(and vice versa!)
Coming from someone who was a fashion editor for 12 years, this is going to sound weird, but I’ve never really got my styling inspiration from magazines. I’ve always gained far more ideas from other areas, from my teenage music heroes (regular readers of this blog will know that my first fashion love was Britpop) to people I’ve never met in the street. And my very first fashion icon was, of course, my Mum.
Mum came of age in a decade I’ve always been drawn to – the ’60s. When I first started vintage shopping I would regularly come home with items that Mum would say she’d owned herself at one time or another, and occasionally she would come up trumps with something that she’d stored carefully in the attic which I was allowed to have. Mum always looked amazing, both in photos from before I was born and afterwards, and I began borrowing from her current wardrobe from about the age of 16.
As I got older, especially when I started working in fashion and was given lots of free stuff, the tables turned, and Mum felt the benefit as she started borrowing from my wardrobe, too. Some of the gifts also came her way (I’m no longer accepting gifts from brands, which is a shame for Mum!), and this encouraged Mum to be a bit braver with her choices, as she could try items, silhouettes and ideas she wouldn’t have normally gone for.
photography by Holly Jolliffe
Take, for example, this long chambray shirt from Current Elliott. I’d had it a few years and had toyed with the idea of wearing it over leggings, but I just hadn’t worn it so I offered it to Mum. She also wasn’t sure, as it’s not like anything else she owns, but she had the bright idea of wearing it over a pair of white jeans (she’s had this pair from Zara for about 10 years) and pairing it with her favourite Seven Feet Apart trainers (which I got her for her birthday). She wore it for an evening out and Dad said she looked so nice he wanted to take a picture of her. I then posted the picture on Instagram and Mum basically broke the Internet! Because doesn’t she look brilliant in it?
Mum’s great outfit then reminded me that I’ve always loved wearing trousers under dresses and long shirts, and that this could be a great way of reworking items in my own wardrobe now that I’m not buying anything new for a year. So out came my other Current Elliott chambray dress, and under it went an old pair of gingham trousers from Urban Outfitters which frankly, haven’t looked great on their own since my husband accidentally put them through a cycle in the tumble drier. Under a dress with high side splits, though? Ideal.
photography Holly Jolliffe
What’s the point of me telling you all of this?
I suppose it’s to say that you don’t need to go shopping to get a fashion fix, and you don’t need to see a shoot in a magazine or an outfit on a celebrity to get new styling ideas. Sometimes the inspiration you need is right under your nose – a mother, daughter, aunt or friend – and they could easily be a different generation to you. Unlike trends, style isn’t transient; it’s classic and timeless, and doesn’t go out of date. Hold on to the clothes you love, and if you’re lucky enough to have someone in your life who wears the same size and has the same taste, borrow and share not only ideas, but your wardrobes, too.
I’d love to know the people in your lives who inspire your style, or women on Instagram that you get ideas from (at this point I’d also like to mention @notbuyingnew who is a long layering genius), as well as your favourite wardrobe sharing buddies. Leave comments below!