noun: the state of being happy.
"she struggled to find happiness in her life."
synonyms: contentment · pleasure · contentedness · satisfaction · cheerfulness · cheeriness · merriment · merriness · gaiety · joy · joyfulness · joyousness · joviality · jollity · jolliness · glee
This is something a little bit different for me, but today whilst walking through the streets I grew up in, I had a thought. I knew it would be something I had to write down, as I could barely even comprehend it myself in that moment.
As humans, we innately feel as though 'happiness' is the feeling to strive for and that it is something to be achieved in our lifetimes. But what people don't always appreciate is that happiness is not a constant state. It is a feeling that can sometimes last merely seconds, and those seconds can be extraordinary in the moment that they are felt. Happiness is not something we can achieve and keep permanently. Life is about making mistakes and learning and growing and, well, living. Happiness can therefore never be permanent as we will spend our entire lives making mistakes and learning and growing, so how can we just expect to capture an emotion or a feeling and make it permanent? It is simply impossible, and I think we need to accept as humans that this is our reality, and that is okay. Perfection does not exist, therefore happiness can never be permanent.
What we can strive for, however, is to create as happy an environment around us as possible. Being independent, surrounding ourselves with people that bring us joy and make us laugh and think, doing things that intrigue us and activate our brains - these are all things we can do to create a generally happier surrounding for ourselves. Giving ourselves the time and dedication we deserve, this is priceless.
We can all be happy people - but we can't be happy all the time, and this is just a way of life. But by giving ourselves the 'tender love and care' we so deserve, we can create a space we feel more at peace in within our lives.
What inspired me to write this post was a feeling that I experienced earlier in the day:
I was walking to my parents house from the tube station, having just met up with a new found friend for a crepe and a chat in Hammersmith. As I walked down the station parade I was suddenly overwhelmed with this sudden feeling of pure bliss. It was fleeting, only lasting a few seconds, but my God, it was really something. I could feel the sun beaming on my face, the fabric on my skin, the breeze in my hair. I was looking at these buildings that I had been looking at for twenty-one years, and it suddenly made me think: I feel really happy to be here with myself in this moment in time. I don't want to change it. Just walking here, in this far too familiar part of London, I felt really at peace. And happy. And this really made me think; moments like these, of pure bliss and peace, really affect me. In the best possible way. They remind me that no matter what is going on in your life personally, moments like this can contribute to making you feel real again. I no longer want to take things for granted that feel 'obvious' or 'familiar' - it's those small moments that can sometimes really make the difference. So I want to try something - a new segment of this blog, something I can write as and when I feel it - a small list of things that make me happy in that moment, as simple as they may be. So, here's todays list:
1. Sitting on the district line, above the ground, watching the trees skim past and feeling the sun wash over your face.
2. The feeling of a leather jacket, especially when you haven't been able to wear one for a long time. A layer like a turtle shell over my arms, my own piece of armour protecting me.
3. Lying in the grass in the height of Summer, feeling the grass on you skin, and daisies on your fingertips.
4. Ealing Common, because it's where I grew up. It will always feel like a slice of home.
5. Walking barefoot. Being able to feel the texture of the ground you're walking on, on the palms of your feet, affecting your skin.
If you've managed to get this far into the post, then thank you. x
*gear yourselves up guys, this is gonna be a long one...
Personal style. It's far more important than trends and labels and following the "moment". Your personal style is unique to you and you only. And to me, that's my greatest source of independence. The way I dress myself and the way clothes make me feel is unlike anything else. There's something so tender yet so spontaneous and sporadic in my personal style, and that's what makes it me.
Your personal style shouldn't be defined by anything other than what you really want to wear. Having said that, it's also about wearing what you feel good in. So even if you love that vintage tangerine boob tube, if you don't feel right in it, then maybe it's not the right time. It doesn't mean you'll never be able to wear it, but maybe you need some space and time before you're ready for it.
In my opinion, the greatest source of style inspiration at the moment is Instagram. It's like a pocket guide of endless pictures and is the easiest way to find those looks that make you catch your breath and think "I want that". Other great resources for inspiration are searching on Bloglovin' (I get emails from them all the time with their latest curated posts of what's what at the moment - it's brilliant. I end up saving tons of photos onto my phone that inspire me), sites such as Man Repeller and fashion blogs (my all time favourite is Shot from the Street by Lizzy Hadfield - she's so effortlessly cool, and quite frankly, a goddess of chic style), YouTube accounts such as British Vogue (I love watching their in the wardrobe videos with different celebrities and fashion icons) and ofcourse, the classic way of finding inspiration: the humble magazine. We all know Vogue is the God of all fashion magazines (quote Carrie Bradshaw "I remember when I bought Vogue instead of dinner"), but there's loads of updated publications at the moment such as Porter, ID, Love and even Look magazine (cheap as chips weekly mag that is perfect if you want super updated info on what's going on in the fashion scene in the UK at the moment)
Effortless chic: my top wardrobe items for looking (and feeling) good
To kick things off, it has to be my all time number one styling piece - my leather jacket. There's something about wearing a leather jacket that makes me feel like I'm wearing a piece of armour - it's like my own personal turtle shell. It's a great way to toughen up any outfit without going to the extreme, and it goes with literally anything. There's nothing that can quite compare to my leather jacket, it's the perfect item for everyday, and I wouldn't change it for anything. As always I highly recommend All Saints, as they have a huge variety and are slightly more reasonably priced than a lot of other brands. They also mould to your body over time, so I recommend sizing down as this will be an investment you don't want to regret.
The humble white shirt is a classic for several reasons. One: it goes with pretty much anything. Two: it’s flattering. Three: it brings a smarter edge to any outfit. You can wear it casual easily, and then when you need something smart, it’s there to do the job too. I recommend going for a men’s style, as they tend to be cut a lot cleaner and more flatteringly. The Primark men’s section is great, or H&M, or shifting through Dad’s/Boyfriend’s/Best-Friend’s wardrobe (all of which I’ve done, sorry lads) is a great trick.
Another brilliant addition to my accessory collection? My Rayban rounds. There’s something about a sleek pair of sunglasses that just pulls together an outfit without drawing too much attention. That’s why I love them - they're effortlessly easy to style with anything, and timeless, with a retro twist.
And then there’s nothing quite like a bit of silver jewellery to complete an outfit - stack and layer, and you’re good to go. Mixing metals can work too, but you have to be precise and keep it minimal.
I took this photo when on a random shopping trip with my boyfriend. On the days where I really don’t plan my outfit, but end up really loving it or feeling inspired for future looks, I take a mirror selfie to document the items in question. This outfit ticks multiple classic pieces off the chart for me - A) a black pea coat. Self explanatory, really. Flattering, easy to style and versatile. B) Levi 501’s. In any shape or form, these are the ultimate jeans that everyone should have in their wardrobe. The perfect straight leg cut without compromising on style (although the pair in this photo are much too big, and not vintage, but I still love the look and feel of them). I own four pairs of 501’s - two vintage, and two men’s pairs. As Levi’s aren’t the cheapest jeans, I recommend going vintage, or looking in discount supermarkets (Costco is the best for Levi’s). Then finally, C) the black Chelsea boot. The easiest boot to style, without compromising on comfort. Mine have a high leg, so are a little bit different, but are easy to style none the less, especially with baggy jeans in the winter when you want full coverage of the legs.
A classic crew neck jumper is something you can’t go wrong with. It’s the easiest way to layer up in the Winter, or simply on its own in the Autumn. I like wearing them in brighter colours to add a little edge to my outfits and liven them up. Red has been one of my favourite colours to style for a while as it’s flattering on all skin tones due to the variety in shades available, and a red woollen jumper is a great way to start incorporating this colour into your wardrobe.
As you can see from the vast array of photographs above, I am a huge fan of stripes. Stripes are a great way of uplifting an outfit, and are so easy to find on the market. Whether you’re going for the classic Parisienne look with the Breton stripe (see picture three), or for a bright Breton t-shirt (see pictures two and six), or maybe some vertical stripes to elongate and flatter your figure (see the rest of the pictures), there is something to find for everyone. I love a classic Breton long sleeve t-shirt for a day of errands (my favourite one was from Gant - I wore it until the holes in the sleeves were creating more holes. I still have it as I can’t bear to part with it) just as much as I love an asymmetric stripey shirt or blouse for a dinner and drinks evening. Best places to look are Whistles (for t-shirts, sweatshirts and Parisienne vibes), Topshop (for more unusual and quirky styles, see pictures one and four) and Armor-lux via ASOS (for the classic Breton stripe).
A trench coat is pretty self explanatory to be honest. I think I would really struggle in the Springtime and Autumnal months if I didn't own one. It's light-weight and easy to layer with, and extremely flattering on all body types (ensuring you go for a clean cut). I love a classic longline beige trench (based on the infamous Burberry trench) as it's great for breaking up all black outfits and adding a bit of brightness, however I would strongly recommend ensuring that your coat isn't flared at the bottom - a straight masculine cut is always more flattering. I own around five trench coats, all in different colours and styles (see photo's above) and I honestly believe it is one of the simplest yet most rewarding items you could have in your wardrobe.
A good pair of trainers, ones you can incorporate into your wardrobe easily, are essential for those errand-running days, or for when you need to make a smarter outfit more casual. I only really got into trainers two years ago when I got my first pair of Adidas Superstars (see above). Before then, I was so wary of my height that I only ever went out in shoes with some sort of heel or platform. Now, I can safely say that my Superstars, Stan Smiths, and hi-top converse are my feet saviours, and also some of my favourite pieces for effortless style.
I do love jewellery, but sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up, unique accessory to lift an outfit. That’s why I love pins so much. This pin in particular, a champagne bottle, is one I found in Cassius & Coco, a gorgeous gift and lifestyle shop on Turnham Green Terrace in Chiswick, London. They hold a great collection of eclectic accessories, including this independent designers pins (other pins on offer included wine bottles, lipsticks, and even cigarettes).
T-shirts are another major part of my wardrobe as they're the perfect piece to layer over. They're also a great way of lifting a simple outfit, with slogans and prints. There is such a huge abundance of tee's on the market at the moment, from cheap as chips to high end, and I can't express enough how much I love them. Topshop always have great trend styles at decent prices, Whistles are well known for their slogan tees (see above 'Feminin') and if you're looking for something printed and a bit more high end, then Ganni is by far my favourite brand. There's something so chic and effortless about a t-shirt and jeans, or a t-shirt half tucked into a pair of trousers or shorts that makes them so accessible and feel almost like a second skin, and I can't express enough how invaluable they are to have in your wardrobe for those days when you really don't know what to wear and you just want to be comfortable.
I love a good pair of slides - they’re so easy to slip on in the Summer and elevate any daytime look, or relax any nighttime outfit. The dream shoe, as it probably is for most women, would be a pair of Gucci slides or loafers. They hold such a collection of patterns, colours and finishes, and frankly nothing can quite beat the statement of a Gucci shoe. However, until the day that I manage to afford a pair, my favourite place to look is online at Ego. If you’re looking for a cheap, Summer shoe to try out different style with, then this is the brand for you. And frankly, for a faux leather shoe, these bad boys have held up extremely well - no scuffing and super comfortable a year in.
I hope you guys have enjoyed the post and thank you for reading. I've really missed blogging so I wanted to come back with a bang (a.k.a a ridiculously long post of me rambling about personal style...) and I'm excited to share loads of new content with you guys now that I'm finishing at drama school!