I've been obsessed with watching people's style evolution videos on YouTube for a while now, I find them fascinating, especially when watching the videos of fashion bloggers I admire most. I can't help but laugh when I think back to how much my own style has changed over the years, which really got me thinking - why not share with you guys my style evolution in a photo diary format? So, here it is - a documentation of my style development over the years, how it's changed, and where I may be going to next. I hope you enjoy!
15 years old
Fifteen was definitely a really pivotal age for me. It was the year I really started exploring and being adventurous with my style. This was also the year where I was obsessed with Guns N' Roses, which influenced my style a lot as you can see in the photo's above. I was really into mixing patterns and clashing colours, kitschy t-shirts, grungey thrifted pieces from Rokit Vintage (a.k.a my haven circa 2011/12) and just looking a little bit crazy. I was super inspired by makeup artist Kandee Johnson at the time, and I loved taking notes from the way she dressed, and just 'letting go' and not caring about what anybody thought.
My top pieces at the time were:
1. My Army Jacket. I got this in Rokit Vintage for a tenner, it went everywhere with me (as you can see above). It was actually a shirt from a military academy, but I used to wear it with lots of layers underneath so that it could be worn all throughout the year. It played a huge part in my wardrobe for the next couple of years.
2. My Doc Martens. I finally got my first pair of Doc Martens when I was 14, calf high lace ups with a tartan lining inside (they unfortunately are no longer available, but I'm pretty sure they were called the 'Triumph Plaid 1914 boots' if you want to have a look on ebay!). They were my ultimate 'Don't mess with me' boots, and I absolutely adored them. At 15, I also invested in the 1460 boot in Green (at the time, it was a finish of leather inbetween smooth and patent, these also no longer exist, but the smooth pair in green are linked here). My Docs were a big 'coming of age' piece for me, and they really shaped my personal style of the time.
3. My Vintage Levi's. To this day, these are still my favourite pair of jeans. They're very much worn down now, but I still don't know what I'd do without them - they are an absolute fail-safe for me. I also purchased these in Rokit, for £30 at the time, which was expensive for me, but considering how much I've worn them, it was definitely money well spent. These were another huge influence for my 80's hard-rock styling phase, but also saw me through every stage of my ever-changing personal style. I honestly don't know what I'd do without them to this day!
4. My Parka. I don't seem to have any photo's to hand of this (I'll try and insert one later if I can!) but my khaki parka was my go to coat any day of the week. I was rarely seen without it in Winter, and I managed to get it on ebay for far cheaper than the retail price (It was originally £100 from Topshop, which no way was I gonna pay for!). It was grungey, over-sized, and just went with every outfit of mine at the time.
16 years old
Sixteen was a huge turning point for me. I didn't quite turn my back fully on my Gn'R inspired looks, but I was far more comfortable in my own skin and my style in general. Ofcourse, my tartan shirt, army jacket, docs and Levi's still played a part in my wardrobe, but I got a lot more into different era's and also, current trends. I had always wanted a pair of seventies creepers, and so my first pair at 16 played a huge part in my wardrobe, band t-shirts with baggy jeans was a go-to of mine, and ofcourse, my striped jumper came into my life. Everything was just a bit more relaxed, and I felt far more at ease with what I was wearing. My blonde dip-dye was also my biggest 'style' trend of the year.
My top pieces at the time were:
1. My Creepers. These shoes completely changed my wardrobe, and I still love wearing them today. My burgundy single soles were great, but my double sole black leather creepers became my most worn shoes and I was rarely seen without them. They kept that essence of punky seventies chic, but I started to tone down the rest of my outfits a little more whilst wearing them. I'm still often seen wearing them.
2. My Acid Wash Denim Jacket. I loved this jacket, a lot. I found it in Topman in the sale, and it was on me pretty much everywhere I went (if I was wasn't wearing my army jacket or leather jacket, that is). I also added some band badges to the pockets, just for that extra bit of punk, and it went really well with my all-black outfits (I loved wearing a black shirt or black roll neck with a black velvet skirt) which I loved, as I was rarely seen without some form of colour.
3. Boyfriend Jeans. This was quite a new trend at the time, and was hugely popular. I loved wearing really laid back outfits with my pair, usually just adding a pair of creepers and a printed t-shirt (if it was Summer).
4. My Tartan Shirt. I was really into wearing this with basically anything and everything, including with a vest underneath and only the top button done up a la Kandee Johnson (again). This shirt was my ultimate go to for any day when I didn't know what to wear, and it continued to be throughout the rest of secondary school. It was also the centre piece for my Notting Hill Carnival outfit for three years.
5. My Badge and Patch Satchels. I used to spend basically every day after school, and every weekend, in Notting Hill, where I would frequent the Army Classics store every time (shoutout to Ramsey, Taleb and Freddie you absolute dudes). This was where I got all of my iron-on patches and my badges, which turned my school satchel and my weekend satchel into some form of punk artwork. I absolutely loved having every aspect of my personality plastered all over my bags, and I was pretty much known for both of these pieces whilst at school.
17 years old
Ah, Seventeen - the start of sixth form meant I had a bit more independance, and generally felt 'wiser' than my years. I still loved my punkier pieces, e.g. my bags and my creepers, but I'd started to hone in my look a little more and everything was become a little bit more streamlined. Going to sixth form also meant wearing my own clothes all the time, which I loved - I was still able to experiment, but I just knew what I liked more and was generally more confident. House parties were also a huge thing, and my outfit of choice for basically every party I went to was my black creepers, ripped tights, vinatge Levi's shorts, a black roll-neck and my over-sized boyfriend coat.
My top pieces of this age were:
1. Knee High Socks. Knee high pop-socks were huge for me. I was really into the denim cut-offs and tights combo, so I often opted for thinner tights with knee-highs over. I thought they made every outfit look grungey but also really put together... I'm not quite sure why, but I do remember Samantha Maria, who was still Beautycrush at the time, loving that look, and she was my absolute style guru at the time, so whatever she did, I did too.
2. My boyfriend coat. I wore this oversized coat from Mango every. single. day. To school with a roll neck and Levi's, to house parties on the weekends, and basically wherever I went. It worked with my wardrobe really well and added a slightly more modern tailered look to my outfits which I loved. I definitely felt a bit more mature in this piece!
3. Frilly socks. I was rarely seen without a pair of colourful frilly socks on my feet. I loved the juxtaposition of wearing something so girly with a pair of creepers, or peeping out from a pair of biker boots. I thought this was such an ace look, and I used to spend so much of my time in Topshop making sure I had a pair in every colour.
18 years old
Eighteen was a huge transition in my personal style. Officially being an adult made me change my direction completely in terms of what I wore and what I wanted to wear. I was super inspired by Samantha Maria's style shift, which in turn meant I shifted a lot too. Gone were the army jackets and printed tights from my wardrobe, and in came the ankle boots, Parisienne inspired pieces, and breton stripes. A lot of breton stripes! My whole wardrobe aesthetic became much smarter and a lot more 'Parisienne'. This was also the age where I discovered Whistles, and this very quickly became my new favourite place to shop, despite the high price tags. I became very sale-savvy and was quick to find great quality pieces for under thirty quid, a skill I have developed further since then.
My favourite pieces then were:
1. My Office Ankle Boots. I wore these nearly every day without fail. I no longer enjoyed letting myself be a mere 5'2'', I needed to look tall and have slender legs, and ankle boots were the way. They went with basically everything which helped, but it did mean my 'look' suddenly became a lot smarter.
2. Flared Jeans. These became my go-to trousers at this age, and I am still as obsessed with them now. Flares were flattering, leg lengthening and retro, so basically the perfect style for me. I loved my pair from Topshop (which I still own, but are definitely coming to their bittersweet end) and I used to borrow my mums bootcut Levis on the regular (see photo above).
3. Culottes. Culottes became trendy again around 2015, and I had been waiting for this day for ages - however, I had always struggled to incorporate them into my wardrobe in the past due to my height. As soon as they became 'in' again though, the cuts and styles became far more flattering, and I invested in a couple of pairs, most notably my black floaty culottes from & Other Stories. They were also the first item I ever bought from the store.
4. French Slogan T-shirts. So Whistles came into my life at the age of eighteen. My first item from them was a cropped navy blue cable knit jumper that I found in the sale, but the most influential item I have ever purchased from them was my 'Feminin' slogan t-shirt that same year. I wore it nearly every day. It was so simple, yet so stylish and matched that 'French Girl Chic' (my favourite styling book to this day is 'Paris Street Style') aesthetic that I was so longing for.
5. The Breton Stripe. Oh Lord, how I loved the breton stripe. When I found my first, and most dearly loved, breton shirt in the Gant sale that year, I was immediately hooked. Another addition to my 'French Girl' aesthetic that I was craving, this top was worn with anything - underneath a strappy jumpsuit, with skinny jeans and a barbour jacket (my eighteenth birthday present from my parents) or even a pair of leggings and sandals. This became my most worn item in my wardrobe until the already thinning cotton literally gaped and tore underneath the arms. R.I.P.
19 years old
Nineteen was an interesting one. I was on a gap year, and had a job, so suddenly had the money to actually buy a few nicer bits and bobs here and there. At this point in my life, most of my money went on jeans, as I became obsessed with trying out all sorts of styles, including wide leg culotte styles and high waisted skinny jeans. The issue I had at this age was that I suddenly didn't feel confident in what I was wearing anymore, I don't really know what happened, but I felt that I had become boring in my style. To this day I would still wear many of the outfits I wore at this age, but I was so desperate to bring back the old 'me' that I went for some pieces that I just cannot understand these days (the pink leather jacket, oh lord). The event that made a huge difference to my styling and sort of brought me back to life, was going to the Isle of Wight festival. I was experimental again, and going back to my vintage roots, and I really felt like myself again after this.
My top pieces at the time were:
1. My Russell & Bromley Heeled Ankle Boots. This pair of boots was the first item I properly saved up for completely by myself. They were a huge investment for me, setting me back nearly 200 quid, and after I bought them, I wore them to death. Literally. They've been resoled and reheeled twice now. But they were a great piece for me. Elevating, classy, but still a bit rock & roll.
2. My All Saints Leather Jacket. My second major investment, and one I thought very long and very hard about. I had known for years prior to purchasing my beloved Wyatt that I wanted a classic All Saints biker jacket. When I finally took the plunge and chose one, I was over the moon. It really changed my styling, once again, and is one of my most loved pieces now.
3. My brown suede backpack. This bag had originally been my Mum's, but she never wore it, so she gifted it to me. It was my first 'designer' bag (as I have previously mentioned, all I ever really wore before were my patch and badge bags) and I would take it everywhere with me. I was really into backpacks at the time as they were comfortable and practical but also really on trend at the time, so this bag really pushed my styling up a notch.
4. Trench Coats. I got really into trench coats again at this time, particularly my longline beige style from Aquascutum. It just completed any outfit for me, and made me feel confident and comfortable.
20 years old
Twenty was a great year for me in terms of my personal style. I finally felt ready to experiment properly again, and having worked at Whistles (aka a dream come true) for the year, I learned so much about my tastes in fashion, and what I truly wanted to wear. I brought colour back into my wardrobe, started thrifting again, and even got back into comfortable shoes (hello, adidas superstars). I felt truly inspired again, and my styling slump was no more!
My top pieces of the year were:
1. My vinyl ankle boots. These boots give me all the feels. They are so retro and so to my taste, with the flared heel, pointed toe and patent leather. I absolutely love wearing these as a statement piece to complete an outfit, and they definitely inspired me to just go with it, and wear whatever I truly wanted with #noragrets.
2. My rayban rounds. It was always my dream to own a pair of classic Raybans, and the Rayban Rounds suited my style to a tee. The lightweight, retro style goes with basically everything in my wardrobe, so not a sunny day goes by where I don't whip them out.
3. My Whistles Camel Jumper. I've mentioned this item so many times, but my first discounted piece whilst working at Whistles was my all-time favourite camel tie jumper. It's a total all-rounder for my wardrobe. Beautiful colour (and great for injecting colour back into your style point blank!), great quality, and interesting cut, this vintage inspired piece is one that I wear on the regular during the colder months.
And finally, 21 (aka present day)
Obviously my year of being 21 has basically only just started, but I can confidently say that I feel really content and happy in my style at the moment. I'm really enjoying trying out new trends, and injecting a bit more colour and pattern back into my wardrobe, and I can honestly say that I think I am currently at my very best. So stay tuned, 'cos I think this next year is going to be a good one on the blog.
Thanks for reading! x
Jumper - Topshop (old) / Jeans - Topshop / Ankle Boots - Mistress (old) / Bag - Coccinelle (similar here) / Sunglasses - Rayban
A couple of weeks ago, whilst rummaging through my wardrobe, I stumbled upon this jumper from Topshop that I hadn't worn for years. It was my absolute favourite item of knitwear whilst I was at school and sixth form, I was rarely seen without it, and usually my outfit of choice was pairing it with my vintage Levi's and a pair of creepers. So when I found it again, I was overwhelmed with a sense of nostalgia, and I was reminded of how much joy this jumper used to bring me. Cheesy, I know, but it was a staple item for me. So I decided to take it out for a spin one day when the weather was still a little warmer and I didn't need a coat. A pair of straight leg jeans and some colourful ankle boots (another rediscovery from the Mistress store that used to be in central London, RIP) and that's all I needed!
What I love most about this jumper is the sailor vibes it gives. The oversized gold buttons on the shoulders and the wide horizontal stripes are super nostalgic, and paired with the oversized, thick weaving, it's a great piece to wear on it's own during the transitional months. On this particular day, I wore it on a trip to Kew Gardens when I went to see the installation 'Life in Death' by Rebecca Louise Law (I thoroughly recommend seeing this while it's still on - a stunning collection of dried flora hung on copper wires throughout an exhibition space, which took the artist years to curate) .
If you want to find a jumper similar to this one, & Other Stories have an almost identical one in store at the moment - find it online here
As the leaves continue to fall, and as the weather continues to be indecisive, there's always one wardrobe staple I can turn to, whether I need a coat or not - a piece of knitwear.
Knitwear is the everywoman's staple of A/W, whether it's a little warmer outside and you just need something to protect you from the wind, or it's seriously chilly and you need all the layers you can get. Knitwear is often the statement piece of an outfit too, whether that be by colour, cut, design or pattern, whatever the occasion, knitwear tends to be our wardrobe go-to.
Seeing as we're ever-so-slightly approaching Winter, I thought now would be a good time to discuss the ever-arching topic of knitwear, where to find the best pieces, what materials to invest in, and my favourite styles that I'll be bringing out for this years A/W season.
1. What's available now
There has been a huge abundance of great knits available at the moment, especially on the high street. A brand that I feel have definitely ticked all the boxes this year in terms of quality, style, comfort and price-point are &OtherStories - they offer so many different styles that are wearble all throughout the season, and the quality for the price-point is pretty outstanding - these are items you will definitely be keeping in your wardrobe for years to come. The key when buying knitwear is making sure that the quality of the fabric is high and that the overall manufaction of the product is high - &OtherStories never compromise on either, even when an item incudes polyamide and/or acrylic. Their knitwear almost always has 50% or more of natural, high quality fabrics such as wool and cotton. Here are a few of my favourite styles by &OtherStories at the moment:
1. Puffy Shoulder Cardigan, £59, 50% Wool/50% Polyamide
2. Wool Sweater, £59, 73% Wool/27% Polyamide
3. Mohair & Wool Sweater, £49, 34% Wool/34% Mohair/27% Polyamide/5% Elastane
4. Stripe Knit Sweater, £59, 50% Wool/50% Polyamide
5. Turtleneck Sweater, £79, 73% Merino Wool/27% Polyamide
6. Knit Sweater, £35, 42% Cotton/26% Acrylic/25% Polyamide/4% Wool/3% Elastane
7. Alpaca Blend Jumper, £49, 39% Wool/25% Acrylic/22% Alpaca/13% Polyamide/1% Elastane
8. Flounce Cuff Sweater, £49, 60% Cotton/30% Polyamide/10% Wool
9. Mohair Jumper, £69, 50% Mohair/31% Polyamide/19% Wool
10. Crop Sweater, £45, 42% Cotton/26% Acrylic/25% Polyamide/4% Wool/3% Elastane
11. Paris Sweater, £59, 73% Wool/27% Polyamide
12. Raglan Sleeve Sweater, £59, 65% Cotton/35% Merino Wool
13. Stripe Jacquard Sweater, £69, 50% Wool/40% Polyamide/10% Alpaca
14. Colour Blocking Cotton Sweater, £49, 100% Cotton
15. Jacquard Sweater, £49, 100% Cotton
16. Ribbed Sweater (on sale for £28), 100% Cotton
Wearing the &OtherStories Ribbed Sweater in Khaki last Autumn
Other high street brands such as Topshop, my absolute go-to for fashion, have also been high in quality and variety of knitwear this year. Higher end High-street brands such as Whistles and Jigsaw have also been dominating knitwear this season. Below are a few of my favourite picks from other brands this year:
1. Topshop Cropped Cable Knit Jumper, £34, 100% Acrylic
2. Topshop Metal Yarn Split Sleeve Top, £42, 65% Viscose/26% Metallised Fibre/9% Polyamide
3. Topshop Asymmetric Hem Stripe Jumper, £34, 50% Viscose/26% Polyester/24% Nylon
4. Whistles Colour Block Funnel Neck Knit, £115, 100% Wool
5. Whistles Star Intarsia Knit, £139, 80% Wool
6. Jigsaw Colour Block Cashmere Jumper, £180, 100% Cashmere
7. Mango Ribbed Edges Sweater, 46% Polyester/39% Recycled Cotton/15% Viscose
8. Boden Jasmine Jumper, £70, 100% Wool
9. Zara Oversized Sweater, £29.99, 64% Acrylic/23% Nylon/9% Wool/4% Elastane
10. Uniqlo Mock Neck Sweater, £34.90, 100% Wool
2. Who does what the best?
When it comes to knitwear, every brand has it's own way of going about things. Often the most modern and trend-keeping styles come out of places like Topshop, Zara and Mango, but the quality of fabrics is usually lower than places like Whistles & Jigsaw who offer more timeless pieces, but at eye-watering prices for the High Street. It's good to keep up to date with who-offers-what, and what price points and fabric qualities are available and where. I've already discussed my adoration towards &OtherStories and their knitwear range - the price points are relatively reasonable for good quality and up-to-date styles. But they're not the only High Street brand offering good prices and good fabrics. You may be surprised, but one of my absolute go-to stores for high-quality yet low-price knitwear is Uniqlo. Uniqlo knitwear is often 100% wool, cashmere or cotton, unlike many other brands (including &OS) who mix with synthetic fabrics. The problem I have with synthetic fabrics isn't the way they feel on the skin, but often what they physically do to the skin. Synthetics often make you sweat far more than normal fabrics, produce odours, and if you have sensitive skin like me, can cause skin-redness and irritation. Uniqlo rarely use unnatural fabrics, however, they're less in keeping with trends and more in keeping with staple items. I bought my 100% cashmere roll-neck in Uniqlo three years ago, and the exact same style is still on offer in store, and for the same price. Staple styles such as the cable-knit sweater, or the cashmere roll neck I've just mentioned, are easily some of Uniqlo's best price points, for example, the Mock-Neck-Sweater above: £34.90 for 100% wool. It's laughably affordable, and my pieces from Uniqlo have been in my wardrobe for years. They are easy to style, comfortable, high quality, and most importantly, timeless.
1. Women Cashmere Turtle Neck Sweater, £69.90, 100% Cashmere
2. Women Uniqlo U Soft Lambswool Crew Neck Sweater, £34.90, 100% Wool
3. Women Extra Fine Merino Crew Neck Sweater, Currently £19.90, 100% Wool
4. Women Extra Fine Merino Ribbed Turtle Neck Sweater, £24.90, 100% Wool
5. Women Cotton Cashmere Cable Crew Neck Sweater, on Sale for £14.90, 95% Cotton/5% Cashmere
6. Men Lambswool Crew Neck Sweater, £19.90, 100% Wool
3. My Knitwear Staples & Favourite Pieces
Over the years, I have accumulated many items of knitwear, and most of them are pieces that I believe will last me for years due to quality and versatility. There are some pieces that I love as they're more trend-led than others, but I try as much as possible to never skimp on quality. Here are my top items and why (in no particular order).
1. This breton stripe sweatshirt from Whistles. Super easy to style, adds a touch of Parisienne to any outfit, and is surprisingly warm for a sweatshirt. Great for layering with, too. It's by far one of my most worn wardrobe staples.
2. This H logo Crew Neck Knit from Tommy Hilfiger. Another great layering staple due to how thin it is, super soft and cosy, and adds a nice touch of prepiness to every-day outfits. I love pairing it with super grungey items like my double sole creepers or a leather jacket.
3. My all time favourite camel tie jumper from Whistles. Wool and cashmere mix, flattering, a little edgy, and a great colour if you want to stop yourself from reaching for an all black outfit. This jumper saved me from many a wardrobe meltdown last winter, and I'm sure it'll do the same for me this year! It's also still available in some stores, and the navy one is still available online (link here)
4. This Parisienne chic number from Boden. I'm a huge fan of anything with stripes, anything with blue and red, and anything that looks even slightly French - so this jumper's an all round winner. The semi-cropped length, the slightly higher neck, and the touch of Angora and cashmere makes this jumper flattering and comfy.
5. My royal all round jumper from the ASOS x Wah collection. From the royal blue tone, to the Royal slogan (and loyal on the back), I thought this item of knitwear would've been more of a trend led piece for me, but on the contraire, it's a year since I purchased it, and I still wear it whenever I can. I love the shade of blue (another great way to get away from the all black outfit), and the turtleneck is such a staple for me, that this item has truly passed the test and has become a staple piece of knitwear for me.
6. The classic cashmere turtle-neck (Denner & Uniqlo). The easiest to wear, warmest and comfiest style you can go for. Unlike my camel jumper from Whistles, my roll-necks from Denner & Uniqlo are much less of a funnel neck shape, and more of a roll-neck. They go with absolutely everything (I own them in navy and black, so literally, anything) and they are by far one of the best staple pieces you can invest in. Though it's a little difficult to see, I'm wearing the navy Denner knit in the above photo - what's great about it is that it's easy to layer over too, especially as it has more of a fitted shape than my black one from Uniqlo.
Personally, I'm super excited to start bringing out my knitwear again. How about you? x