Why Fashion Just Isn’t My Forte

I’ve never been a dedicated follower of fashion. Sure, I know what colours and styles go together (just about), but I’m buggered if I have the time, energy or money to make sure my labels are in vogue and I’m adhering to the latest trends. In fact, embarrassing as it is to admit this, I’m still wearing some of the same work clothes now that I wore to work a decade ago. But if they still fit and are in good nick, why not? They’ll probably come back into fashion again soon anyway, just like my mum’s suede boots from the sixties that she wishes she’d held onto. Then who’ll be laughing?

But the thing is, as fashion-averse as I seem to be, I’m not entirely comfortable being this way. Why? Because I care too much what other people think, that’s why. Take wearing trainers to work as an example. In London it’s virtually de rigueur to throw a pair of Nikes on with your work suit as you pound the streets to the office. In Brussels, I have learned, it is far less acceptable. In fact, it seems, hardly anyone wears trainers to work here, let alone neon pink Adidas ones like me (I refer you to my previous points re: being unfashionable). Because of this, on the days when I do dare to leave the house in them, I can feel the heat of peoples’ collective disapproval burning a hole in my feet as I walk. I tell myself I don’t care what they think, and fundamentally I don’t, but what I do care about is feeling a bit of a tool, standing out and drawing attention to myself. That I don’t like one bit.

But here’s my dilemma: The morning walk to my office takes twenty minutes, and much of the route is lined with cobblestones, so even if I could be bothered to wear high heels (which I most definitely can’t) they would be a totally impractical choice. Now the weather is becoming warmer the knee high leather boots (flat, naturally) are also inappropriate. This leaves either my lone pair of flat pumps (a throwback to last summer’s meagre fashion injection – or was it the summer before..?) or my running trainers – the former being prettier, but the latter offering more support and cushioning for my feet. And much as I hate to admit it, now I’m in my thirties I’ll take comfort over fashion any day (within reason, I’m not quite ready to purchase my first pair of Clarks granny shoes yet).

Yesterday, on my walk home (wearing the fashionable pumps, I might add), I found the answer to my dilemma: two pairs of simple, unbranded (not particularly fashionable but who cares?), canvas lace-up shoes – one pair in wonderfully neutral blend-in beige, the other a slightly more upbeat pink – that might just see me through this summer of urban living without having to hang my head in shame and avoid the reproachful glares of my fellow city dwellers.

Fashion – 0

Comfort – 1

Fin.

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Accessorise

I’ve never been the type of girl to obsess over accessories. In all my thirty one years on this planet shoes and bags just haven’t ever been high on my agenda. But recently that’s started to change. Last week when browsing online to find something to spend a voucher on I skipped over the clothes and went straight to the handbags, and by the time I reached the online checkout all I had in my basket was a handbag and matching purse. Yes, matching. What is going on?

This morning I popped to the bank to pay a cheque in and succumbed to a quick look in Bullfrog, my favourite shop, and before I knew it I was waltzing out of the door with not one but two pairs of shoes stuffed in my bag (that sounds like I stole them, so I’d just like to clarify that was most certainly not the case). Once again the clothes didn’t get so much as a look in – instead I tried on FIVE different pairs of shoes, settling at last on two (and doing everything in my power to avoid buying one pair in two colours, as the ‘helpful’ shop assistant suggested – not sure my bank account would have found the suggestion quite so helpful).

Anyway, the long and short of it is I’ve crossed over to the dark side. How long this lasts I don’t know, but I do know things may never be quite the same again..