The only thing harder than being 14 is being 14 in 2016…this is a hard time to be a teenager. I remember feeling so awkward and heavy in my body, hating all the clothes I owned and most of all, hating the lack of control I had over being able to choose what I wanted to wear. Fashion moved so quickly, and trying to get your hands on a trendy item seemed like a never ending hamster wheel. But at least then it was all about Topshop and French Connection…now teenagers are bombarded with celebrity teenagers wearing designer items like they’re hair pins. University students, who used to race to the latest sales when their student loans came in, are now competing with youtube superstars with weekly ‘hauls’, ‘my designer shoe collection’ videos and truckloads of beauty supplies they’re paid to review.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy these videos very much – they’re a form of escapism, and they can be a good source of information. I mean, what’s the point of forking out $50 for a mascara that’s all packaging but a rubbish product? Having an ‘ordinary’ girl you can relate to who’s tried and tested something you’re interested in can be very valuable and companies know this. But there’s a crucial difference between a woman who knows who she is and what she likes and is doing her research, and a young girl who’s malleable and impressionable and is looking for a role model to copy.
I was once that girl. I think a lot of us were and she definitely still lives in us. If she didn’t, how then do you explain the mass consumerism that is so rife and so normalised now? Why do we think it’s normal to have a hundred shoes or three identical nude lipsticks if we’re not still trying to feed that girl hungry to feel beautiful and special and in any way like the beauty models she sees?
Living in London, I thought it was completely normal to go shopping every month, even if just for something small, something to ‘pick me up’. Fashion is such a big part of life in London, and I do love how affordable it is. Trends are available on every budget. And yet you never seem have to have anything to wear , you look just like everyone else and you end up with a lot of cheap crap that never lasts.
I’d always been frustrated by this and at some point I realised that I just wasn’t trendy or fashionable. I wanted to look STYLISH but I didn’t want to change my clothes so often, or need to wear what I saw in magazines.
Three of my favourite London outfits that did last and translated over in Singapore:
Early ‘finds’digging in random Singapore boutiques (I have no idea where they’re from, I wish I did!):
However, nothing changed until I moved to Singapore and was faced with a dearth of fashion! Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit, but it was frustrating. None of the brands I recognised were here, mediocre, polyester garments cost a fortune and clothes either fell into the very high or very low end. And don’t get me started with shoes for large feet…I discovered some small businesses and online boutiques trying to plug the gap but found the designs geared toward comfort and staying cool…heat-cool that is, not fashion-cool.
So after a couple years of massive shopping trips in London and dropping into H&M or Forever 21 when desperate, I knew that something had to change. I had a mishmash of stuff in my wardrobe but not a cohesive whole that reflected who I was. The need for this became even urgent after I had my son and feeling and looking good became extremely important.
Cheapie London buys that were crap quality but soothed the itch:
I reached a turning point and my CAPSULE WARDROBE was born….:)
Check out the second part of this article to find out the books, vloggers and tips I’ve found invaluable for creating a wardrobe of high quality, long lasting clothes I’m so happy with.