Like most busy people, I have a “to-do” list. I have one for this blog, in fact. A list of potential subject headings on things I want to post about. High on this list was something I was struggling to find a heading for….without seeming….well, like a bit of an old trout.
So, what was making me struggle so much to find a snappy headline? Here goes….. Why do all young girls/women look the same? Same hair, same make-up (what is going on with those brows), same clothes. Where has all the individuality gone? At what point did twenty year old hotties become so insecure about their looks that they headed for Botox injections and fillers in their lips? At what point did a rule get passed that you can only pull that silly, pouty duck face in a photo? What messages are we really sending the young women of today around what it takes to live a happy and successful life, whilst being comfortable in our own skin? The wrong ones in my opinion.
However, none of this was helping me find that all important header for my e-rant. And then someone posted this on Instagram……..
GENIUS. (Annoyingly, why didn’t I think of this? )
We absolutely need to embrace our inner Patsy! In a highly edited/filtered and curated (and in my view, false) world, now – more than ever – we really need to celebrate our individuality, stop masking our “flaws” and be our fabulous (darling) selves. So, just what would Patsy do? Here are her top three rules for life.
Rule #1 – You don’t need someone else’s opinion to validate you. Patsy Stone is a ringing endorsement for the power of self-belief. Yes, she’s flawed but that’s kind of why we love her anyway. Can you honestly imagine her asking anyone (other than maybe Edina) for their opinion as to how she looks? No! She simply doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. I’ll bet she stands in front of the mirror in the morning and says “you’re fabulous darling” and then gets on with her day. Her attitude is one of “take me or leave me” (warts and all) and she’s not interested in putting out a carefully edited version of herself; just for validation. What you see, IS what you get.
Let’s just take a second and compare/contrast mind-set with what we so often see today. Matthew Hussey, the dating and relationships guru, does a great synopsis of the truly self absorbed and insecure way some young females behave nowadays. Talking about online dating apps, he describes how many have literally thousands of selfies on their Instagram feed and profile pages, (none of which look like them because they’re so highly edited and filtered) and then obsessively check them for likes/validation. He goes on to describe how they’ll upload a provocative picture, hashtag it with “beauty is on the inside”, “feelingblessed” and “humble” , whilst totally failing to see the complete irony in those statements. Naturally the women in the room (most of all look like they’re over thirty) see how ridiculous this all is and collapse into fits of laughter.
So here’s the deal. What you see on the Kardashians. What you see on people’s Instagram feeds and Pinterest Boards – is an illusion, produced solely for your consumption. It doesn’t exist. It’s a carefully curated and managed image and its sole purpose is to get your validation or to sell you something. That’s not to say it’s bad necessarily but it has to be used in context. Unfortunately, it seems we’ve kinda gotten out of context with it all and are (quite literally) – taking it literally. Patsy knows life is to be LIVED and that means dealing with the good, the bad and not having to edit out the ‘ugly’ bits (why would you, when you can laugh at them later?). So be kind to yourself and focus only on being the bestest, most fabulous version of YOU. Which leads me nicely into our next rule….
Rule #2 – Loosen up – it’s not that serious. For Patsy and Edina, every single day is an adventure. They grab life by the danglies and by god, they have fun. They’re unapologetic, they’re definitely not PC and they don’t care what you think. They’re fearless…..they’re authentic. Now I’m not suggesting for a moment that you steam-roller your way through life and over people; leaving a trail of devastation in your wake. Being authentic isn’t about disregarding everyone else’s feelings or well-being but nor should you pussy-foot around them either. Dropping the pretence and being your true self is freeing, liberating and will allow you to squeeze each precious drop out of life. This is your ride and if other people don’t like it, well they can just get off.
Rule #3 – You can count your true friends on one hand. Or on one finger, in Patsy’s case. We now live in a time where you can buy Instagram followers and people will tell you “I’ve got 1031 friends on Facebook”. Yeah, because those people really are your friends. But over an alarmingly short space of time, we’re becoming programmed to crave validation from people who a: don’t know us or b: only want to know us because we paid them to or they liked a picture we filtered the bejeesus out of. Surely I am not the only one who sees how truly messed up and shallow this rationale is? You simply can’t choose your friends like you would a piece of furniture on the Ikea website.
On the other hand (and for all of her faults), Patsy is fiercely loyal to Edina. These two don’t do anything without one another, they know everything about each other and if they’re pissed off they don’t put an enigmatic meme up on Facebook and then go take a tonne of moody/pouty selfies. No, instead they have a blazing row, trade a few insults, make up and then share a bottle of Bolly. What makes their relationship so special? They communicate. Face to Face. In the Matthew Hussey piece I mentioned in Rule #1, he talks extensively about how people have lost the art of face to face communication; simply because it’s so easy to hide behind a piece of technology, whilst all the time projecting a false image. However extensive your emoji library; nothing can take the place of human to human interaction. Our tone of voice, body language, facial expression and quirks make us the crazy, individual and wonderful MOFO’s that we are. No, not everyone will appreciate your particular brand of individuality….. but that’s just fine – you never needed their approval anyway.
So don’t be a validation junkie, waiting on someone else to give you permission to be fabulous. Be a Patsy. You won’t get more likes but you’ll get more loves.
Soon we’ll be moving into that tricky time of year, when we’re not quite ready to totally give up on Summer but we need some great pieces to “bridge” the gap between the seasons and cover all eventualities. Living in Scotland, this is pretty much how we have to think all year round because Summer can be such a fleeting season and quite often “happens” early in May. Invariably, you rely on styles you can “take both ways” and wear on both cooler and warmer days, simply by switching other items in.
If you follow us on Polyvore you will find some great sets/inspiration for both capsule wardrobes and complete outfits. Better still, you can shop the look in it’s entirety from one website! Our latest set features fourteen key pieces that a: work for all age ranges with a bit of tweaking and b: you’ll pretty much use all year round. However, they’re particularly good for making the journey from late Summer through to Autumn…and beyond.
1: The Army style jacket: Our one is a softer, more feminine version of this style, featuring a cinched in waist and waterfall style collar. The 3/4 length makes it much more versatile than shorter more utilitarian styles, nor will it date as quickly. It’s light enough to roll up and pop in your bag if it gets too warm and is the perfect accompaniment to skinny jeans and a tee shirt for a pulled together look.
For me, Khaki/Army/Olive green are pretty much neutrals. Other than certain pastels, they pretty much work with most colours.
2: Grey Skinny or Slim leg jeans: The slim/skinny jean shows no sign of going away as (worn correctly) it’s actually very flattering for a wide range of body shapes. If you can’t do skinny, go for the slimmest leg you’re comfortable with, as this makes for a smooth line and versatile foundation for lots of different outfits. Grey is incredibly flexible and (for me) a mid-dark gunmetal shade will never be far from your side.
3: Suedette Wrap skirt: Imitation suede has never been more widely available or more realistic and what’s better, is most versions can be washed! Wrap styles (that are not flared) suit most body shapes and if you opt for a khaki or earth toned version, it looks fantastic on warmer days with tanned legs and sandals. Likewise in full winter, it can be worn with opaque tights and your favourite boots. The style on our board is quite short but just opt for a version closer to the knee if you feel that to be more appropriate, or you’d also like to wear it to work. Try not to go longer than this as you will lose a lot of the versatility a shorter style has to offer.
4: Cream Long sleeved Jersey Top: This is a true hero piece. Other than on searingly hot days, you can wear this all year round. Shades of cream, ivory etc are generally universally more flattering than white. This gorgeous top is currently on sale at John Lewis and is by Alice Temperley; so you know the quality will be great. The peplum adds interest and sass and (along with the fine jersey knit) allows the piece to ease across the bridge from casual to dressy, really easily. Due to the hip length, it is neither too long nor too short and will work with a myriad of items in most wardrobes. As a small peplum, this will work on most body shapes but if you simply can’t wear this style, just choose a plainer version. Pure collection currently has a great silk mix jumper in it’s sale.
5: Silk and cashmere floral scarf: It’s true we’ve become a nation of scarf wearers and they remain one of the easiest ways to take an outfit from “meh” to “pulled together.” Although natural fabrics like cashmere and silk feel amazing next to the skin, there are plenty of great versions on the High Street at amazing prices. Choose a “muted” or “soft” pattern in colours that match your existing wardrobe and carry it with you always.
6: Silk tunic top: A gorgeous silk patterned tunic top will be an item you will wear again and again and again. Busy women need multi-taskers and this, for me, ticks all the boxes. The piece on our set is by UK plus size retail Navabi but a quick browse on the Interweb will reveal lots of similar styles in smaller sizes. September weekend away? Throw it on with the jeans and Army jacket for a stylish, yet casual look. Evening drinks? Style it up with sharp cigarette trousers, heels and jewellery. And being silk it’s light enough to tuck into trouser suits and skirts for work days. Job done.
7: Neutral coloured cashmere sweater: Every woman, regardless of age, needs a great hip length cashmere sweater. Seriously, you will wear it all year around and when you’re not wearing it, it looks great worn over your shoulders! Although black and navy are no-brainers, a neutral tone will work across all seasons. If your budget doesn’t stretch to cashmere or (like me) you don’t do hand-washing, take a trip up to House of Bruar where you can often pick up their cashmere-like range in the Outlet shop. I got a great camel sweater earlier this year for £29 but there was a great colour selection
8: Floral Style Blazer: Admittedly the Phillip Lim version on our set is an investment piece. However, just one look at the cut, colours and finish tells you this jacket is a keeper. It will instantly dress-up your jeans and sweater but will also lend elegant formality to a basic black shift. Perfection.
9: Black crepe shift Dress: At this point, I’m going to get all preachy. If you are out and you see a great black (or navy) knee length shift dress and it is within your budget, BUY IT. If you opt for a version (like this Alexander Want) that has flattering short sleeves and a round neck, it will save the day countless times. From last minute invites to race-days, lunches and weddings, you can dress it up or down and you will make much better shopping choices, knowing you have a classy and reliable alternative hanging in the wardrobe back home. Here endeth the sermon.
10: Tan tote bag: Your starting point for a handbag should always be a great tote style in tan, preferably with a detachable shoulder strap. Tan looks classy and works with everything. Buy the best version you can afford (if you’re in the mid-range bracket, avoid the blingy logo-ed brands – you’re paying for a name, nothing more) and if you don’t do leather; opt for a darker tan shade as some of the synthetic leathers can look cheap in a lighter shade. A great quality handbag, finishes off an outfit, so – if you can avoid it – don’t scrimp in this area.
11: Tank style watch – tan leather strap: Along with handbags, I believe a watch to be a highly personal item and statement of your style. A beautiful watch will last a lifetime and a leather strap never, ever goes out of style. As with the handbag, tan works with pretty much everything, be it casual, formal or otherwise. Again, a swift Internet browse will reveal lots of reasonably priced versions of this iconic style.
12: Leopard print, mid heeled court shoe. This item would make it onto my top-ten accessories to always have in your wardrobe and will go with so much more than you think. As with khaki, treat (a subtle) leopard print as a neutral and a less boring alternative to the omnipresent black court shoe. If you don’t do leather, there are loads of synthetic options available that look really great too. From the skinny jeans and floral jacket, to the black shift dress, these shoes will automatically “pull together” your look and the wearable heel height won’t date.
13: Black loafer: I’ve selected this Valentino style because of the shape. The pointed toe and ribbon detailing is key in allowing this shoe to work both as a casual and formal option. The slight platform makes them super comfortable and wearable and they will pretty much work with every piece on this board.
14: Oxblood coloured ankle boot: Excuse the god awful colour terminology but Oxblood is pretty much my favourite accessory colour. For me, it’s the perfect way to make casual look sharp. This version from Just Fab are exactly that. Although they’re synthetic, the suede effect looks much more expensive than a faux leather and the heel height and style make them supremely wearable. Then there’s the price! This colour looks amazing with the grey and army green and I guarantee, you’ll never have them off your feet.
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