I, along with many of the 3.52 billion women on this earth enjoy shopping; I like buying new clothes, I like to look good. Some take this a step further and meticulously plan every days outfit to ensure that each piece is on trend and heaven forbid no clashing occurs (although now the clashing of patterns is kinda in?) Even so, there are rules. People say that what you wear can speak volumes about your personality, it’s an opportunity to express how you are feeling or maybe even let your creative side shine. For other people clothes are just something to cover the essential or ‘naughty’ parts of your body, and especially if you live in Scotland to stop anything from freezing and falling off!
I fit somewhere in the middle of all of these categories. There are times when I pay a lot of attention to how I dress and deliberate for longer than is necessary before choosing the lucky outfit I will adorn for the day. Then, there are many other occasions where I choose what is most comfortable or I think about how I am feeling that day for example if I am feeling fun and/or adventurous. I have a small collection of novelty sweatshirts & t-shirts which include prints of The Power Rangers (Pink ranger 4 lyf), Lumpy space princess from Adventure Time and two separate items in support of The Little Mermaid: one is a picture of Ariel and Eric having a bit of a cuddle and the other is a mermaid cat wearing an Ariel wig while sitting on a rock in the ocean, naturally. Needless to say, I like to have fun with my clothes. I am a firm believer in not wearing something just because it’s officially considered on trend or fashionable. There are plenty of trends which my 5ft 2 stature, thighs that touch each other more than a little and ample bottom, do not suit. Let’s take disco pants for example, those shiny skin-tight trousers that come up to your waist and are available in pretty much all the colours of the rainbow. During the time of this trend I saw many girls wearing them and looking fantastic. After one disastrous attempt in a changing room complete with dragging about four inches of material along the ground and looking like I was wearing half of a dodgy sparkly wet suit, I knew that I would never be one of those girls. I made my peace with it and continued browsing in the children’s section of New Look (other stores are available) where the trousers would only need minimal hemming.
Through out my 25 years of wearing clothes, I have learned a few things and much of my knowledge has been gained in the latter part of my life when what you wear turns into a game of social politics. I choose to dress for me, for my body shape and what I think I look good in. I think fashion is about much more than wearing what everyone else is wearing (a sinfully boring practice in my book). When I was a teenager I was often afraid of wearing things because they would be different from everyone else and now I could care less. Fashion is supposed to be experimental, diverse and above all fun! I think that more of us need to break out of the typical trends that temporarily define what is fashionable and wear whatever the heck you feel like wearing!
My post today has been inspired by the vibrant and playful fashion that I see everyday in China. This country takes most of its inspiration from the Korean and Japanese and I think it’s awesome all the same. The use of colour is often extensive and in particular shoes, can be very extravagant and more than a little ‘out there’. One thing that has brought myself, Ali and Duncan much comic relief is the use of English words on clothes. The translation is always just a little bit off and many of the wearers don’t seem to understand what the words even mean. I once saw a rather senior member of staff in a company showing potential customers around her premises while wearing a grey jumper complete with pink sparkly letters which spelled the word ‘BULLSHIT‘. I felt this was a lovely example of irony as she gave these people her best sales pitch. Another incident was when a student of mine, a 12-year-old girl wore a pair of rainbow tie dye sweat pants with a matching sweatshirt and across the front was the bold sentence: ‘Life is a fucking illusion.’ I thought either this kid is a real philosophy enthusiast or she and her parents don’t have a scooby what those words mean.Regardless of inappropriate language and frequent grammatical/spelling errors, I personally think that many of the clothes here are much more vibrant and unique than those I have seen in other countries, particularly in the UK. Now let me just clarify, I am not insinuating that us British girls all dress like fuddy duddies with no individuality. I just think we are sometimes influenced too much by our typically British way of looking at things: ‘Oh no, I can’t be the only one wearing that!’ or ‘Everyone is wearing those chokers from like the late 90’s! How weird?! I MUST HAVE ONE IMMEDIATELY!’
Yes there are the more ‘out there’ styles of clothing here but I can also see a lot of influence from the West, English words being printed on different garments is just one example of this. For this blog post I asked my friend who is also one of my students (Cherry), if she would let me (well Duncan) take photographs of her as I have always admired her sense of style. I decided to let Cherry choose what to wear so that the pictures would be as natural as possible (smoke bombs aside). The thing that made me laugh was that she appeared in monochrome colours and her style would not look completely out-of-place, if she was trotting down a street in Edinburgh. However there is still a little Asian twist to her outfit which can be seen through her choice of shoes which are a super popular trend in China at the moment. Cherry’s trousers also have a bit of a 90’s feel with their pin stripe pattern but I still think her outfit completely works together and I especially adore her British style cricket jumper.
While Cherry’s outfit on this particular day is a lot more demure than I regularly see, I think that in general, women here are bolder with their fashion choices and that is something I really admire.
Everyone is guilty of getting stuck in their ways and being more of a sheep than a leader at times and that is OK. All I’m saying is that don’t let a magazine/the internet/or anyone tell you what you can and can’t wear. Don’t be afraid to try something new and break the mold even if it turns out to be a funny story you share with your friends later and a ‘What the EFF was I thinking?’ moment. Much like the time I wore a white polo neck crop top, black shorts and some form of animal print leggings for an under age night out with my friends when I was 16. I would LOVE to show you pictures, unfortunately they were burned, along with those bloody disco pants.
Photo credit: Duncan Errington