Thursday, 29 January 2015

My girl crush: Alexa Chung

When I was younger my Mum used to say ‘you always want what you can’t have,’ and I think, when it comes to how I wanted to look, she had a point. As a teenager, awkward and boyish in stature, with mousy hair and uncontrollable eyebrows (thanks for those, Dad), I desperately wanted to look like the famous ‘role models’ of the time. Gisele, Britney Spears, all of Girls Aloud, even, god forbid, Jordan – the message was that, in order to be pretty, a pretty girl, you should have big boobs and a tiny waist and long curly hair (preferably blonde). We were all Victoria’s Secrets models in training, the days of Jane Birkin and cute sixties dressing far, far away. For some of us, this felt as unnatural as getting dressed in a wet suit. I will never forget tightening the bra straps on my white M&S training bra to try and get a cleavage in my pink lace Hollister top, staring at the roots of my dyed blonde hair as the ends stuck in my bubblegum lipgloss, wondering if everyone else felt as stupid or as alien as I did. Sadly, here is a photograph of that moment. I have done a good job, to be fair, of looking like a man in drag as Britney Spears.

Indie fashion would have changed my life with or without Alexa; I am so jealous of teenagers now who have a third way – I feel like, in my era, it was chav or goth, with the only other option being ‘clothes you wouldn’t be seen dead in that  your Mum bought you from M&S’. Kate Moss, Chung and her fashion rat pack, with their Topshop-rock-cool and their easy, jeans and t shirt style, gave an alternative to getting your boobs out for no reason. They looked good, sexy without being sexual, and I attached myself to this style like a limpet, never to let go.What do you think of my transformation? (I'm on the left!)

Alexa Chung is my favourite mostly because she never truly strays from the classics; somehow she takes preppy and grunge and clashes them with a lot of black eyeliner into perfection. Breton stripes with cut off denim shorts, flowery dresses with Barbour jackets, dungarees, a white summer dress with brown clompy boots, ballet slippers on a night out, double denim, Mom jeans, leopard print ankle boots, cable knit jumpers; these are just a few of the trends I would never have been brave enough to try without Alexa’s calming influence. I’m not saying they looked as good on me as they did on her, with her endlessly long legs and Disney Princess eyes, but that isn’t the point. You’re meant to aspire to look like your role models, you’re not necessarily meant to achieve it. Alexa gave me, at least, something to aim for that I actually liked; something that actually suited my personality and could adapt to.

It isn’t just that I liked Alexa Chung’s message – that you can dress like a tomboy and still look cool; that you don’t have to be voluptuous for people to think you’re attractive; that you can still pretend you’re in the sixties and it’s quite cool. I like her because I think she is real. Her Twitter is real; sometimes funny, sometimes awkward, sometimes pretty, rather like Alexa herself. Her book was real – almost a real, breathing thing, in places hilarious, in others achingly sad (I wrote a review here). And her clothes are real, an expression of herself, of a mood, and if I could attain one thing with my dressing it would be that – to dress for who I was, every day, rather than for the person my wardrobe said I ought to be.

So thank you, Alexa Chung, for changing my outlook towards clothing, to sharing your life on Instagram (why not? It’s fun) and to going out in the morning looking kind of like you’ve been out all night. Because of you, my life is a little bit more fun, and (I like to think, behind close doors) a little more rock n’roll. And most importantly, I will never ,ever be on Snog Marry Avoid, telling Pod that Jodie Marsh is my inspiration. If you ever feel like you’ve never achieved anything, tell yourself you managed that.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

35 things that have crossed this blogger's mind today

1.       Morning. (Ugh. Is it?)
2.       I’m not going to weigh myself this morning. My weigh in days are Monday and Friday, not  Tuesday, and it’s stupid anyway, because I ate a curry last night so OBVIOUSLY I’ll have put on weight, and I’m going wedding dress shopping for the first time ever tonight and I don’t want to be demoralised and end up in the section aimed at the ‘curvier figure.’ So. No. Step away from the scales.
3.       Bugger it, I’ve put on a pound and a quarter. Why did I do that?
4.       A quarter of a pound? It can’t possibly be that accurate. Scales are stupid. Weight is stupid. I might skip breakfast.
5.       Maybe the scales aren’t calibrated right. If I weigh myself in the hall, I might be thinner.
6.       Aha! Half a pound lighter! Banana bread for breakfast it is.
7.       I should stop standing around naked on the scales, I’m late for work.
8.       Why do I even bother having a wardrobe, when I keep all my clothes in a pile by my bed?
9.       Where is my red skirt? Oh, in the washing basket. But nothing else goes with this top. It doesn’t smell too bad. What’s that dirty mark? If I twist it round to the side a bit, no one will see that, right?
10.   Are these the tights that fall down all the time?
11.   I seem to have 1000 shoes but none of them make a pair. Oh, two boots! But these are the ones with a hole in. I can’t throw them away because I love them, but I also can’t wear them in the rain.
12.   Where are my keys? Why can’t you call your keys when they’re lost, the way you call your phone? Except actually I have lost my phone, and I can’t call it because it’s on silent. I am really late for work now.
13.   I wish I had telekinetic powers, so I could mentally make the selfish businessmen on the tube get up and give me their seats. Why do they even need to sit down? They look pretty strong to me, and they don’t even have to carry handbags.
14.   These are the tights that fall down all the time.
15.   Having a touch screen Kindle is great until you’re standing on the tube and using one hand to keep yourself upright. Would anyone notice if I turned the pages with my nose?
16.   Move down? Move down where? No, just stand on my feet, don’t worry, I don’t need them.
17.   That man looks pretty shifty. I think he might be a terrorist.
18.   He’s got a huge backpack. Should I get off the train? No, don’t be ridiculous, you’re already late.
19.   But what if I’m not being ridiculous? Isn’t it better to risk being late for work than risk dying? I should get off. No, I shouldn’t. Should I?
20.   Well, we’ve left the stop now so it’s too late. My mum always said I dither too much. If this bloke really is a terrorist, let that be written on my gravestone.
21.   Starbucks is so warm and comforting. I wish my flat was like this. Except without a queue of 5000 men in suits in it.
22.   I still don’t understand how a coffee can be Tall.
23.   £4.50?! Are you joking?
24.   How does ‘Catherine’ sound like ‘Gavin?’ Do I look like a Gavin? Starbucks should be forced to give you your money back if they spell your name wrong, like those restaurants in America where they have to reimburse you if you don’t smile.
25.   Two emails. Why am I so unimportant? Oh good, I’m only cc’d in one. Won’t bother to read that.
26.   Anything happening on Facebook?
27.   Everyone I went to school with has had a baby except me.
28.   Anything happening on Instagram?
29.   Everyone else in the world seems to be on holiday. I wish I was a famous blogger and my ‘early morning’ consisted of photographing my coffee. Actually, I should take a photo of my coffee, as it cost me about half an hour’s wages.
30.   Would anyone notice if I took a nap at my desk?
31.   I think meetings are put in simply to justify our own existence in a world where we would otherwise float away into the ether on swivel chairs. Or die at our desks and no one would notice.
32.   Is it lunchtime yet?
33.   10am? Are you joking?
34.   I wish I didn’t have ‘Let It Go’ stuck in my head all the time. It’s not exactly the coolest thing to be caught humming while you’re making a cup of tea (I love it though).
35.   Might do some Internet shopping. God, ASOS has got expensive! £75 for a dress? I’m not made of money. Ooh, Boohoo, that’s much better. £15! I’ll have two. One of those…one of those…add to basket…hang on, £218? Ugh, I don’t want any of this stuff. X out.
36.   Time to check Bloglovin’ and look at all those people who are being more successful at blogging than me. I mean, I don’t even get it. That’s just a couple of photos of some coffee and…how has half an hour gone by and I’m still reading this blog? I admit defeat, I’m not doing this anymore…until tomorrow!

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