Today I'm styling up this gorgeous, sheer chiffon 'Deva' blouse in a lovely soft khaki hue. I had quite a strong love affair with pussybow blouses back in the beginning of my Uni days - as much as I adored fashion at the time, at that age, I really was just all over the place with some of my style decisions (isn't it funny how realisations such as these are only ever discovered with hindsight - it's a cliché, but it really is a wonderful thing), so with that being said, I somewhat killed the pussybow blouse a little with my fashion faux pas' and have never really looked at this style of blouse in the same way since. That was, until they became a strong contender in the Seventies trend that has just blown up across the fashion industry over the last few months, and I found myself wanting to be brave and make a tentative purchase.
So when online fashion brand Lily Lulu got in touch and asked if I wanted to choose an item to style up for a collaboration, I thought, this is the perfect chance to find the perfect pussybow blouse. Personally, I find this style of blouse to be quite formal - something that you would tend to wear more to the office, so I wanted to style it up in a much more casual, down to earth way to show this style doesn't always have to be so 'prim & proper'. Because the pussybow blouse is a much more elegant and feminine style than your average button down blouse, I thought it would be great to juxtapose the ladylike-ness by toughening the look up with some leather. This black leather look A-line skirt from Next, is one of my favourite, new in for AW pieces, as it is just so versatile and the shape is so flattering. For years I have struggled to really identify the perfect shape of skirt/ dress to suit my figure for casual wear - although I am petite and fairly slim, my derriere is somewhat less in proportion to the rest of me, so even though my penchant for bodycon numbers outweighed the knowledge that they weren't the most flattering for my shape, I continued to wear them for a good amount of years. Don't get me wrong, if I'm dressing up for a night out, I'll probably still opt for a bodycon style because it differentiates from my usual day wear, but again, with hindsight, I can see that is not the right style for me to be sporting on a day to day basis. I also love shift dresses; but because I have curves - they just don't really 'hang' as they should, creating all sorts of lumps and bumps to my silhouette, and really not achieving the desired Sixties 'Twiggy' outcome (one exception to the rule is the one I wore to Fashion Week - this was a slightly more fitted style so I could get away with it!)
It was only really at the beginning of the year that a light bulb moment struck and I discovered the A-line shape was perfect for me. They tend to mostly be high-waisted which I always find rather flattering, (especially since having to get used to my new 'Mum tum') they nip in at the waist defining my shape and flare out across the hips and posterior so no attention is attracted to those areas - I honestly don't know how I hadn't figured that one out sooner, seeing as I like to pride myself on my styling abilities! Perhaps it's one of those things in life, you know, when you can give the greatest advice to a friend but can never take your own wise words on board? Maybe it's the same with discovering what works for you on a personal level - it's much easier to see clothing on someone else and offer constructive criticism, but sometimes for ourselves, we only see what we want to see in the mirror. Oooh this could open a whole can of worms about the issue of body confidence - but I think I'll save that for another post; it is only Monday after all so I'm not sure such a heavy topic would be good for anyone right now! More on that another day... maybe? If you like? *stop rambling Madeleine!!!!*
I realise I swayed off topic there a little, but I'm back now, promise. So the skirt and blouse teamed together could still come across as a little 'worky', no? That's where my big, bad biker jacket comes into play. (Ok so it's not big or bad, but I like an alliteration, ok!?) By adding this element in, it completely changes the tone of the outfit and creates much more of a relaxed feel - even more so if teamed with a pair of chunky boots or DM's if that's more your thing - but for me I have to stick to a heel (or wedge in this instance).
Red lips can glam up any outfit, and not usually a colour worn to the office, so again, this little detail can instantly transform what could be seen as work-wear, into something much more fun and playful. I thought about wearing my go-to black heeled Chelsea boots with this ensemble, but something made me reach for these rather 'far out' (can I say that??) pony-skin (faux? I think...I'd like to hope..) pointed booties with a lovely metallic copper wedge. I remember being so ecstatic when I bought these - I was working in Topshop at the time and had had my eye on them a while; they were eventually reduced, with only one pair left which happened to be in my size. Now if that wasn't fate, then I don't know what is. These booties are probably among a mere handful of items that I actually still like and are to my taste from my frivolous days of spending away my Topshop wage, straight back into the Arcadia money wheel. Don't get me wrong it was fun at the time, and I probably wouldn't have come on this personal style journey (ugh! cringe!) to finally be settled and at ease with my likes, dislikes, identifying what does and what doesn't suit me, without going through that phase of just buying into trends for the sake of it, because I could, because I didn't really have that many financial responsibilities, because I was young (sob!) and actually, because I was experimenting and having fun with fashion.
I wonder if any of you went through the same and have now settled into your personal style once your mid Twenties + hit? I'd love to hear some stories if so, and know I haven't been the only one to pull a few fashion faux pas' in my time! It's funny - back at Uni, I thought I had the fashion thing down, and I look back now and just cover my eyes with despair and think no no nooo! But then I guess if you throw it back to 10 years ago, back in school (I don't know why I'm on this self destructive mission to make myself feel so old today!) I definitely thought I looked the biz - who didn't? When fast forward to now, I honestly can't believe some of the 'fashion' (if you can call it that)choices I made. So bearing all that in mind, I wonder if in another 10/20 years down the line, I'll look back at my outfits on this blog and hang my head in shame once again...who knows!
Oh! And before I forget, Lily Lulu are offering you lovely bunch 15% off absolutely anything (excluding sale items) with my code 'MODE15', which you just need to enter at the checkout. The best part? It's valid indefinitely, so no need to rush to claim it before an expiry date - it's yours to use at your leisure, enjoy! And let me know what pretties you purchase with it x
What I'm Wearing:
*Leather look A-line skirt - c/o Next
Leather jacket - very old Zara
Boots - old Topshop