When I was around 14, ‘Clueless’ obsessed, I would buy 3 magazines (with money saved from after school jobs) the morning after the Oscars. I would sit in my parent’s shop, or in the playground at lunchtime and pour over the pages for hours – Gwyneth’s pink Ralph Lauren dress! Celine Dion’s backwards tuxedo! Some images were even cut out and made it onto my bedroom walls. It’s one of the reasons I got into the fashion industry and keeping up with this was what kept me ahead of trends at work.
It was such an era for fashion, whether you loved it or hated it. But fast forward to now and I rarely look. I suppose it has all become so accessible to us, I’ve kind of lost interest. Clothes and style are pushed into our consciousness constantly, I’m not buying as many clothes and practicality has taken over – I live in a crew-neck, jeans and pulled up socks (my exact outfit as I type). Recently, I have curated whom I follow on social media, too – more reality, more grittiness and more practical minimalist clothing accounts. It’s great, my self esteem is back up but dare I say, I miss some escapism? Some days, I scroll through my feed and everyone is wearing the same Zara coat, the same Redone jeans and it all just feels, well, homogenous (although arguably more sustainable).
Last year, Zendaya wore a green Vera Wang dress to the Emmys and my heart skipped a beat. It was the dress of dreams and it looked incredible on her and showed a fearlessness that is sometimes inhibited by negative comments on social media. Often, when I post an outfit picture on social, I get a lot of ‘you can’t wear that with kids’ comments – which is (partly) true. I haven’t adapted much of my wardrobe for my child, if she splats spaghetti on my lovely crisp white Cos shirt, I just have to deal with it. But I do still love fashion and don’t want to completely change my style to adapt (we’ve already got a toddler’s tent in our living room and I haven’t been out on a mid week evening with Chris for over a year – isn’t that enough?!). I love following people I can relate to, style-wise, but when I saw Zendaya wearing a fuschsia Tom Ford sculpted body armour crop top at the Critics Choice Awards last night, I yelped with glee. She looked fearless and wonderful and all the things I used to love about fashion. And different, proof that taking a risk can pay off. And no one has dared comment that ‘she can’t pop to Lidl wearing that’!
Who cares if you can’t wear that exact outfit?! You can still appreciate its workmanship and Zendaya’s style. And I am all for championing personal style over trends – the confidence to wear what you want and make it work for you. I am bowing down to Zendaya for making clothes great again (on top of being an amazing actress and role model, of course – I love a multitasker), like a 90s McQueen era where clothes were appreciated as a work of art, not a fast-fashion polluting industry, which usually makes the headlines.