Since turning 30 last week, I’ve found myself reflecting a lot about the last decade. I’ve thought a lot about how far I’ve come, in terms of settling into a career that I love, how much I’ve grown emotionally, and how grateful I am for everything I have in my life now. And I’ve also been thinking about what I learnt about my style during my twenties. When I take a look back at how my style evolved during my twenties, a few things are immediately apparent; my hemlines have gotten a little longer, my heels have gotten a little lower, and I’ve started to focus more on a cohesive, neutral, wardrobe over one bursting with colour. But some of those hallmarks of my early twenties are still around, from classic cut blazers, to high waisted everything and then there are some that I’m glad that I’ve moved on from! While these probably aren’t the most revolutionary of observations, I wanted to share what I learnt about my style in my twenties; so get ready, ‘cos this is going to be a long one.
I don’t really do colour
My early twenties were punctuated with vibrant bursts of colour; a kaleidoscopic rainbow and cacophony of prints that I wore for the mere sake of it. At the time, I could barely fathom the thought of wearing the same outfit twice, particularly given that most items I wore were a real statement in themselves. My wardrobe was constantly changing, as I sold on old pieces to make room for something new (seems like things might not have changed too much…), but there was a real lack of consistently or cohesion to what I was wearing.
After doing a complete wardrobe overhaul where I sold approximately 90% of my wardrobe, and a tonnes of experimentation since, I’ve come to the conclusion that for the most part, I don’t really do colour. My colour comfort zone is firmly rooted in the neutrals, which is a reflection of the kind of style that I’ve come to gravitate towards, particularly during the latter half of my twenties. While I am experimenting a little bit with colour – evidence here and also here – it’s distinctly as an accent, rather than for a focal piece.
My go-to print is the polka dot
My mum always told me that if you want a wardrobe that will be truly timeless, then you should avoid prints and patterns. They just date too quickly. And you know, like with most things, she was completely right. But, as I tend to favour that neutral colour palette, I crave a bit of variety to help mix things up, which is where anything with a polka dot comes in. Not only does it seamlessly slot into my existing wardrobe schematics, but it adds a splash of playfulness and whimsy that makes getting ready in the morning ‘fun’.
Basic is best
But, when in doubt, stick with the basics as they’ll always reign supreme. I have something of a ‘uniform’ or ‘style recipe’ I reach for most days, and the foundations are typically those basic style pieces, like little silk cami’s (my go-to in the summer), a well cut blazer, a chic black leather loafer or a great pair of jeans. It’s always when I’m wearing these basics that I feel most confident, and at my best, and I know that sartorially it’s the basics that I know can rely on. It’s part of the reason why I’ve spent so many years investing in the basics, or at least trying to track down good quality wardrobe workhorses, that flatter the figure and won’t break the bank. Brands like Everlane and Grana have been key, but I also know I can rely on Charlotte Olympia for a great pair of shoes, and Dr Denim for jeans that are going to last the distance.
Experimenting is a good thing
When I first started to downsize my wardrobe, I was pretty strict on what could be included. Everything was simple; there were no frills or fuss. I wanted a pared back wardrobe complete with select pieces that were the very definition of ‘classic’. But it was all too easy to find myself falling into a style rut. Sure, I had what I considered to be an enviable wardrobe stocked full of Karen Walker, Equipment, Helmut Lang and Alexander Wang, but it didn’t feel exciting. Perhaps it was a symptom of trying to grow up to quickly, but my wardrobe seemed boring, at a time in my life where I should be having fun with my outfits.
But everything in moderation, right? I don’t tend to jump on the bandwagon of many trends, but every season there’ll be the odd one which feels like a natural fit with my wardrobe, and it’s usually the chance to experiment that leads to some new favourite outfit combinations, and unlikely wardrobe staples.
I like to keep my jewellery minimal
When I first started (fashion) blogging at the age of 18, more was more. On top of my bold – yet often questionable – outfits, I wanted to ramp things up a notch with jewellery that made just as much of a statement. I chased after the oversized necklace from Lanvin’s collaboration with H&M, and I had a swag of J Crew-esque bobble necklaces in blue, lime and hot pink. Since paring back my closet, my tastes in accessories have also shifted; you’ll find me wearing a dainty set of rings and some subtle gold hoops over a statement necklace any day.
Ultra-feminine isn’t quite my thing
On the path to discovering my personal style – as in, what I enjoy wearing daily – I tried a lot of things. From Trelise Cooper tutu-esque skirts to boyfriend jeans. And, what I found is that while I love a feminine touch (like this gorgeous polka dot dress), I don’t quite feel comfortable in anything that borders on being too feminine. Pretty vague, I know, but sometimes those style revelations happy to just be those personal inclinations that only you can ‘get’.
Not every silhouette will suit me
As glaringly obvious as this last point seems, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen a silhouette or style I loved, only to find it just doesn’t suit me. I’m usually the type to give anything a good go, but sometimes, you need to cut your losses. While I still fall into the trap of buying something that isn’t quite right on my body shape, I’ve come to appreciate certain shapes, silhouettes, and even prints from afar. Just because something looks incredible on someone else, doesn’t mean you need to rush to add it to your wardrobe.