My favourite thing to do in the morning on my way to work (but also during my lunch break and on the way back from work) is to admire stylish London women in the streets, on buses and on the underground. It makes my morning commute much more fun and often distracts me from thinking about my work emails and to-do lists. Plus, seeing beautifully put together outfits gives me inspiration and ideas for my personal style. It feeds my creativity. I feel so lucky to live in one of the most stylish cities in the world and have the opportunity to see first-hand ordinary people with a great sense of style that many street fashion photographers capture in their books and on websites, inspiring fashion trends. This is my alternative to fashion magazines, because as much as I like them, I do not always have the time to buy and read them.
Here is my attempt at street fashion photography. I hope these chic Londoners will inspire you as much as they inspire me.
As it gets cooler in London after several weeks of unusually warm summer weather with temperatures dropping below twenty degrees mark in the morning and only reaching lower twenties during the day, my summer dresses will be getting a bit of a rest (not for too long I hope!). The good news for me is this is a perfect weather for my recent investment: a new Anglomania dress, bought when I “accidentally” popped into a Vivienne Westwood boutique during a trip to Manchester. Investing in yourself feels really good, especially when it is an unplanned “investment”, which makes it a treat rather than yet another item on a busy to-do list.
This stylish jersey dress was a great investment because it is versatile and has an “effortless chic” effect. And its asymmetric cut helps to add a more feminine shape to my straight-up-and-down figure. The dress makes an elegant office look option and requires minimal accessories, making getting ready for work an easy and enjoyable process in the morning. For me dressing elegantly and stylishly for work is really important because looking good helps to put me in a good mood and to engage with colleagues and clients with more confidence, it empowers me. The dress can be paired with a blazer for a more formal look if needed. It also works well as an evening outfit, if combined with jewellery and accessories, making it a very sensible investment for a woman in a corporate job.
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Ever since my holiday break among lavender-covered landscapes of Provence in South of France, I have been fascinated with purple and its rich shades. It turns out purple is quite popular in London at the moment too.
This weekend I am inspired by shades of purple: drinking antioxidant-rich juices, made from purple fruit, enjoying Italian coffee in a beautiful cafe next to a purple and violet bouquet, wearing my new purple trousers, seeing beautiful purples in shopwindows, streets and gardens.
“You gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it, you’re nobody. I’m not talking about lots of clothes.”
In my first post I decided to explain what my thoughts on style are, given this blog is about style. In my opinion style is often a misunderstood concept. These are the things I often hear when I talk to people about style:
“A sense of style is what one is born with.”
“Style is something certain people have and others do not have.”
“Style is not what serious people should worry about.”
“I do not have time for style.”
Many people seem to confuse style with fashion and following latest trends. But style has little to do with following fashion trends. As Coco Chanel said: “Fashion passes, style remains”.
To me personal style is above all my creative self-expression. It gives me freedom to be who I want to be. It helps me to be noticed and understood.
Style has always been important in my life. Ever since I was a little girl, I have chosen my clothes with care. My mum claims I refused to leave the house when I was four years old if my clothes did not work well together or colours did not match.
Over the years, my personal style evolved as I changed and developed. Thinking about my past “signature looks”, I can see that their “language” is quite different to how I express myself today . There were times when my style was saying: “I want to fit in”. At other times its message was: “I like to stand out and I am not afraid of my individuality”. And sometimes my style was clearly saying: “I want to be seen, noticed”. Even though I would definitely not repeat some of these looks, I am reluctant to call them mistakes because they reflected who I was and how I wanted to be known at the time.
Style talks before we say anything and it helps us to connect with others. Several important relationships in my life started with style. It was the reason conversations were initiated on many occasions, some leading to friendships. I remember the first time I saw my now good friend Susana at work. I was so impressed with her style that I immediately decided I wanted to be her friend, but not because I only care about appearances and fashion. No, it was because her style was saying that she was a very interesting individual, comfortable with herself, open-minded, well-travelled and creative. And these are the qualities I find attractive.
People often say what is on the inside matters more than what is on the outside. I completely agree. So why care about style then?
Personal style is simply a way of communicating what is on the inside. It is a form of self-expression, what we choose to reveal to the world about ourselves: our mood, our state of mind, the way we feel about ourselves. Appearance is a form of non-verbal communication as much as body language or tone of voice is. This is not a trivial subject, contrary to what some suggest, when about 90% of our communication is non-verbal, according to various estimates.
But just because appearance is a serious matter does not mean we will get it “right” by being serious. Firstly, I do not think there is such thing as the right personal style. Style is individual. Secondly, style is to be enjoyed. And this is how I am going to approach this subject on my blog. I hope my style adventures, experiments and inspiration will encourage you to pay more attention to your personal style and have more fun with it.