STYLE, CONFIDENCE & LUCKY THINGS
It’s a Wednesday night in Clapham Old Town.
I’m swapping my Stan Smiths for leopard print heels in the toilets of The Jam Tree where I’m about to do a Style & Confidence workshop hosted by Sunita, the founder of Lucky Things – a platform that inspires and empowers women to feel confident about their career and wellbeing.
I’m here to talk fashun!
It’s not something I have EVER done before and I am shitting it!
I have to sit on a stool and there’s a mic!
As everyone arrives it’s hard to know who’s who? Do they want to be called by their Instagram names or their real names? What are their real name? Gah!
Calm down FT. It’s just nervous energy. I’m buzzing. We’ve got name badges at the ready and this helps and it begins to feel much more relaxed and intimate, really quickly.
In truth, it’s testament to Sunita that she attracts such a supportive and friendly crowd to her events.
90% of women who attended came on their jack jones – and this is NOT an unusual thing for a Lucky Things meet-up.
I flash back to a year ago and the first time I attended an event.
The thought of going somewhere to socialise, on my tod with a group of women I didn’t know, was bonkers! I talked myself out of it a lot as the date approached.
However, I was about to launch my blog and Instagram and I wanted to network in real life with hopefully, like minded people that might be able to help a sceptical, former print fashion & beauty editor, navigate the realms of the ‘digital dark side’.
I wanted honest conversations, smiley faces, not secret squirrels and cliquey girl-gangs.
I don’t need to tell you how it all panned out.
(Obvs it was a success, innit or this blog post would never have been published, ha!)
But, this is the SOLE reason why I was honoured and said yes to guest speak at this event – I knew it was going to be a positive, friendly and supportive crowd.
I’d planned to talk about my career in fashun – which I won’t wang on about here but you can read all about it on my About me page – but I thought to myself “I want these women to get something really useful out of this…”
Were they looking for AW18 trend ideas, did they want to know how I arrange my wardrobe, what celebs I think look great and those that need to sack their stylist?
These are all the kind of ideas I would’ve pitched to editors when I worked on magazines and cyclically they’d appear, season after season, albeit with a twist here and a new angle there.
Ultimately, I always knew I was reinventing the wheel but hey, there was always the promise that you could be engaging with a new reader…
For this event…
I knew I had to deliver something VERY different.
I kept thinking about what Sunita said as we chatted on the phone, brainstorming ideas.
Ideally, she wanted something more than colour advice, or trends to follow. She was after something positive to get the audience really involved in.
Something applicable to all and of real use that they could take away and think about after and actually implement into their everyday lives.
I must admit, I didn’t want to solely focus on trends, either.
As much as I love what the new seasons bring and the visual campaigns that are created around them, I was aware that not everyone in the room would be interested – that’s fashion – this workshop was about style and confidence.
They are very different things, IMHO.
OMG, I’ve changed!
Maybe it’s an age thing (I always say, I didn’t turn 40, I turned hippy!) but I think that rhetoric of encouraging women to buy into something just because it’s ‘on trend’ or celebrity X and Y wear it, is kinda outdated now…
What do you think? Is it just me?
I honestly believe that women deserve more than to be encouraged to pitch and peacock themselves against someone else. It simply creates an insatiable appetite. Good for the shops, but is it good for YOU?
As I continued to think, I also started to panic about what I was going to wear on the night.
And it was then that I realised, I would share what I had been doing for YEARS now, so much so, that it’s just a passing thought I process pretty quickly these days.
It’s second nature to me…
And it all began when I found myself pondering over my three outfit options.
(Bearing in mind I’m doing #nospendseptember too, there was the added challenge also to shop my own wardrobe).
In the end, I went with the last option.
Here’s the reasoning why, along with my simple 3-point style tip – My Style Triangle which has now become a thing on Instagram after Sunita and I actually coined the hashtag #mystyletriangle on the night itself! Ha!
I must admit, it sometimes sounds like a money-draining pyramid scheme or some new steaming ritual Gwyneth is doing to her vagina on Goop! (Maybe we have to rethink the wording – what do you think?) nevertheless, the style magic spell, is as follows…
Imagine a triangle – a triangle is better than a tiered approach as there is no emphasis on each of the three categories being in any hierachy.
They are all balanced and equal in importance with each point of the triangle representing the following three categories.
OUTFIT 1 : Safety Blanket
These are the pieces in your wardrobe that you feel comfortable in.
You go to these items instantly when you’re in a rush because you’ve hit snooze too many times. You know they work, they aren’t broken, you don’t need to fix it. Maybe you want to blend in or keep your head down if you have a stressful day at work ahead of you.
Safety Blanket styles may include things that make you feel less like a balloon when you’re on the blob or equally if you’re off out with a group of friends that have seen you at your best and worst, these are the pieces that are in YOUR comfort zone.
OUTFIT 2 : Dare to be Different
Now this is all about venturing outside of YOUR comfort zone.
Remember, this Style Triangle is YOURS. It’s why Sunita has stressed the ‘my’ at the beginning of the hashtag. So only pick items for this category that are a step outside what you’d usually wear. These outfits make you feel confident and stand-out and the clever thing is – they can also work to bolster your confidence when you need them too. Imagine it like a superhero style section in your wardrobe.
OUTFIT 3: Somewhere in the Middle
The last point of your style triangle is a happy medium. Not quite your comfort zone and neither flexing outside of it either. These are the pieces that are a step up from Safety and a gear down from Daring. Geddit? So for me, a suit, something tailored was a step up from my Safety Blanket – a loose fitting, black midi dress – but it wasn’t quite 6th gear compared to the stand-out spotty blazer ensemble.
And on the night, it did the trick. It was completely the right choice, it married with my nerves before hand, it gave me the confidence to step up and go into ‘work-mode’ when it came to holding the mic but it was also my middle ground and I could relax yet still feel professional afterwards.
It’s a lot to digest, innit. I know. But like I said, I’ve mastered this technique over many, many years.
It’s how I’ve styled readers in the past for a makeover shoot, it’s how I translate a visual brief from a brand when working on their advertising campaigns.
Understanding the zones you’re working with and then dissecting into three areas – safe, risk and compromise.
I won’t wang on any more on here BECAUSE… I am so pleased to announce that I will be back to wang on about Style & Confidence AGAIN, at the next Lucky Things event in Central London on the 6th October! WOOP!
Click here for more info and to buy tickets.
Please comment below, I’d love to hear what you think about My Style Triangle… (note: this really is NOT a euphemism!)