Saturday, March 26, 2016

Style apathy is a thing, but eyeshadow fans the flames of a fire emoji

Something I miss: writing unselfconsciously about fashion. I lost it when I decided it was okay to not be so dedicated to naming a look from a particular fashion collection, of seeing a side-parting in the beauty pages of Vogue and knowing 'Prada'. And then I stopped feeling qualified to comment on the party at all. Instead I thought I'm going to learn ALL THE STATE CAPITALS in the United States! and wanted to become as well-read as some of my friends. I started to feel uneasy about fashion as another endeavour hell-bent on creating more shit to take up space in the world. 

Actually, there's a specific moment when my desire to write about fashion took a hit- it was walking over London Bridge after a show at London Fashion Week and I starting crying and thought Fuck This, feeling utterly crap in the outfit i'd liked until I was positioned in a crowd of assessing eyes. Being in your teens and having well-known street style photographers take in your outfit from head to toe and then walk past you like 'no' was enough to make me leap into the arms of the early rumblings of Normcore. Steve Jobs knows what's up, I thought, and a pair of New Balance trainers, moss green cords and rotating knitwear got me through my first year at Manchester where it was mostly grey and I was trying to figure out whether or not I really enjoyed taking drugs, with a new bunch of friends. I started to judge what I wore in correlation with how easy it was to 'get shit done' whilst wearing it; could I feel comfortable cycling around the city, buying vegetable and flowers which I'd purposely position so they stuck out of my panniers, and could I walk into a lecture without needing to hoik my skirt? I developed a crush on the guy who lived upstairs and wore old Dickies dungarees with the arms folded around his waist and grey felt Birkenstocks, mostly because his style seemed to encapsulate this approach. His girlfriend wore transparent rain macs and they'd lock themselves into departmental buildings at the University as the Occupy movement kicked off. I liked the idea of being able to sit through political planning meetings and not be disheartened by the fact there was always one guy who'd stand for 20 minutes talking about something entirely unrelated, while everybody politely gave him a platform.

It's not uncommon for a steadfast teenage commitment to fashion to waver. The tricky layered Venn Diagram in which changing physical shape, body image, capitalism, diversity, environmental responsibility all overlay with fashion played into the wavering, but even though I'd always think who are these people? whenever I read a style profile about a rich woman in Vogue, I was still interested in fashion. I'd still see women in the street, or at festivals wearing just the right sort of suede jacket, or carrying herself in a way that made me want to follow her, and that was always down to clothes. Reading blogs, sites, magazines in which women said something about fashion and style that went beyond "I love this!" has always been an antidote to the wavering; those women who tell a story about how a Cerulean eyeshadow can make them feel as blissed-out and ON as the bottom of a swimming pool, or how a period of depression implicated the way they felt about their favourite pleated dress. I'm always thirsty for these stories. 

The last couple of weeks I've been thinking about how I can dedicate my time to writing the sorts of features that tell these stories, and the extent to which I can afford to do this (writing purely about the good stuff is a luxury unless you have an income coming from other places too) In the process I've become hooked on Stacey Nishimoto's The Selfie beauty column for Into The Gloss which reminded me god, I love the things we humans can do to ourselves to feel good and distracted and make it through the day and to fan the flames of the fire emoji. Connected to this same headspace: i've been wearing a new pair of bright white Reeboks everyday and enjoying the hang of my grey winter coat and feeling VERY ON (sartorially speaking) and reflecting that spending money on things that make your heart sing is always valid. 

Stacey's column appeals to my current need to not waste so much time on the little details in life that really don't matter. (Me: spending days searching for the right Airbnb apartment, checking the menu online before visiting the restaurant so I can select the optimal dish.) Stacey Nishimoto is serious about beauty, but she also takes the approach that aiming for perfection will take the fun out of the endeavour, which is to experiment, look bloody fantastic and wear lipstick on your cheeks if you want to because, jesus, there aren't any rules. This week I've worn baby blue eyeshadow à la The Face, defined my eyebrows and bought copper coloured glitter to go wild with because what's the point of feeling like I 'don't get' make up and that it's an area of expertise for other people, when I could just get stuck in.