“The Style that I admire makes me feel boring. What should I do?”
This was a comment that I received in reply to an Instagram Story that I posted, asking people what I could help them with.
Specifically the comment read “The Style that I admire – the neutral Emma Hill style – makes me feel boring.” (Emphasis added just so that it’s clear that the person who posed this question loves Emma’s style and that they’re not saying that Emma’s style is boring – far from it – it just makes THEM feel that way.) I wanted to clear that up as I just had visions of someone taking a pop, true Daily Mail style!
Anyway, for those of you who don’t know Emma, she has a following of 535k on Instagram and 211,990 subscribers on YouTube. She is what you might call a “sensation”.
Emma also has a very beautiful, pared back, minimal style, which is clearly admired by hundreds of thousands of people. She wears a lot of denim, blazers, striped shirts, white tees and pairs them with beautiful tan accessories. She also has glowing skin, a beautiful tan, long slim legs, hair that sits just right and a lifestyle that makes everything work together.
As you can gather, I also admire Emma’s style. I mean who wouldn’t? I’ve met Emma at an event and I’ve also chatted to her on Instagram. At the event at which Emma was talking, she popped up some pictures of clothes that she had previously worn whilst she was honing her style. I observed that personally I loved her bright pink pleated skirt – but that comes from someone whose son once told her that it looked as though a “unicorn had vomited rainbows” on her – so it’s not surprising that I liked it.
But here’s the thing. Much as I adore and admire Emma’s style, it’s her style and I know that I can only be that chic, and that minimal, for a day or so. There comes a point when I need to dress as though a unicorn has vomited rainbows on me, once again (as per the above photo!)
As much as we may love and admire the style of someone else, if it’s not quite right for us, it feels – well – just not quite right – and we have to tweak it to make it our own. I’m not saying that style has to be static or that over time it can’t develop and change. Your look can also change from day to day, depending on your mood and all sorts of things – but it will still have “you” in it.
My Mum is well known for her blue eyeshadow. She feels that it makes her face look brighter and more fun. The older she gets, the more she feels this to be the case. I know, for a fact, that if I took her to a Bobbi Brown make-up counter and they made her all “taupe and peach” she would absolutely hate it.
So what to do if a style that you admire doesn’t quite work for you? (and I’m talking about any style here)
Well you take the principles of it but then you have to find a way of making it your own. Look around at your surroundings. What art are you attracted to, what are your interiors like, what content are you drawn to when scrolling on line? That will give you an idea of what inspires you.
I’m about to throw a lot of “maybe”(s) your way!
Maybe you’re just not someone for whom one style fits all. I can go from pared back, to unicorn vomiting rainbows, to androgynous, to gamine, to bag lady, to the Duchess of Cambridge, in a heart beat. But there’s probably a common theme running through it all. I think!
Maybe the silhouette of a particular look works well for you but perhaps you need to work in something extra in one of the key pieces – either with colour (like a brighter top), a print on the bottom half, sparkle in a jacket, or some texture (I’m thinking velvet, fake fur, lace etc).
Maybe you’re more of a colour blocking type of girl and a head to toe colour in various shades is a good option for you, even if the pieces are simple and pared back.
Maybe you could include more of your personality in your accessories by way of statement jewellery, a wide belt, a printed scarf, brighter shoes or crazy nails.
Maybe you need to play with scale. Perhaps a pared back look can be made more “you” with an oversized 90s inspired denim jacket, or some flared jeans, or an oversized man’s shirt with your skinny jeans. Or perhaps a large bag or enormous sunnies need to take centre stage. These could all still be pared back but scale can add interest and drama, nonetheless.
Maybe it’s just a case of pulling your outfit together with a couple of pieces that work well together – such as a Breton striped top and a leopard print bag, or two different scaled prints (such as smaller spots and larger spots), or sparkles and neon.
You could walk up to your wardrobe and try different combinations that you wouldn’t usually try and just see how they work together. Maybe what you thought was your ideal style isn’t your ideal style after all.
Maybe you have a couple of days a week where you adopt a full on “look” and the rest of the time it’s a little more eclectic (which is a look in itself).
And if all of that fails you could just wear a shed load of blue eyeshadow, like my Mum, and be done with it.