I still remember the very moment I fell in love with fashion, or became aware of style at the very least. I was in primary school and there was a Bring & Buy sale in the assembly hall one afternoon. My mum arrived to pick us up, and I ran up to her saying I’d spotted something that I absolutely needed (I was a very dramatic child. I probably told her I’d not ask for anything else for the rest of the year if I could have this item that probably cost 50p). It was a turquoise and black leopard print velvet crop top, most likely donated by an older sister of one of my classmates – a complete 90s gem that I so wish I still owned. The boldness of the print and the confidence I felt whilst wearing it was electrifying to me, and it kick started my ever-evolving love of clothing.
White Boots: Nasty Gal (similar)
This love has taken many forms over the years – from the black velvet, sparkly catsuit I insisted on wearing to my Year 6 Leaver’s Disco to the tartan trousers and customised Sex Pistols t-shirts I lived in as a teenager – and as someone approaching their late 20s I still love bold fashion choices as much as ever. There have definitely been moments over the years when my confidence has dipped and my focus on fashion has either slipped or become confused, but the last few years have given me back that child-like excitement about bold style choices. And I’m LOVING it.
It’s no secret that I love a good dose of monochrome when it comes to my outfits, but lately I’ve found myself naturally gravitating towards bolder prints and colours. This Topshop dress caught my eye a good few weeks ago, and I tried it on so many times before deciding to buy it. I’m so glad I finally made the purchase! I love the colour clash and the asymmetric hem, as well as the disorder of the houndstooth print. I just got a real buzz when I put it on…it’s interesting, we spend so long wondering how to have the confidence to wear a bold print, but it’s the clothing itself that can give us that confidence. Sometimes, I feel it’s a case of just biting the bullet and trying something new that you love. What’s the worst that can happen?
As a teenager I was constantly called out for my fashion choices. No one else in my school wore what I wore (not at first, anyway. A few of them caught on after a while!) and some of my outfits didn’t go down too well in the town I lived in. When you’re the only one wearing a pinstripe blazer covered in safety pins with a tartan skirt and New Rock boots (whilst everyone else is in Bench hoodies and low rise blue jeans carrying a Jane Norman bag) you tend to stand out. But it gave me a thick skin, and because I wore what I loved with confidence – even if it was a front at first – people came to respect my choices and a few even took some inspiration from me.
I know it’s very easy for me to sit here and say “You want to be confident? Then just fake it til you make it!” so I have some more tangible tips for you too. There are a few things I keep in mind when styling up a statement piece of clothing featuring a bold print:
- If you’re unsure, keep your accessories fairly neutral. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, of course – sometimes the best looks feature lots of clashing textures and prints from every element of the outfit – but if you’re wanting to keep the focus on your statement item, neutrals are your friend. To accompany this dress, I chose a nude-pink bag and white boots.
- Start small and build up. If you’re not feeling too sure about an entire outfit dedicated to a bold print, why not try a quirky bag or scarf first? Then you could try adding in something like a statement top or jacket as you feel more confident and comfortable.
- Whatever you do, make sure you pick something because it speaks to you. Don’t buy items for the sake of it just to try a new trend – choose clothes that electrify you, like that awesome little leopard print crop top did for eight-year-old me. Try on loads of different things but only buy what sets off those little sparks for you.
Whether it’s an animal print, dogstooth, polka dot, chevron or stripe…which bold print are you obsessed with right now?
A huge thank you to my creative partner-in-crime Luke Margetts for these photos! We shot them on a rainy afternoon in Manchester after having a super exciting chat about some new content plans…watch this space.