I shot these photos a couple of weeks ago, weaving in and out of 70 degree winter weather that I had the gall to bitch about at the time. Now, not so much. Goodbye gratuitous titty-baring! Bye light jackets and not having to swathe yourself in multiple layers! Shit, there’s even green foliage left in the background over there. What I am carrying with me into the cold, however, is the reminder of the greenery and colour that will be unearthed in a few months. In my previous post, I briefly touched upon some of the associations and reactionary impulses that drive one’s choices in styling. As a child, I abhorred all things pink partially as a testament to my caricatured brooding (that favoured all things dark and lush) but also because pink was expected of me because I was a girl child and society likes to ascribe gender roles to the most banal of things. Inherent in that, though, was also this association of frivolity, irreverence, shallowness and other problematic subtext that goes hand in hand with dismissing the traditionally feminine and choices that subscribe to it. Like with most things we pretentiously sneer at in the absolutes of our youth, I grew the fuck out of it eventually. Saying “hell naww” to a thing for so long on some unexamined principle became self-limiting in its rigidity. So I dyed my hair hot pink and stuck out that colour spectrum for a couple of years. Not because I even particularly liked it, or that it suited me, but because I believed in the necessity of stretching out my comfort zones, of having the ability to make what is so out of place and incongruous – your own somehow. Because part of learning to style, much like learning to write, or paint, is to school yourself in niches/with tools you didn’t gravitate to naturally. Sometimes, learning to be adept at things that don’t come as easy only work to solidify what you already intuitively knew to be your voice. Other times, you find nuance and variety in said voice that you may not have otherwise discovered. There’s a lot of talk in fashion currently about capsule wardrobes as the more responsible, advanced way of consuming. While there is a lot of value to that ethos, let us not forget the expansiveness (and expensiveness? I still swear by thrifting for short-term pieces) of experimentation.
In lieu of this necessity to not let my personal style go by the way of complacency, last year I attempted to tackle one of the last frontiers I had avoided on knee-jerk reaction: fucking florals. Every spring, like clockwork, I sneered with that same childish contempt as retail shops flooded with roses, peonies, daisies and the like. I recalled a bleak summer years ago at a relative’s fufu house in Manchester where the walls were plastered in head to toe english roses, their muted brightness placed upon a dull, tea-stained background. It reeked of the remnants of some old white lady’s out of date/turn of the century colonial aesthetic. I could taste how stuffy those walls felt, how unlike the very sharp, almost neon, bengali family it housed. And there it was – that feeling of the restrained, the expected, the conservative. That association was what I wanted to unlearn. It started in the balmy heat because I wanted to be a “summer babe” instead of the one that hermits in front of the air conditioner, extra fan blowing at my huha. I went to the pool a lot, got the most sun I have in years (my skin is still thanking me for it even though winter ashiness is slowly creeping back in) and quite literally stopped to smell the roses, frolicking in parks like it was my job. Somewhere amidst this vitamin d high, I figured I could throw some of those roses on my garb. Shocker: I lived. No one took away my cold-black-heart card. I didn’t feel wholly congruous with my outfits but they didn’t feel inauthentic, either. But this outfit post right here? This ish feels all my own. The barren winter backdrop makes holding on to reminders of flora and fauna a welcome treat. The brights of the large chrysanthemums on my maxi (a couple of sizes left on clearance here) and on flowers on my crown (available here) seem balanced by the charcoal fabric and the evergreen pleather + faux fur jacket (forever 21, sold out). The proportions of the outfit visually posits my body as a stem/branch from where the print can sprout, the jacket a cue of the dense forest within which it disappears again. It seems I’ve finally found a way to work those pesky florals into my wardrobe in a manner that subverts my pre-existing notions and remains true to my personal aesthetic. Alrighty, enough from me for today. Are you guys feeling winter florals? Would you like me to a roundup of where to shop for them on my next post?