print heel added to the look, bringing it together. Voila! Being curvy I opted to keep my skirt slim lined to balance the jacket, and I couldn’t be happier with the result, curves and all. I’ll be taking this look out again for sure!
What kind of outfit do you feel most comfortable in?
SAMEERA: A nice loose button down, boyfriend jeans, killer heels, big tote or clutch, statement sunglasses and lots of jewellery.
HANNAH: My most comfortable outfit, or the one that feels most like me generally involves a hat, some fab sunnies, at least two different prints and my denim jacket.
DEMELZA: As I’ve said I’m a dress lover and feel most comfortable when wearing one. I sometimes joke I was born wearing a dress.
EM: I’m most comfortable in black skinny jeans and a tee to be honest! Anything effortless almost. Don’t get me wrong I love dressing up but the comfort factor is always high priority. I love a good skater dress in Summer because I love how they nip in at the waist and flatter my hips. I love anything bright and printed too. Colour makes me happy!
How important is it to you to be “on trend”?
SAMEERA: It is important to know what is happening but I truly believe that the most stylish wardrobe is one that has those key staple pieces and then “on trend” pieces to build from and keep you on point all year long.
HANNAH: I don’t really care about being on trend but I do like to feel appropriately dressed. I’m almost always over dressed for every situation (counteracted by my boyfriend who is almost always under dressed), but that doesn’t bother me much, as long as people are staring at me because I look amazing and not like a crazy person!
DEMELZA: It is not important to be “on trend”. New styles in clothes have been coined “on trend” to encourage people to go out and buy them, otherwise designers and clothes shops wouldn’t survive. When I was younger I would buy ‘on trend’ clothes to be in style and in line with my friends and what I saw on tv and in magazines. Over the years, I have learnt to buy some on-trend pieces that will stand the test of time and compliment my current wardrobe of feminine timeless classics.
EM: I think back to when I was younger and I just had to follow the latest looks, even if they didn’t suit my personality at all. It was all about fitting in. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realised it is more about what makes you feel happy and confident. I do somewhat follow trends, but I also rewear and rewear items of clothing to death, even when they are no longer considered “trendy”.
How has your personal style evolved over the years?
SAMEERA: An immense amount of evolving. I always knew how I wanted to dress and in my early teens this led me to either look a little bit older or too experimental. As I begin my 20’s I have become much more confident in my shape, how to dress it, colours that suit me and I just roll with that.
HANNAH: My personal style has evolved slowly over the years. It’s taken some time to really work out what I like and don’t like and to realise that the current trends might not always suit me, and that’s cool! Since starting my blog it’s pretty easy to see my style change, but the one thing that’s really stuck with me since I first started getting into fashion and styling is my desperate desire not to look like anyone else.
DEMELZA: My personal style is always evolving and changing as some days I love pretty romantic florals and the next I’m in love with tailored suits. The constant between the two is how I style them to suit me and my body shape, always remaining true to my core values of timeless elegance and femininity.
EM: It took me a really long time to find my own personal style, and it’s still growing and changing over the years. I think back to when I was in my early twenties and I was a huge trend follower, to the point of being a bit of a mannequin clone. I didn’t know what suited my body and personality, and I wasn’t quite sure how to dress confidently. One fashion “moment” that has stuck with me was my 18th birthday night out. It was back in the day when everyone was rocking skate shoes and I actually wore those with semi flared blue jeans, a “gypsy” style green top and a brown corduroy blazer. So “fashion” Emma. Ick. I like to think I dress better these days! If skate shoes came back in I certainly wouldn’t be buying a pair.
What is your favourite thing about your body?
SAMEERA: Everything, I have always been taught to respect myself.
HANNAH: Probably my height. It’s taken me a while to fully appreciate being 178cm, but I can finally say I love being tall. It means I can reach things on the top shelf, play my favourite sports at a higher level, put on a little bit of weight without anyone noticing and I never need to take up my pants! I also enjoy wearing heels and towering over people, it’s a bit of a power trip!
DEMELZA: I like my long blonde hair and petite frame.
EM: I love my waist. It’s super feminine. I love the female form. My bum is okay too haha.
What sort of pressures do you find being a “fashion” blogger?
SAMEERA: Understanding that some of the women following me aren’t as comfortable about their bodies as I am, so I always believe in taking the time to keep reinstating to all the amazing DYNAMICS that we are all different. And that in our celebration of our ourselves there will only be joy and happiness.
HANNAH: I actually don’t feel much pressure being a fashion blogger. There’s a certain mould of uber-bloggers who all have very shiny hair and $5000 hand bags, but I’m not trying to be like them which I think removes a lot of the pressure. I blog about the $6 dress I picked up at Salvos, not $800 Chanel espadrilles. I think my readers appreciate that I’m just an average girl who rummages around in Good Sammies and always wears a hat and sunnies because I’m totally useless at doing my own hair and make up.
DEMELZA: Being a fashion blogger, I attended a number of events and often feel pressure to wear something new from different designers every single time!
EM: I don’t take my self too seriously and that reflects in my style choices. I don’t do fancy lady labels, but not because I don’t like them, but because I can’t justify spending $4838282 on a hand bag (I could travel with that money!!!). I don’t know my Ellery from my Elle Saab (oh dear) but what I do know is I dress for myself. I’ve previously touched on the topic of “fitting in” style wise with other bloggers at events, but I’m kind of at the point where I’m past caring what other people think about my clothes (in non blog life too). My Kmart shoes and dress on sale suit me fine thank you! Obviously I like to look nice (who doesn’t) but I’m not going to torture myself and get worked up about what others will be wearing at said events. I don’t mind if I’m the only girl in the room in colour and everyone else is in black and white or vice versa. When I share my style posts on the blog I try not to tell people what they should and shouldn’t be wearing. I don’t focus on the hottest trends every week, I simply enjoy sharing what I’ve been wearing or loving. I’m certainly no expert when it comes to fashion, I’m just your regular lass with a bursting wardrobe who enjoys sharing my latest bargain finds.
Do you think it should be up to the media to decide who can and cannot dress a certain way?
SAMEERA: I don’t think they have the right to decide what we can wear but they can certainly suggest it.
HANNAH: Absolutely not. People should wear whatever the hell they want. Fashion is so frivolous, it may be a serious industry, but when it comes to what you put on your back it’s not serious at all. It’s meant to be a reflection of your personality, so why should the media have any say in what your personality is?
DEMELZA: Absolutely not!
EM: I think it’s a little bit dangerous for the media to make comments such as the crop top issue. Women are fragile creatures and not all of us are as comfortable in our skin as others, so when comments such as that one are made it can really irk people. The media is telling me I should be thinner than a size 12, but that kind of opinion is not going to change my own opinion on how I feel within my skin. Do and wear what is right for you!
What is more important to you – individuality or keeping up with the Jones’?
SAMEERA: A little bit of both. It is good to do YOU most of the time but inspiration is good too. I mean, that is why we have Pinterest!
HANNAH: Definitely keeping my individuality. I never want to look like anyone else, so having a unique style is super important to me. It can be hard though! Like right now those strappy lace up Windsor Smith heels are all the rage, and everyone has them. I love them too, but I just can’t bring myself to buy a pair because I know that my feet will look like the feet of every other style blogger in the world. But I want them so bad… it’s a real struggle!
DEMELZA: Individuality makes us unique and I love being different from everyone else. Embrace it.
EM: Forever be the square peg in the round hole. Clones are boring.
What do you wish you could tell your 15 year old self about how comfortable you are in your skin today?
SAMEERA: You are beautiful for who you are. #rockit
HANNAH: Oh my gosh, so many things I wish I could tell 15 year old Hannah! I’d tell her that eventually the boys will grow taller than you (or at least most of them do), that your natural hair is so beautiful and PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD don’t dye it raspberry-red (too late), that you meet a really amazing guy who is like wayyyy cuter than Ryan from year 12. I suppose I’d also say that feeling comfortable in your own skin comes with age and experience, but in 13 years time things are looking and feeling pretty great!
DEMELZA: You will come into your own skin in college, believe in yourself and know your own mind.
EM: It gets easier. Life in general, not just the added pressure of fitting in etc. Be true to you. And don’t grow up too fast, there is plenty of time for that! PS – that big bum you hated back in the day is pretty sought after these days. Hahaha.
Any advice for girls struggling to find their own sense of style due to the media’s pressure?
SAMEERA: We are all unique and ALL YOUR FLAWS ARE YOUR SEXY so be proud of them, they are what make you awesome. When you smile the whole world smiles. Happiness is truly the most amazing accessory. And everything comes in good time so don’t rush it. Look at lots of inspiration and that’s where you will start to understand what you like. Remember trends are add ons, they will come and go but your style will remain.
HANNAH: I suppose I’d just encourage people to consider the ‘hot new trends’ with a grain of salt. Just because every magazine is ramming a particular style down your throat doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to work for you. Have fun with fashion and try different things, if something doesn’t work, that’s cool, just start again! Mixing and matching vintage, chain store, homemade and designer gear is the best way to create a really unique look.
DEMELZA: Wear what you feel comfortable and confident in. I live by the motto ‘when in doubt leave it out’. If I feel only so-so about something when I put it on, I change into something I feel more confident and comfortable in.
EM: Wear what you feel good in. Wear what makes you happy. Life is too short to worry about what others think of you. Embrace your quirks – that is what attracts people to you, your differences! Individuality is awesome.
There you have it – four beautiful and inspiring bloggers all rocking the same item of clothing. But you don’t realise it’s the same, because each one of us is unique and we wear our clothing, it doesn’t wear us. So remember this next time you put together an outfit or make a purchase… Who makes the rules when it comes to fashion? You do!
What is your opinion to the media commenting on what people can wear?
* AVA jackets kindly provided for the shoot. For more AVA goodness get over to her website now. Group snaps by the fabulous Adi @ DYNamique.